• Increase the drug treatment of alcohol dependence!

    Professor Jørgen G. Bramness is the research director at SERAF, Center for substance abuse and and Addiction Research in Oslo.



         His science background is solid; trained in psychiatric epidemiology and clinical pharmacology, research within Forensic medicine.

         SERAF, having about 45 people in total, resides in House 49 inside the Ullevål University Hospital but is organizationally a part of the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Oslo University.


    Jørgen Bramness took his doctorate at the National Institute of Public Health, Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse and Research Fellow at the Pharmacological Institute of the University in 2005 on the topic of carisoprodol (Somadril®).

         Jørgen G. Bramness is primarily responsible for the specialized substance abuse and addiction issues in the experiential master in Psychosocial Work – suicide, substance abuse, violence and trauma and is currently leading the program board for the whole master.

         He has published more than 90 scientific papers on the subjects of psychiatric epidemiology, pharmacology, drug dependency and abuse of drugs.


    Increase the drug treatment of alcohol dependence for the sake of patient, family and society!

    The frequency of treatment of alcohol problems are too low in Norway. Only 5 to 10 percent of people with alcohol problems are adequately addressed by the health sector. Corresponding figures for depression is 40 percent.

    – There are several drugs for alcohol cravings in the market today, but they are very rarely used. There has been what could almost be likened to “reluctance” among practitioners to treat alcohol problems.

    – Treatment frequency should be increased and it is in the primary world it must happen. And it is high time; since 20 years ago, alcohol intake in Norway has increased by 40 percent. Women are indeed the largest percentage increase, but it is far more men who are alcohol dependent. Our new government has pledged to further liberalize the rules on alcohol; increased accessibility means increased alcohol harm.

    – Here in Norway, between 200,000 and 300,000 people have alcohol problems. Between 5 and 10 percent of Norwegian men are alcohol dependent, approximately 50,000 men.

       For women the number is about half.

    – But still we are backwards compared to Europe's two “horror” cases in relation to alcohol consumption, the UK and Denmark.


    “Increase the ability to deal with alcoholism”

    This is my creed, my absolute conviction that I preach in lectures and courses around Norway:

    – It is not researchers and professors who have to solve the problem, it is in the primary sector and among private physicians in conversation with patients that the issue of over-consumption must come to the table and be the start of a treatment plan, Jørgen G. Bramness stresses.

    – GPs have to reduce their anxiety on addiction issues and develop better patient communication about alcohol problems and offer various forms of assistance, including drugs. The patient should be informed that the arsenal today is much broader than when we just had Antabus to offer.

    – Colleagues ask me half-jokingly if I get paid by the pharmaceutical industry to promote drugs for alcohol dependence. I can reassure them with the message that I have never received a penny from the industry.

    – Underuse of drugs for alcoholism and other conditions in social medicine and psychiatry may be due to the pendulum from the enthusiasm of the 80s and 90s having swung back.

    – Another explanation may be that the doctor avoids addressing the issue of alcohol in fear of “moralizing” about the patient's living habits and privacy. But overusing alcohol is no “private matter”. The alcohol-dependent damages his entire family.


    “Why does Jeppe drink?”

    Asked about the Stockholm clinic Riddergatan 1 where 2/3 of the consumers are able to drink “normally” after a year, Jørgen G. Bramness answers that he is a little skeptical about the figures, but is completely in agreement that the availability of several drugs (other than just Antabus) opens up new opportunities.

    – “Why does Jeppe drink?” Has as many answers as there are many different Jeppe. The larger the toolbox we have the better opportunities we have to provide a “tailored” treatment.

    – For Naltrexone, I consider that the product is very well suited to achieve and maintain a controlled consumption. We are conducting a study at the moment to elucidate this.

    ¬- New drugs are launched in the market, but are the therapeutic benefits in a right relationship with the higher prices? This remains to be seen, ends Jørgen G. Bramness.


    Citatruta: …………….

    Globally, alcohol is a major cause of disease and premature death. Alcohol is the fifth leading cause of years of life lost in the West and accounts for 5 percent of all years of life lost “

    ……………… ..





    Reading tips:

    Interview with professor Jørgen G. Bramness in forskning.no



    The book: Power, powerlessness and addiction av Jim Orford

    ”It is the first book on addiction I have read that thoroughly integrates so many important strands of thinking on this complex topic.” 

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