Ch. 4: Summary

In the readings for Module 3, you read a great deal of information about the biological basis of substance use, substance misuse, and substance use disorder. You learned:

  • How pedigree, twin, adoption, and genomic studies contribute to our understanding of the genetic basis of substance use and substance use disorders;
  • That genetics plays an important role, but that genetics do not operate alone;
  • The mechanisms throughout which genetics have their influence on substance use disorders;
  • The ways that different areas of the brain might be involved in substance misuse and substance use disorder, particular elements of the limbic system;
  • How important age at which the brain is exposed to alcohol and other substances matters greatly and why this matters;
  • Basics about how neurotransmitters are involved in substance use and the progression to substance misuse or substance use disorder;
  • Basic principles of pharmacokinetics related to drug dosing and metabolism;
  • Basic principles of psychopharmacology that explain tolerance and withdrawal, as well we how drugs interact and how medications might help treat substance use disorder.

You are well-prepared to move into our next module which translates much of what we have learned is going on in the brain into what transpires psychologically.

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