Understanding Addiction: Psychological and Neuropsychological Approaches

Addiction: (Roman Law) a formal award by a magistrate of a thing or person to another person (as the award of a debtor to his creditor); a surrender to a master.

Evidence of addiction has been present throughout history. Explanations for addiction—spiritual, emotional, biological—have spanned the ages and remain controversial today. This course will explore the study of addiction from historical roots to contemporary theory. Competing theories of substance abuse/addiction will be examined, with a focus on the individual with regard to cultural and societal concerns. This course presents a framework for understanding models of substance use and addiction, including neuropsychological advances, with a critical review of the evidence and controversies regarding each. Students will be asked to think critically and constructively about the topic, eschewing dogma of any one approach to the treatment and understanding of substance abuse. Readings will include literature from psychology and medicine to the arts, ethics, and the press. Conference work may range from an academic exploration of substance use theory (moral, developmental, dynamic, motivational) to a broader conceptualization of cultural, ethical, and cross-discipline understandings.