Understanding Addiction: Psychological and Neuropsychological Approaches

Open—Fall

Addiction: 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. —Roman law

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 but also with regard to cultural and societal concerns. This course presents a framework for understanding models of substance use and addiction with a critical view of controversies and evidence for each, including neuropsychological advances in the study of addiction. 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 range from psychology and medicine to the arts, ethics, and the press. Conference work might build from an academic exploration of substance-use theory (moral, developmental, dynamic, motivational) to a broader conceptualization of cultural, ethical, and cross-discipline understandings.