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PSY 1461 Psychology of Adjustment and Personal Growth

Course Description

Examines the relevance of psychological understanding in personal and interpersonal situations, including definitions and discussions of human adjustment factors, such as anxiety, stress, coping mechanisms, and psychological adaptation.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Developa comprehensive understanding of the way in which healthy adjustment to the environment is critical to psychological well being
  • Appreciatethe way in which a knowledge of and respect for cultural diversity helps clarify healthy psychological adjustment
  • Understandthe way in which the concept of “personality” is vital to the course matter
  • Definethe concept of  “stress” and understand how it effects physical and psychological health
  • Become familiar withstrategies for coping with stress and integrating this into a healthy view of self
  • Recognizethe impact of social influence on adjustment
  • Comprehendandconceptualizedifferent forms of psychological disorders and their effective treatment
  • Explorethe way in which gender roles, sexual behavior, and interpersonal relationships are critical to healthy adjustment
  • Focusspecifically on challenges associated with phases of early and middle adult life and their relationship to adjustment
  • Recognize the importance of dealing with challenges in the workplace

Week 1

Lecture: Introduction to Drugs and Society


  • Define the key terms
  • Define what a drug is
  • Distinguish between physical and psychological dependence
  • Be familiar with how drugs are affected by pharmacological, cultural, social, and contextual factors in society
  • Identify the major drugs that are commonly abused
  • Discuss the history of drug usage
  • Explain how widespread drug use is
  • List the four types of drug use
  • Describe the trends seen in drug usage
  • Recognize the differences in drug users
  • Explain how the media promotes drug use
  • Describe the attraction of drugs
  • Identify how drugs cost society (crime, violence, and workplace)
  • Explain the holistic self-awareness approach to drug use
Lecture: Explaining Drug Use and Abuse


  • Describe the historical use of drugs worldwide and the changes that have taken place
  • List and describe some of the reasons why people use drugs
  • Describe the biological explanations for drug use
  • Describe and explain the genetic factors associated with drug use, how abused drugs can be positive reinforcers and the possible relationship between drug abuse and psychiatric disorders
  • Briefly describe how the American Psychiatric Association has categorized psychiatric disorders
  • Describe the relationship between introverted or extraverted personality patterns and usage of some drugs
  • Define and explain how the reinforcement and learning theories influence drug behavior
  • List and describe the four social influence theories, the social learning theory, labeling, subculture theories and role of significant others
  • Describe the common socialization patterns found among drug abusers
  • Explain how primary and secondary deviance, master status, and retrospective interpretation are related to drug abuse
  • Explain how internal and external controls influence drug taking behavior
  • Describe low risk and high risk drug behaviors

Week 2

Lecture: Regulations and the Law


  • Outline the major issues societies have used to determine how they will regulate drug use and abuse
  • Describe the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and explain the significance of this act
  • Examine how early laws established a pattern for subsequent laws and policies
  • Describe the Kefauver-Harris Amendment and the factors that led up to these changes
  • Describe the steps taken by the FDA to consider drugs for marketing
  • Explain the program developed in 1972 by the FDA to ensure drugs are safe and effective
  • Identify and discuss the Fast Track Rule, the Orphan Drug Law, and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992
  • Discuss the controversy over illegal drug users being sick or criminals and how it has affected the laws and policies that have been developed
  • Examine the primary programs developed to combat substance abuse
  • Identify the three major strategies developed to combat drug use and abuse
  • Explain the pros and cons of legalizing drugs
Lecture: Addictive Behavior and Treatment


  • Define the key terms
  • Define what chemical addiction is
  • Identify and explain the major models of addiction (moral model, disease model, characterological or personality predisposition model)
  • Explain the social and environmental factors that will contribute or encourage drug usage
  • Describe the various drug treatment methods used today in the United States

Week 3

Lecture: Homeostatic Systems


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe the major methods of drug administration
  • Explain how dose, age, body weight, gender, time, disease process, and emotional state can affect drug actions
  • Describe the differences between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system and the major subdivisions
  • Describe the functions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
  • Discuss the major functions of the endocrine system
  • Explain the process in which a nerve impulse moves from one to another
  • Name and discuss what a neurotransmitter is
Lecture: How and Why Drugs Work


  • Define the key terms
  • Discern the differences between intended and unintended side effects
  • Explain potency and toxicity
  • Explain what margin of safety is and its importance
  • Identify and explain additive effects, antagonistic effects, and potentiative (synergistic) effects
  • Identify and explain the different methods of drug administration and be aware of the onset, duration, and effectiveness of each
  • Explain the pharmacokinetic factors affecting drugs
  • Identify and explain how physiological and pathological factors can alter reactions to drugs (pregnancy, age, and gender)
  • Explain drug tolerance including reverse tolerance and cross tolerance to drugs
  • Explain threshold dose, plateau effect, and cumulative effect
  • Define biotransformation
  • Define physical and psychological dependence

Week 4

Lecture: Central Nervous System Depressants


  • Define the key terms
  • Identify the group of drugs that are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants
  • Describe the history of CNS depressants (bromides, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines)
  • Describe the pharmacological effects of sedative-hypnotics
  • Discuss why sedative-hypnotics are frequently misused and abused
  • Describe the therapeutic effects of CNS depressants
  • Differentiate the effects of barbiturates and benzodiazepines
  • Describe the CNS depressant properties of non-barbiturates and antihistamines
  • Discuss the general approaches taken in treating dependence on CNS depressants
Lecture: Alcohol: Pharmacological Effects


