The word ‘drugs’ refers to medicines that can ease pain, arrest or cure disease or provide other benefits, however, some drugs can also have powerful side effects and lead to dependency. This is because drugs affect people in different ways and at different times. Understanding how certain types of drugs can affect human behaviour can assist those working in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, nursing, social work, caring roles and other health professions.
The Certificate of Psychopharmacology will give you insights into drug treatments and preventative education strategies, and the effects of drugs on individuals and society. You will also explore a range of drugs — including sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs and those that are legal, legally restricted, prescription and available over-the-counter.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a psychopharmacology online course include:
- Learning about the scope and nature of both legal and illegal drugs
- Exploring amphetamine, cocaine, crack, LSD, Ritalin and steroids
- Studying heroin, how it’s used and the names used for heroin
- Gaining insights into the medical consequences of chronic heroin abuse
- Exploring the treatments for heroin addiction including behavioural therapies
- Examining the effects of drugs on society and the individual
- Understanding why people use drugs and community acceptance around it
- Learning about drug terminology and the physiological and psychological effects of drugs
- Exploring addiction and how drugs work in the brain and central nervous system
- Studying the effects of alcohol, sedatives, stimulants and hallucinogenics
- Gaining insights into legally restricted drugs – stimulants and narcotics and symptoms of abuse
- Examining how cocaine is abused, how it affects the brain and its adverse effects on health
- Understanding cocaethylene, narcotics, designer drugs and the ecstasy pill
- Learning about treatment options
- Exploring legally restricted drugs – hallucinogens, marijuana, LSD and phencyclidine (PCP)
- Gaining an understanding of the forms, effects, dangers and symptoms of abuse
- Studying hallucinogen persisting perception disorder
- Gaining insights into the effects of marijuana on the brain
- Examining legal restricted drugs – steroids
- Understanding the forms, symptoms and dangers of steroid abuse
- Learning about legal drugs – alcohol
- Exploring alcoholism, the symptoms of abuse and dangers of alcohol
- Studying how to stay in control with alcohol
- Gaining insights into treating alcohol amnestic syndrome (Korsakoff’s syndrome)
- Examining alcohol and the developing brain
The History of Psychopharmacology
The science of psychopharmacology has seen major advances over the last 50 years, with the majority of currently licenced psychotropic drugs being first developed in the 1950s. In your psychopharmacology online course, you will learn about the different types of drugs and how they affect human behaviour. But what is the history of psychopharmacology?
Psychopharmacology originated in the early nineteenth century with the experimental and recreational human use of medicines and organic drugs. Coffee and tobacco were freely accessible in America. Plant derivatives like opium and tea freely available in the oriental region and alcohol was prevalent worldwide.
Over time, scientists became progressively curious as to how drugs affected animal behaviour, and through animal testing, the efficacy of certain substances became increasingly evident. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, alkaloids like morphine and chloral hydrate were growing in prevalence in asylums and university hospitals.
Prior to the use of drugs like thioridazine and chlorpromazine in the 1950s, over half a million people resided in American mental institutions. But with the development and use of pharmacologic interventions, the figure dramatically decreased to around 200,000 patients within ten years.
The term psychopharmacology was first used in the early 20th century, with modern history starting with the synthesis of chlorpromazine. This was used to treat psychotic disorders including manic depression and schizophrenia. Today, the term psychopharmacology essentially refers to the effect of certain medications on an individual’s mind and behaviour.
National Drug Strategy Household Survey
A psychopharmacology online course will allow you to explore a range of drugs — both legal, legally restricted, prescription and over-the-counter drugs. But what do the statistics say in terms of usage? The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey collected information on tobacco and alcohol consumption and illegal drug use among the general Australian population. Here are some key findings:
Alcohol and cigarettes
- Young adults are drinking less — in fact, fewer 12 to 17-year-olds are drinking, and they are less likely to smoke.
- Fewer Australians are smoking tobacco, however, the use of e-cigarettes is increasing.
- More Australians are giving up or reducing their alcohol intake, however, there is an increase in alcohol consumption by people in their 50s.
- Around 3.4 million Australians reported using an illicit drug during the year.
- The most common illicit drug is cannabis, followed by ecstasy, the misuse of pharmaceuticals and finally, cocaine.
- While the overall use of methamphetamine had decreased, those that use crystal methamphetamine (ice) are using it more frequently.
- While people aged 20 to 29 are still the most likely to use illicit substances, a greater proportion of older people are mis-using illicit substances and pharmaceuticals compared to previous years.
5 Facts About Mental Health in Australia
October 7 to 11 marked Mental Health Week this year. The theme Mind Your Health is a reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health. Our psychopharmacology online course will give you insights into the connection between drugs and mental health. But it will also bring to light how big an issue mental health is in Australia and how it can affect anyone.
Society must tackle mental illness to reduce stigma and discrimination and encourage people to seek support. It is commonly misunderstood as “mental ill-health”, but it’s actually about wellness — about enjoying life, feeling resilient and being able to connect with others. Here are five interesting statistics about mental health in Australia.
#1 –Australians’ most common illness
According to GPs, and a 2018 report from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australians discuss mental health issues with their doctor more than any issue. In fact, a survey of more than 1500 doctors cited that 62 per cent of patients consulted their doctor for mental disorders.
#2 – The prevalence of mental illness
Almost one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness in a given year. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, over four million Australians experienced a mental disorder in 2015, with numbers increasing year-on-year. The most common mental illnesses are anxiety, depression and substance use disorder.
#3 – The cause of poor health and disability
Mental health problems and substance use disorders are the leading cause of poor health and disability according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In fact, they cite that they cause 23 per cent of all years lost due to disability. Issues are most prevalent in men between the ages of 30 and 69, who are more likely to have their life expectancy lowered by substance abuse. This is more commonly known as disability-adjusted life years (or DALY), and it’s a measure of overall disease burden. It was developed in the 1990s as a way of comparing the overall life expectancy and health of different countries.
#4 – Probable serious mental illness (PSMI)
Almost one in four young people meet the criteria for PSMI according to a report by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute. The report showed the figure increased from around 19 per cent in 2012 to almost 23 per cent in 2016. The number was even higher (around 31 per cent) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents.
#5 – The early emergence of mental health disorders
Three-quarters of all lifetime mental health disorders emerge by the age of 24. This highlights the importance of urgent and ongoing gender and culturally sensitive responses to support young people’s health.
Gain a sound understanding of the short and long-term effects of various drugs and help people overcome dependency with a psychopharmacology online course, such as our Certificate of Psychopharmacology.