PSYC 3403 T - Addiction

Neurobiological and social bases of drug and behavioural addictions. Contemporary theoretical approaches to addiction; approaches to current prevention and treatment.
Prerequisite(s): PSYC 1001, PSYC 1002 and one of PSYC 2301, PSYC 2307, PSYC 2400, or NEUR 2200.

How does our brain get addicted? What are we getting addicted to? This course is designed to introduce students to the scientific principles underlying drug taking. Discussion will detail how the brain interacts with the various drugs present in society today, and how they can lead to addiction. Focus will be placed on depressants, psychostimulants, and other drugs of abuse. Biological mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and current treatment strategies are examined. The course will compare the biological, pharmacological and psychological aspects of addiction.

CRN for section T: 21053

CRN for section TOD (optional Video On Demand service): 21054

In-class lecture time & location:
Time & location TBA

Instructor: Tarun Ahuja

Tarun Ahuja

About the instructor: Neuroscience is my area of expertise as I have a PhD in it, and have spent many years doing experimental and clinical research. My interests in the area of pharmacology and neuropharmacology lead me to continue my research at the National Research Council of Canada leading neurophysiology and pharmacology projects associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Later, I decided to apply my knowledge to review and assess the clinical efficacy and safety of medicines we use as a theme lead at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) in the areas of mental health, neurology and diabetes. It was here that I was introduced to the issues of drug misuse, diversion and dependence. The effects of addiction on sleep further validated much of this as I worked for 10 years with the Sleep Disorders Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center. Currently, I am a medical research scientist with Eli Lilly Canada and one very important aspect that we consider is safety, dependence and addiction potential of medicines. I am always excited and eager to share all of this current and innovative knowledge to my students, and enjoy working outside of the textbook.

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