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Diploma in Psychiatric Drugs Awareness

Total recommended period of study: approx. 3 months or less. Continuous enrolment. No time limit.

Cost: £ 245.00

A FREE textbook will be sent to UK students.


A crucial professional development course for counsellors, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists and all health workers. Includes critical background information on Big Pharma. Vital study for those interested in the use and abuse of psychiatric medication.

Method of study:

Textbook study - distance learning. Written assignments based on the set textbook. Assignment questions are in our PDF course manual and students return their written work by email. Results and feedback are issued by email.

Course description and syllabus

This course explains what types of psychiatric drugs may be prescribed for different mental health disorders, the risks versus benefits of the medication, and how patients cope with different drug regimes. Brief up-to-date details are given of each disorder so this unit also acts as a guide to the field of mental illness. Sections on "user issues" are included to brief people about possible side effects and other concerns. There is also background information about the pharmaceutical industry, how it researches and markets its drugs, the science behind drug research, and the debate about responsible versus haphazard prescribing and the use of psychoactive drugs on children. Anyone concerned about or needing to be informed about the use of prescribed drugs for mental health issues, and needing more information, will benefit from this course.

Topics include:

• Brief descriptions of how drugs work

• Brief introductions to various mental health problems

• How the following conditions are managed:

• Psychoses (including schizophrenia)

• Depression

• Bipolar Disorder

• Anxiety

• Children's mental health problems

• Sleep disorders/insomnia

• Dementia and cognitive impairment

• Sexual problems

Plus additional material on:

• Dependence and withdrawal

• Side-effects (with questionnaires)

• Legal issues (consent, liability)

• Abuse of psychiatric drugs

• Marketing of psychiatric drugs

• Ethics and the drug industry

• Problems with drug research

There will be updates for the 2023 edition.

Entry Criteria:  Open entry.


This course will be of interest to counsellors, hypnotherapists, psychotherapists, complementary practitioners, volunteers, health journalists and others who come into contact with people taking psychiatric drugs, as well as all those who care for mental health patients and for people who have been prescribed medication for mental health conditions.  Those who study this course will be better able to understand the applications and risks of psychiatric drugs and to discuss their use with other people involved including doctors. If you are a therapy tutor/trainer, this course will give you the knowledge to incorporate a module on psychiatric drugs in your syllabus.

The course will also benefit students of nursing, medicine, pharmacy, clinical psychology, social work, etc.

Important statement

The course is offered for educational and professional development purposes only. Only medical doctors and other qualified professionals (e.g. nurse practitioners) can diagnose, prescribe drugs and/or advise patients about their medication. Patients, carers and counsellors/therapists studying this course will be better informed to discuss psychoactive medication, to understand what the patient is taking, its possible effects and the implications for therapy, and to help patients have the confidence to consult their doctors if it is believed that further medical advice is needed concerning their diagnosis, the drugs they are taking or if there might be a drug that could help their condition. Nobody should stop taking prescribed drugs without a doctor's advice and help. Abruptly stopping or reducing dosage of a prescribed drug can be dangerous.


Successful graduates will receive the Diploma in Psychiatric Drugs Awareness.

The course is approved by ACCPH (see societies page for explanation).

We reserve the right to change the syllabus and other details of any course at any time.

2023 update information

The textbook was updated in late 2022. So far we have had no applications. When we have one, we will update the course for the new textbook. This may take up to 2 weeks and then it will be ready for everyone. If interested please contact us at

Course textbook:

Healy, David. Psychiatric Drugs Explained, 7th edition. Elsevier, 2022.

UK students will receive a free copy. See 2023 update information above.


You may start at any time of year
Click this link to go to our Application page

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