2021.2.2 thru 2021.3.2 | 5 Part Series on Neurobiology and the Intersection of Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

2021.2.2 thru 2021.3.2 | 5 Part Series on Neurobiology & the Intersection of Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders | Petros Levounis, MD, MA



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2021.2.2 | 12p.m. to 2p.m. | The New Neurobiology of Addiction and Implication for Treatment | 2 contact hours 

From a neurobiological perspective, addiction is the hijacking of the pleasure-reward pathways of the brain and a weakening of its executive function. In 2021, the fundamental model has been expanded to include newer concepts such as motivational circuitry and anti-reward pathways. These 21st century discoveries inform clinical innovations that are now changing the landscape of the pharmacological and psychosocial treatments of substance use and co-occurring disorders.

2021.2.9 | 12p.m. to 1p.m. | Alcohol: from Brief Interventions to Current Medications | 1 contact hour

Despite alcohol’s legal status and social acceptability in many countries, it remains a potentially dangerous, toxic substance. Withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal, and medically managed withdrawal is often necessary to ensure patient safety. Three medications are approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder—acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram—while selection of a treatment is dependent largely on individual circumstances and preference.
Alcohol use frequently co-occurs with anxiety disorders, which require coordinated management and complex psychopharmacology in order to ensure stabilization and recovery.

2021.2.16 | 12p.m. to 1 p.m. | Opioids: from a Medical Mistake in the 80s to the Epidemic in 2021 | 1 contact hour 

Opioids are an indispensable tool in our medical armamentarium. They are very effective at relieving physical (and emotional) pain, yet regular use can lead to physical dependence within days. Given that they are prescribed medications, a low perception of harm has driven widespread recreational misuse. In 2021, buprenorphine is the first-line treatment of opioid use disorders. Methadone and naltrexone are alternate pharmacologic treatments.
Opioid use frequently co-occurs with pain syndromes, which require coordinated management and complex psychopharmacology in order to ensure stabilization and recovery.

2021.2.23 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | Stimulants: from Caffeine to Crystal Methamphetamine and beyond | 1 contact hour 

Street stimulants range from caffeine to cocaine, ecstasy, crystal methamphetamine, and more recently bath salts. The psychotic syndromes which result from stimulant intoxication can be difficult to distinguish from a manic episode or exacerbation of a primary psychosis as might be seen in bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Behavioral interventions form the core treatment modalities for stimulant use disorders and include motivational interviewing, contingency management, cognitive behavioral therapy, group counselling, and recently mindfulness. Research on pharmacotherapy for stimulant use disorders has largely yielded mixed or preliminary results.
Stimulant use frequently co-occurs with depressive disorders, which require coordinated management and complex psychopharmacology in order to ensure stabilization and recovery.

2021.3.2 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | Advanced Clinical Practicum | 1 contact hour 

This final session in the series addresses complex clinical cases brought for discussion by the participants and the moderator. We will synthesize assessment, diagnosis, psychosocial interventions, psychopharmacology, prevention, and public health with special emphasis on addressing conundrums of co-occurring addiction with other psychiatric disorders.


About the Presenter

Petros Levounis, MD, MA Dr. Levounis serves as professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and chief of service at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Levounis came to Rutgers from Columbia University where he served as director of the Addiction Institute of New York from 2002 to 2013. Read more


Contact hours A completed evaluation is required to receive contact hours for the following:

6 Continuing Medical Education This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Maine Medical Education Trust and (CCSME). The Maine Medical Education Trust is accredited by the Maine Medical Association Committee on Continuing Medical Education and Accreditation to provide continuing medical education for physicians

6 Category I contact hours for Psychologists are provided. CCSME is a pre-approved sponsor and provider of Professional Education Activities for Psychologists.

6 contact hour for CHES. CCSME is a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

Certificate of attendance for 6 contact hours, licensed clinical professional counselors, social workers, and other professionals.

6 contact hours pending approval by the Maine Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors.



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