Connect with Us

Live Chat

chat live with aihcpHave questions? Join us on live chat now! One of our advisors will be happy to assist you and respond to your questions.


Please visit our interactive web blog. Here you will find frequently added information on our programs, articles and news by practice specialty, and much more. Register and become a part of our professional health care community.

SA 540 – Addiction & The Brain


This CE course presents contemporary issues involving neuroanatomy and physiology as it relates to addictions.  The text for the course is a comprehensive examination of how the brain works and what happens to the brain in cases of addiction. The author, a neuroscientist presents cutting edge research from using brain imaging on what is actually going on physiologically in states of addictions.  While the primary context studied is related to drugs of abuse, student will also examine some other addictions related to brain function.  Neurotransmitters are studied and the effects on this system are examined related to drugs of abuse.  The physiology of becoming addicted is studied in-depth.  Many research study outcomes are presented and reviewed to enhance the student’s learning in the physiology of addiction.  Gender differences, from a physiologic view are examined as well.  Some other addictions which are examined include the addiction to food, drugs and sex.  Students will also study issues related to treatment modalities from both a behavioral and a neurochemical presentation. Issues for further research are also examined.  Course Code:  SA 540. Contact hours of education = 30

Pre-requisite: Pre-requisite to enrolling in the continuing education program: must have successfully completed the course: SA 500: Substance Abuse Theory and Practice I and SA 510: Foundations of Addictions Counseling

This course is particularly designed for those professionals meeting one of the pre-requisites above, would like to apply for the Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.

Instructor/Course Author:  Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, RN-BC, ANP-BC, FACHE

Link to Resume


TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the continuing education courses in the substance abuse practitioner program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an “incomplete” will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

TEXTBOOK: There is one (1) required textbook for this course.

The Addicted Brain: Why we Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine. By Michael Kuhar, Ph.D. New Jersey; Pearson Education Inc publishing as FT Press:2012. ISBN-10: 0132542501 ISBN-13: 978-0132542500

Link to Purchase on click here

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 30 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is an Approved Provider for Continuing Education by the South Carolina Professional Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists licensing board, Provider # 4637. Access information

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (The Provider) is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, Provider number # CEP 15595 for 30 Contact Hours.

This course, which is approved by the Florida State Board Of Nursing (CE Provider # 50-11975) also has the following Board of Nursing Approvals, for 30 contact hours of CE

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Arkansas Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Georgia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the South Carolina Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Professional Registered Nurses. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here


* Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as “open book” tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page “Student Resource Center.” The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

* Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

* Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor’s online resume/biography, as well as your instructor’s specific contact information.

* Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional “readings” and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. List and understand three different definitions of addictions based on DSM IV TR criteria
  2. Understand why people take drugs
  3. Discuss what animals tell us about human desires for drugs
  4. Understand why drug abuse is a relapsing disorder
  5. Discuss why and how the brain is its own reward system
  6. Understand what deep brain stimulation is and how it relates to drugs
  7. Review anatomy and physiology of the human brain
  8. Discuss the physiology of the neurotransmitter systems
  9. Identify and discuss the major neurotransmitters in the brain and their role in normal brain physiology
  10. Explain how drugs of abuse distort normal neurotransmission
  11. Understand and discuss how cocaine adversely affects neurotransmission function
  12. Discuss the neurophysiology of drug addiction and drug withdrawal
  13. Discuss what is meant by epigenetics and how it relates to drug abuse
  14. Explain how drug use changes the activity of the brain
  15. Recognize how dopamine is related to food intake and to sexual behavior
  16. Describe the neurophysiology of the neurotransmitter dopamine
  17. Assess research outcomes related to brain imaging and drug abuse
  18. Identify time-lines related to abnormal changes in brain functioning due to drugs of abuse
  19. Identify the three major factors that create vulnerability to the abuse of drugs
  20. Discuss the neurophysiology involved in the development of a smoking addiction
  21. Define and discuss several major psychological problems and how they relate to drug abuse
  22. Discuss how drugs of abuse impair judgment
  23. Review and discuss how the body responds to stressors
  24. Explain how stress may lead to the abuse of drugs
  25. Explain how social class is related to the abuse of drugs
  26. Understand how addictions to gambling, sex and food occur from a neurophysiologic standpoint
  27. Identify and discuss the major physiologic effects of alcohol on the brain
  28. Identify and discuss the major physiologic effects of nicotine on the brain
  29. Identify and discuss the major physiologic effects of cannabis on the brain
  30. Identify and discuss the major physiologic effects of methamphetamine on the brain
  31. Compare and contract research outcomes related to brain physiology of men and women
  32. Discuss the impact of drug abuse on the brains of adolescents
  33. Identify and discuss the twelve major principles related to the treatment of drug abuse
  34. Differentiate addiction as a possible metabolic disease
  35. Identify and discuss three major areas for future exploration and research related to drug abuse


  • Definitions of abuse and addiction by DSM IV TR
  • Why people take drugs
  • The experience of taking drugs
  • Brain structure and function
  • What animals tell us about the human desire for drugs
  • Relapse and cravings in drug abuse
  • The brain’s reward system
  • Deep brain stimulation and the drug connection
  • Anatomy and physiology of drug action in the brain
  • Drugs of abuse and related neurotransmitters
  • How neurotransmitters work
  • Drug abuse and neurotransmitter distortions
  • Physiology of drug addiction and withdrawal
  • Epigenetics  and drug abuse
  • Changes in the brain due to drug abuse
  • Relationship between dopamine and food
  • How dopamine affects sexual behavior
  • Brain imaging and drug abuse
  • Issues related to recover of brain physiology in drug abuse
  • Issues of vulnerability and the abuse of drugs
  • Psychological problems related to drug abuse
  • Drugs and issues of impairment of judgment
  • Stress, social status and drugs
  • The stress response system
  • Relationship of drug abuse to stress
  • Drug abuse and social rank
  • Addictions to gambling, food and sex
  • Physiologic effects of alcohol on brain functioning
  • Physiologic effects of methamphetamine on brain functioning
  • Physiologic effects of  other common substances of abuse on brain functioning
  • Issues of drug abuse in women and  in adolescents
  • Principles of treatment in substance abuse
  • Addictions and metabolic processes
  • Issues for further and future research and clinical outcome studies