Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to alcohol and its effects across the lifespan, with emphasis on examining how alcohol use and the risk for alcohol-related problems change over a person’s lifespan. This course is taught at the graduate level and is designed to help students understand the importance of preventing, diagnosing, and treating alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders. It is also designed to help students understand how various stages of development have different risks for problematic drinking behaviors, while the lifespan-development approach will give students a framework from which to work. Topics will include: epidemiology of alcohol use; neurobiology of addiction; genetics of alcohol, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; binge drinking; health consequences of drinking (including liver disease and various cancers); prevention of alcohol use disorders; treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD); and, medications management. Lectures will include discussions of the latest alcohol research findings and evidence-based practices, with ample time allowed for questions and answers at the end.


understanding of basic epidemiology, such as incidence and prevalence, will be helpful, but not required.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of the prevalence of alcohol use and misuse, including alcohol use disorder in the U.S. and its harmful costs to society
  • Understand alcohol and the health problems it can cause across the lifespan, from the developing fetus to older adults
  • Learn about current research and evidence-based practices for the prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders
  • Examine the disease of addiction, including effects of alcohol on both the developing and the developed brain, and how the brain changes in addicted individuals
  • Discuss how alcohol affects special populations, in particular in the context of diversity issues, health disparities, and women
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