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Understanding Addiction

Explore the science of addiction and the strategies to provide better care and minimise harm to the community and individuals.

2,501 enrolled on this course

Understanding Addiction

Explore addiction treatment with the experts at CQUniversity

Addiction has a significant impact on our global society. However, responses and attitudes to addiction are changing and leading to more effective treatments, thanks to the advancement of science.

On this six-week course, you’ll discover how an understanding of the complex science of addiction can improve a patient’s quality of care.

You’ll identify the dominant models and theories of addiction and explore how they can impact intervention responses and treatment of a patient.

Guided by the experts at CQUniversity School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Sciences, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of addiction as a disease to help you provide better and more effective care for your patients.

Understand the scientific theory of addiction

You’ll learn to describe the key components of a good scientific theory, to determine the best models to follow to develop effective treatment responses.

With an understanding of the science of drug and alcohol addiction, you’ll also explore its societal and cultural impacts. This appreciation of the effects of addiction will help you identify routes to help reduce the toll on individuals, families, and society.

Explore addiction treatment as a healthcare professional

Once you have outlined the different models of addiction, you’ll identify how these can inform both prevention and treatment interventions.

You’ll also explore psychopathology in the context of addiction, to understand how it can be studied as a mental disorder to provide more bespoke treatment.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a deeper understanding of your role as a health professional and how to improve the quality of care for your patients with addiction.

What topics will you cover?

  • Types of licit and Illicit drugs

  • Impacts of addiction

  • Models of addiction

  • Harm reduction strategies

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the key components of substance addiction
  • Describe the key components of a good scientific theory
  • Outline the different models of addiction and how these may inform prevention and treatment interventions.

Who is the course for?

This course was designed for anyone working in healthcare who may have to interact with patients who have addictions. It is relevant for anyone working in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, social workers, counsellors and community volunteers.

Whilst not specifically aimed at those looking to support or address their own addiction concerns or those of family/friends, this course should still be accessible andenlightening for general interest learners.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Central Queensland University

CQUniversity is Australia’s leading regional university.

Our courses are designed alongside industry and many include hands-on, practical learning experiences and project-based learning. Our commitment to making real-world knowledge and skills accessible to all has seen us being awarded global recognition. We are ranked among the top 2% of Universities in the world.

  • Established

  • Location

    Rockhampton, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 500Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.



Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks



Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible


$189.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year

Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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