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Digital Recording

Leveraging Neuroscience to Slow the Cycle of Childhood Trauma and Addiction

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Judith E Grisel, PhD
1 Hour 27 Minutes
Audio and Video
Oct 07, 2022
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Digital Recording
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Most chemicals that people use to medicate or enhance reality have both risks and benefits, at different times and for different people. Nonetheless, regular use of any mind-altering substance causes the exact opposite states to a drug’s original effects. Chronic stimulants result in lethargy, sedatives lead to anxiety and insomnia, and euphoriants guarantee misery.  This session will explain how the brain adapts to addictive drugs by creating the states of craving, tolerance, and dependence that characterize addiction. We’ll address the synergistic influences of genetic predispositions, childhood trauma, and drug use during development that make some people more vulnerable than others.


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 1.5 hours CPD.



Judith E Grisel, PhD's Profile

Judith E Grisel, PhD Related seminars and products

Judith Grisel, PhD, is a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Bucknell University. Her efforts in the classroom, laboratory, and public domain have positively impacted students, the field of behavioral neuroscience, and the broader community. As an active scholar, Judy has been recognized as an outstanding mentor by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. With students and the support of the National Institutes of Health, she’s published dozens of scientific articles, primarily on the complex causes of drug abuse. Current studies focus on sex-dependent influences of stress on drug reinforcement, and the role of endogenous opioids in alcohol use disorders. A strong proponent of the liberal arts, she teaches a wide range of undergraduate courses, including introductory psychology and neuroscience, and a popular seminar in neuroethics. In 2019, Judy published a book on the neuroscience and experience of addiction that became a NY Times bestseller, which has since been translated for a worldwide audience. She regularly speaks on the relationship between the brain and behavior to parents, teachers, legislators, the judiciary, and clinicians; she’s shared her knowledge effectively from classrooms to the World Economic Forum in Davos. As a recovering addict, scientist, and practiced instructor, Judy is uniquely qualified to communicate knowledge about the neural causes and consequences of substance use disorders.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Judith Grisel has employment relationships with Furman University and Bucknell University. She receives royalties as a published author. Judith Grisel receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Judith Grisel is a member of the International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, the International Society for Brain Research on Alcoholism, and the International Neuroethics Society. She is an ad hoc reviewer for several publications, for a complete list contact PESI, Inc.


  1. Analyze how genetic vulnerabilities, socio-cultural influences, and developmental changes impact the brain to give rise to substance use disorders.
  2. Construct a model demonstrating how the brain adapts to regular drug use by creating an "opponent process" to maintain homeostasis, leading to the hallmarks of addiction: tolerance, dependence and craving.
  3. Theorize how addictive drugs exploit and undermine brain circuits that benefit healthy development.


  • What we know about genetic vulnerabilities and socio-cultural influences on the brain that give rise to substance use disorders
  • The impact of traumatic stress during development
  • How the brain adapts to drug use
  • The opponent process and how it leads to the hallmarks of addiction: tolerance, dependence and craving

Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Other Mental Health Professions


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