Adolescents at Risk for Substance Use Disorders

Role of Psychological Dysregulation, Endophenotypes, and Environmental Influences

About the Course:

Adolescents with alcohol-related problems often also use cigarettes and marijuana. Furthermore, early childhood characteristics that increase the risk for adolescent alcohol use disorders also increase the risk for problematic drug use. Identifying these characteristics early in childhood can be important for the prevention of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders. As a result, researchers are seeking to identify liability factors and observable characteristics (i.e., phenotypes) that can predict substance use disorders (SUDs) across drug categories.

Journal/Publisher:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Publication Date:

Volume 31, Number 2, 2008

Authors

Dawn L. Thatcher, Ph.D.; Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D.

About the Authors:

Dawn L. Thatcher, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about adolescents at risk for substance use disorders. It is appropriate for intermediate to advanced levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe how heritable risks and psychological dysregulation affect an adolescent’s chance of acquiring a substance use disorder (SUD).

  2. Identify brain structures related to psychological dysregulation as endophenotypes and discuss environmental influences on the risk of adolescent SUDs.

  3. Explain research involving aggregation of risk factors and what the research suggests regarding prevention and intervention.

Exam Questions

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