Biological Aspects of Addiction and Recovery – SUBS 606

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

Substance abuse and addictive behaviors have effects on the brain and the rest of the human body. This course focuses on biological aspects of addiction including brain anatomy, neurotransmitters and other brain chemicals, predisposing biological factors, and physiological effects. These biological aspects are reviewed for each of the primary classifications of drugs of abuse and key addictive behaviors. Biological aspects of medical approaches to treatment and recovery are also considered.


SUBS 505


Skillful helping of those who struggle with substance abuse and addictive behavior (SAAB) requires counselors to understand the biological factors involved. Because the brain and other organ systems in the body are affected by SAAB, appropriate referral to other health care professionals for additional care beyond counseling is often needed. This course is intended for the student who is or soon will be counseling individuals, couples, and families struggling with substance abuse or other addictive behaviors.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Justify the importance of neurobiological factors in the etiology, maintenance, and recovery from substance use and other addictive disorders.
  2. Analyze the effects of the main classifications of substances of abuse on the brain, the body, the person, and marriages and families.
  3. Compare and contrast various models of addiction that include biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual components.
  4. Critically evaluate various models of treatment for substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors, in part according to how the models account for biological factors in addiction.
  5. Analyze the development/current trends of addictions counseling as a profession and as a ministry in the body of Christ, with particular emphasis on biological factors.
  6. Formulate Christian worldview implications of biological aspects of addiction and recovery.
  7. Integrate relapse prevention principles and methods into a comprehensive approach to recovery that includes biological factors of addiction.
  8. Evaluate 12-step and other models of recovery according to evidence-based standards in the behavioral sciences and how well recovery models take biological factors into account.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, video presentations, and additional materials

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (5)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to participate in assigned Discussion Board Forums. Enthusiastic agreement and respectful disagreement with others in the class is expected. Disrespect (e.g., name-calling, “Bible thumping,” sermonizing, hostility, etc.) will not be acceptable communication in the Discussion Board Forums; severe final course grade reduction will be the consequence if it occurs. Learning to accurately communicate beliefs, attitudes, and emotions about important issues is a crucial part of personal and professional development, particularly when others do not see issues the same way. Threads must be 350–400 words, and replies (at least 2 per assigned module/week to a peer’s original thread) must be 250–300 words. For each thread, the student must support his or her assertions with at least 3 citations in current APA format. Each reply must incorporate at least 2 citations.

Case Studies (2)

Each case study is part of a 2-part comprehensive project. The expectation is that the student will be able to show a working understanding of the course material. The recommended resources will enhance the student’s ability to excel in this project. The student is asked to read and complete a thorough assessment of the Case Study Vignette using the Case Study Template. The student is expected to incorporate all the readings and videos into this Case Study. The student will use the learning materials to support his or her Case Study, referral, and treatment recommendations. Current APA format is required for all components of the paper (title page, citations, reference list). This Case Study needs to be strongly supported by the literature (a minimum of 5 sources for Case Study 1 and a minimum of 5 additional sources for Case Study 2) and, if done properly, will render 15–20 pages (not including title page and references). This project is designed for you to show a working understanding of the course materials; therefore, it is truly a comprehensive project.

Research Paper

The student will complete a 15–20-page (not including title page, abstract page, and references) Research Paper on a topic related to biological aspects of addiction. Higher grades will be awarded to papers that demonstrate personal mastery of course content and congruence with the assignment description. Conformity to current APA style is required for this paper. A minimum of 15 sources published within the past 5 years must be included. Although the student has some degree of choice of topic, the organization of the paper needs to follow the Research Paper Guide.

Exams (4)

The student will complete 4 exams in this course. Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the module/week in which it is due and the preceding module/week. Exam 3 will cover material from the module/week in which is is due and the 2 preceding modules/weeks.  Each exam will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice questions, and have a 1-hour time limit, and 3 allowed attempts . The highest score earned will be the grade received.

document.addEventListener( "DOMContentLoaded", function(){ }