Drugs, Brain and Behaviour
Module code: C8528
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Computer based exam, Coursework
Drugs, Brain and Behaviour offers you an overview to the psychological, pharmacological, neurobiological and neurophysiological bases of drug use, abuse and contemporary understanding of addiction (and some mental conditions), and has a strong natural science (neuroscience) orientation. The acute and long-term effects of selected drugs of abuse on behaviour, mood, cognition and neuronal function are discussed using empirical findings and theoretical developments from both human and non-human subject studies on the neurobiological and psychological basis of drug action and addiction.
The module will discuss the anatomical, neurochemical and cell-molecular mechanisms targeted by psychoactive drugs and their distribution, regulation and integration in the broader central nervous system. The focus is on potentially addictive drugs, and the major classes are discussed, including opiates (heroin and morphine), psychomotor stimulants (amphetamine and cocaine), sedative-hypnotics (alcohol, barbiturates and chloral hydrate), anxiolytics (benzodiazepines), marijuana, hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline) and hallucinogenic-stimulants (MDA, MDMA). Critically, with the knowledge of the basic neurobiological and behavioural pharmacology of these drugs 'in hand', contemporary theories and understanding of mental conditions, substance abuse and addiction are considered, focusing on key concepts related to (drug) experience-dependent neuroplasticity, drug-induced neurotoxicity, associative learning, neuronal ensembles and the synaptic basis of learning and plasticity, habit formation and impulse-control.
This module builds on knowledge gained in the core psychology modules C8003: Psychobiology and C8518: Brain and Behaviour. If you are not enrolled on the BSc Psychology course at Sussex you are expected to be familiar with the material covered in these modules.
Module learning outcomes
- Systematically understand key aspects of pharmacology, behavioural pharamcology and the neuroscience of drugs of absue
- Systematically understand how drugs alter biological function and behaviour in the context of addiction
- Extend and apply knowledge of underlying biological phenomena to the explanation of drug abuse and addictive behaviour