Conference Detail Page

The Neurobiology of Alcoholism

Credit Hour : 7

Organized by :   Zur Institute, Inc.

Specialities :   Toxicology, Addiction Medicine

Conference Summary

The Neurobiology of Alcoholism is organized by Zur Institute, Inc..

CE credits hours: 7

Course Description:
Advances in neuroscience have sharpened our understanding of how alcohol affects the brain. This explosion of knowledge enables therapists to move their understanding and ways of talking about alcohol abuse with their clients away from the subjective values and fuzzy measurements that often fail to break through their denial. By bringing the latest scientific knowledge and clarity into their discussions, therapists can explain to clients and their families not just how alcohol affects behavior and relationships but also how it alters and damages the most basic architecture and functioning of the human brain on every level, from regions of the brain, to neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and down to the most basic cellular level, where the manufacture of neurotransmitters and the brain cells which transmit and receive them are affected. The new knowledge also helps therapists more accurately diagnose and differentiate between alcohol use and abuse, and it can better inform therapists’ treatment decisions and recommendations.

This advanced level course has four parts. Part One offers an overview of how alcohol affects the brain and behavior and is useful for therapists and as a handout for clients. Part Two presents precise details on the neurochemistry of how alcohol affects the brain on cellular and regional levels. Part Three presents an overview of the pharmacology for alcoholism treatment and examines the promise of a new medication, baclofen. Part Four presents a balancing viewpoint to the course material by offering a harm reduction critique of warnings of permanent brain damage. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:
This course will teach the participant to
• Discuss the differences between Wernicke-Korsikoff dementia and alcohol-related dementia.
• Describe the effect of alcohol on neurotransmitters.
• Discuss the relationship between alcohol, neurogenesis and neurodegeneration.
• Evaluate the effectiveness and limitations of various pharmacological interventions, including baclofen.
• Describe the incidence of alcoholism.
• Critique the conflicting research on whether the effects of alcohol create permanent or temporary brain damage.
• Describe how alcohol’s effect on inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters leads to addiction, craving and withdrawal.

Course Syllabus:
• Incidence of alcoholism
• Variables which affect alcohol’s effect on the brain
  ○ gender
  ○ age
  ○ amount of alcohol
  ○ length of time drinking
  ○ physical health
  ○ level of education
  ○ genetic background
  ○ nutrition
• Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  ○ severe Wernicke’s encephalopathy
  ○ Korsakoff’s psychosis
  ○ commonalities and differences between Wernicke-Korsakoff, dementia, and alcohol-related effects
• Alcohol’s effect on the brain’s neurochemistry
  ○ serotonin
  ○ dopamine
  ○ glutamate
  ○ production of neurotransmitters
  ○ cell adhesion
  ○ production of new brain cells and neurotransmitters
  ○ glial cells
  ○ oxidative stress
• Alcohol’s effect on brain regions
  ○ hippocampus
  ○ limbic system
  ○ thalamus regions
  ○ executive functioning
  ○ visual-spatial functioning
  ○ right and left hemisphere
• Tolerance, craving and withdrawal
  ○ neurobiological causes and consequences
  ○ inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters
• Psychopharmacology
  ○ FDA approved medications
  ○ baclofen
  ○ the neurochemistry of how they work
• Is alcohol-related brain damage permanent?
  ○ factors which influence the permanence or longevity
  ○ the harm reduction perspective
•Additional resources
  ○ support groups and information for clients
  ○ further readings for therapists

General Information  - Overview:
• You can complete courses in one or more sittings over three years. Since courses require updating, the course/s you purchase will expire after three years.
• You can read, watch or listen to the course material online, download and/or print it.
• You can take the posttest as many times as you need to pass.
• You will get your test results and a printable certificate instantaneously online.
• The day you submit the evaluation (after you pass the posttest) is your course completion date. IMPORTANT NOTE: All times/dates are Eastern Standard Time.

Credit Info

  • Credit Hour : 7
Target Audience

& Nurses

Peers Info
Number of Health Care Professionals Registered: 0 Number
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