Psychology of Addiction and Recovery

Understand the neurological and psychological effects of addiction, and how they can be leveraged in the path to recovery.


6 weeks, excluding


5–6 hours per week,
entirely online

Learning Format

Weekly modules,
flexible learning

You'll walk away with:


An intuitive understanding of the neurological and psychological effects of addiction, and how this aids in the path to recovery.


Insight into the history of addiction and how perceptions of addiction have changed over time.


Awareness of how peer-based policies and approaches to recovery can be used to treat addiction, and how policy-level interventions can be used to address substance misuse in populations.


Insight into biological and psychological approaches to recovery.

Is this course for you?


There has been significant progress and expansion in the development of evidence-based psychosocial treatments for substance abuse and psychological dependence. Founded on new research, this course offers a platform to better understand substance and process addiction, and how these impact intervention and recovery. This course is designed for health and care professionals such as social workers, recovery coaches, and mental health counselors, all of whom will find interest in the practical insight into addiction and recovery. Additionally, physicians could benefit from exposure to biological, psychological, and social options for recovery management.

Course curriculum:

Over the duration of this online short course, you’ll work through the following modules:

Module breakdown
Please note that module titles and their contents are subject to change during course development.

Module 1
The history of addiction

Explore concepts and definitions of addiction through time.

Module 2
The neurobiology of the addicted brain

Discover the neurobiological changes that lead to and result from addiction.

Module 3
Screening and early intervention

Learn practical tools for screening and early intervention.

Module 4
Biological approaches to recovery

Learn about medications and other somatic treatments for addiction.

Module 5
Psychological approaches to recovery

Learn about psychological interventions for addiction.

Module 6
Peer-based and policy approaches to recovery

Learn about peer-based and policy approaches for addressing addiction and promoting recovery.

Academic Director

Anna Lembke

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine

Currently the associate professor and medical director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Lembke also serves as program director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic.

Lembke was one of the first in the U.S. medical community to sound the alarm regarding opioid overprescribing and the opioid pandemic. In 2016, she published her best-selling book on the prescription drug pandemic, Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop. It explores the complex relationship between doctors and patients around prescribing controlled drugs.

Using her public platform and faculty position at Stanford University School of Medicine, Lembke continues to educate policymakers and the public about causes of, and solutions to, the problem of addiction.

“Addiction has become a global problem. Educating people who might otherwise not have access to this information fills me with a sense of purpose. The knowledge those taking the course acquire may translate into helping people struggling with addiction.

Anna Lembke
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Stanford University School of Medicine

An online education that sets you apart

This Stanford Center for Health Education online short course is delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter. Join a growing community of global professionals who have already benefited from the opportunity to:


Gain verifiable and relevant competencies and earn invaluable recognition from an international selection of universities, entirely online and in your own time


Enjoy a personalized, people-mediated online learning experience created to make you feel supported at every step


Experience a flexible but structured approach to online education as you plan your learning around your life to meet weekly milestones

View Course Brochure

Want to know more?
Enter your information below to access the course brochure from GetSmarter.

* Required Field

Please enter your first name

Please enter your last name

Please enter a valid email address

Email me about the educational programs that GetSmarter (a brand of 2U, Inc.) and the 2U family of companies offer with multiple institutions.

Please select an option

By consenting to receive communications, you agree to the use of your data as described in our privacy policy. You may opt out of receiving communications at any time.