Diagnosis and Treatment of Behavioral Addictions – ADCN 608

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 01/26/2022

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the history, theory, and current research perspectives in the etiology, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of behavioral addictions.  Specific attention will be paid to examining the similarities and differences between substance addictions and behavioral addictions.  Physiological, psychological, and sociocultural aspects will be explored.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) officially recognized the first behavioral addiction in 2013 with the inclusion of Gambling Disorder in the DSM-5.  The APA is considering the integration  of more behavioral addictive disorders in future revisions. Addiction counseling professionals must be competent when helping those who struggle with these challenging conditions.  They must be knowledgeable of areas including: theories and etiology of addictive behavior which address biopsychosociospiritual aspects; theoretical, legal, and ethical concerns; and  assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and relapse prevention.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Each discussion will require the student to post three times during the week. Your initial post will be to the discussion prompt for each forum. The initial thread must be 350–400 words and must contain at least 1 scholarly source cited in current APA format.

In addition to the initial post, you are required to reply two more times, intermittently, during the week. Your replies should be to your classmates. Your replies must be 250–300 words and use at least 1 scholarly source in current APA format.

Note: Acceptable scholarly sources include the Read materials or professional journal articles (no websites – with the exception of professional organizations, i.e. SAMHSA, NCBI, NAADAC, ACA, etc.).

Community Impact Project Assignment (4 parts)

The community impact project is meant to help the student explore his/her community and determine what behavioral addiction is most prevalent in the area. The area can include the student’s immediate locale, region, or state. The community impact project will be completed in the following four parts:

Part 1 – Topic Submission

Part 2 – Background Information

Part 3 – Prevention, Treatment, and Action Plan

Part 4 – Presentation

Each part of the assignment will be submitted separately, culminating in a final presentation of the project. Please see assignment instructions for more details.

Case Study Assignment

The case study assignment is designed to help you make application of course content to a counseling situation. You are to choose a case study from The Behavioral Addictions text, determine the key issues presented, provide diagnostic impressions based upon the DSM-5 or if it is not currently in the DSM, other scholarly materials, and develop treatment recommendations. You may choose a case study from any of the chapters in the text, please just choose a topic that is of interest to you. The Case Study assignment must be 3–4 pages of content (5 pages total).

Quizzes (4)

There will be four quizzes that cover the course material and textbook readings. These quizzes are 25 questions each, and consist of true/false, multiple choice, and multiple answer questions. Students will have one hour to complete each quiz during the week assigned.

Quiz: Dispositions Reflection

This quiz will allow students to reflect on the 9 dispositions required for the program.