BCSC 246: Biological Basis of Mental Disorders

Cross-listed: PSYC/NSCI 246
Prerequisites: BCSC 110 and BIOL 110 (or equivalent), or NSCI 201
Offered: Spring, Summer

Remarkable changes have taken place over the past decades in the approach to and understanding of disorders generally termed "psychiatric disorders" or "mental disorders." Even in the mid-twentieth century, such disorders were viewed in social and psychological terms and there was virtually no effective medications to treat these disorders. Today, there is an increasing appreciation of the biological basis of mental disorders, and patients with these disorders benefit from a wide availability of medical treatments. The working concept of this course is that disorders that arise from malfunctioning brain cells are neurobiological disorders.

The first part of the course will overview basic neurobiology. In the remainder of the course, basic concepts of neurobiology will be presented coincidentally with clinical presentations and a discussion of the clinical management of various disorders: major psychoses, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addictive disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and childhood onset disorders.

The understanding of the pathology of these disorders is undergoing rapid change. Therefore, while a text is used, it must be considered a progress report and text readings will be supplemented with readings from the primary literature.