  • Define the key terms
  • Discuss how alcohol is a drug
  • Explain the psychological and physical effects of alcohol on the body
  • Identify factors that influence the absorption of alcohol in the system
  • Describe how alcohol is metabolized in the body
  • Identify the short-term effects of alcohol on the motor activities, reflexes, coordination, and the major organs of the body
  • Identify the long-term effects of heavy alcohol consumption
  • Describe the effects of alcohol in pregnancy and FAS
  • Describe the nutritional status of alcoholics
Lecture: Alcohol: Behavioral Perspectives


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe the current consumption patterns of alcohol in various groups (college, ethnic, and age) in the United States
  • Identify and describe the social and economic costs of alcohol use and abuse
  • Describe the history of alcohol use within the United States
  • Define alcoholism and explain the features that make up alcohol addiction
  • Explain how drinking behavior can be influenced by cultural rules and attitudes
  • Compare drinking patterns of men and women and the reasons for these differences
  • Describe the patterns of binge drinking seen on college campuses today
  • Explain how alcohol use can affect social, personal, and academic performance
  • Explain how alcoholism affects the family
  • Contrast the forms of treatment available

Week 5

Lecture: Narcotics


  • Define the key terms
  • Discuss the different forms (natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic) of narcotics
  • Describe the pharmacological effects of narcotics and their therapeutic uses
  • Describe the common side effects from the use of narcotics
  • Describe the tolerance and dependence that develops with the use of narcotics
  • Describe the patterns of heroin use
  • Describe the hazards associated with heroin use
  • Discuss how Fentanyl-type drugs are being used as substitutes for heroin
  • Discuss the pros and cons of methadone and LAAM as a means of reducing dependence on heroin
Lecture: Stimulants


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe Amphetamines and how they work
  • Describe the approved uses of Amphetamines and the possible side effects
  • Describe the history of cocaine and its influence on current recreational use
  • Discuss the causes of Amphetamines misuse and abuse
  • Explain what “designer” Amphetamines are
  • Compare and contrast the various methods of cocaine administration (oral, injected, inhaled, and smoked) and the hazards associated with each
  • Identify and describe the treatment methods of cocaine dependence
  • Identify the caffeine-like drugs (xanthines) and the common effects
  • Discuss the difference between caffeinism and caffeine dependence

Week 6

Lecture: Tobacco


  • Define the key terms
  • Identify the current trends in tobacco use in the United States and the effects on society
  • Discuss the history of tobacco use
  • Describe the pharmacological effects of tobacco products
  • Identify the health consequences associated with tobacco use
  • Identify the risk factors associated with passive smoking
  • Discuss the health hazards associated with smoking compared to smokeless tobacco
  • Discuss the methods and aids used to quit smoking
  • List and describe the economic and social issues associated with tobacco use
Lecture: Hallucinogens


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe the historical use of hallucinogens and how they relate to modern use
  • Describe the common characteristics of hallucinogens (psychedelics)
  • Distinguish between the types of hallucinogenic agents, how they were used, and the potential effects experienced
  • Discuss the increased recreational use of LSD after years of decline
  • Identify the potential hazards of LSD
  • Explain and differentiate the psychedelic effects of mescaline and psilocybin and those of LSD
  • Describe the increased use and appeal of Ecstasy
  • Identify and discuss the numerous effects of PCP

Week 7

Lecture: Marijuana


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe what marijuana is and its properties
  • Explain the controversy surrounding marijuana
  • Describe the effects of marijuana at both low and high doses
  • Describe the physiological and behavioral effects of marijuana on the body (nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems)
  • Describe the tolerance and dependence associated with marijuana use
  • Identify the potential therapeutic uses of marijuana
  • Identify the perceived threat and use of marijuana by different age groups
Lecture: Inhalants


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe the range of inhalants and when considered a drug
  • Identify and describe the three categories (volatile substances, anesthetics, and volatile nitrates) of inhalants
  • Explain why adolescents have become involved in the abuse of inhalants
  • Describe the health hazards associated with using inhalants
  • Describe how inhalants work in the body
  • Describe the dangers associated with inhalant use
Lecture: Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs


  • Define the key terms
  • Describe the difference between a prescription and nonprescription drug
  • Describe the “switching policy” established by the FDA and the reasons for these policies
  • List and describe the information given on nonprescription (OTC) labels
  • Explain why this information is considered crucial
  • Describe herbal drugs and the concerns over their safety
  • Identify and describe the rules for safely using prescription and nonprescription medications
  • Describe the difference between generic and proprietary drugs
  • Describe areas of potential abuse and misuse of prescription drugs

Week 8

Lecture: Drug Use Within Major Subcultures


  • Describe the key terms
  • List and describe the drugs used by athletes
  • Describe how steroids work and explain the appeal
  • Identify the differences in drug use and abuse by men and women
  • Describe those factors hindering treatment of substance abuse for women
  • Describe the physiological responses women have to drugs
  • List and describe those factors associated with drug use by adolescents and the consequences of use
  • Describe those drugs most used by adolescents
  • Describe the major reasons for the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol by college students
  • Identify the drugs predominately used by college students and the consequences of their use
  • Describe how drugs present a risk factor for the spread of HIV/AIDS
Lecture: Drug Prevention


  • Define the key terms
  • List and describe the three major types of prevention programs
  • Describe the comprehensive prevention programs for drug use and abuse
  • Describe the drug prevention strategies used in higher education and the effectiveness of these programs
  • Identify and describe the goals of major prevention programs
  • Describe the alternative approaches used in drug elimination

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. March 2012