Brain’s Role in Alcohol Use Disorders*



Alcohol is among the most commonly used drugs worldwide and is found in alcoholic beverages such as beer, wines, and spirits.  It is a depressant drug, as it slows down various sections of the brain and the central nervous system.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) as “problem drinking that becomes severe.”  AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol consumption, loss of control over this consumption, and a negative emotional state when not using.

This presentation provides a comprehensive, real case presentation of a 40-year-old man diagnosed with AUD (severe severity), followed by a detailed discussion on AUD, inclusive of definitions and criteria, epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, treatment, complications, and prognosis.


  • Define such terms as ‘alcohol,’ ‘withdrawal,’ ‘tolerance,’ and ‘craving;’
  • Explain the DSM-V criteria for a diagnosis of AUD as well as key epidemiological points regarding persons diagnosed with AUD;
  • Identify some of the complex mechanisms that influence AUD;
  • Describe the brain’s role in AUD, specifically the brain reward system and other pathophysiological processes that take place in the body following alcohol consumption;
  • Show the clinical presentation of alcohol withdrawal;
  • Recognize some of the long-term effects of alcohol consumption.

Target Audience: Psychologists, Social Workers, Addiction Counselors, & Licensed Professional Counselors

Content level: Beginner to intermediate

2 CE hour credits approved by ASWB, NAADAC, & NBCC

State Board Approval
ADACBGA # 19-12-17-1212
FCB # 5387-A
OCDP Board # 50-29024

Course Features

  • Lectures 1
  • Quizzes 1
  • Duration 2 hours
  • Skill level Beginner to Intermediate
  • Language English
  • Students 1007
  • Certificate Yes
  • Assessments Self
  • Video Recording
    • Lecture.1
      Brain’s Role in Alcohol Use Disorders Video Recording
    No items in this section
  • QUIZ
    • Quiz.1
      Brain’s Role in Alcohol Use Disorders 15 questions

Dr. Sean Leonardo Knowles is a physician at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in the Department of Psychiatry. He is currently working on the Substance Abuse wards as a Registrar.
Dr. Knowles attended Temple Christian Schools during his primary and junior high school years and obtained his senior high school education from Saint Augustine’s College where he was his class valedictorian in 1994. He later earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Spanish in 1998 from Saint John’s University in Minnesota as a Cum Laude graduate with All-College Honors and earning a Distinction in Biology. Dr. Knowles then obtained a Master of Science degree in Mathematics & Statistics from Youngstown State University in Ohio in 2005 and was awarded the Most Outstanding Graduate Student in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics Award. In 2013, he obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of the West Indies and was presented The Dr. Mortimer Moxey Most Outstanding Performance in Community Medicine Award. Dr. Knowles was also the recipient of a 2016 British Chevening scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to complete a Master of Science Degree in Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in September 2017. His thesis is entitled "Understanding the Effects of Free Heme on Human Neutrophil Function." Presently, Dr. Knowles is a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and recently completed the University of Minnesota – Duluth and the North American Training Institute’s Studies in Gambling Addiction: Counseling the Pathological Gambler Certification course.
In his spare time, Dr. Knowles enjoys weightlifting, kickboxing, traveling, watching thriller movies, public speaking, and mentoring young men.
Dr. Knowles’ ultimate career goal is to utilize his psychiatry, clinical medicine, mathematics, and immunology of infectious disease training and experiences by serving the public health sector of The Bahamas as a physician, health policy maker, and educator. He also aspires to become a Minister of Health in The Bahamas someday.