​Alcohol abuse


At Ulrichsen’s Clinic, we have a great deal of experience in the treatment of alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse. To begin with, a thorough investigation is very important to determine whether there are other mental disorders in addition to alcohol abuse. This could include anxiety disorders such as OCD, or depression, bipolar disorder, a personality disorder or ADHD. If other mental disorders are present, the treatment becomes more complicated. On the other hand, sufficient treatment of the other mental disorder could mean that the need for alcohol more or less disappears, as alcohol consumption is in some cases used as a form of self-medication. People with alcohol abuse and depression suffer from bipolar disorder until something else can be proven.

Cognitive behavior therapy

If alcoholism or excessive alcohol consumption is the primary problem, treatment will consist of cognitive behavior therapy, and we will make use of experiences from earlier research projects at Psychiatric Center Gentofte.


Many people with alcohol abuse experience an intense activation of the brain’s reward system when consuming alcohol. Here it has been shown that the medication called Naltrexone, which has virtually no side effects, can block the alcohol-released euphoria and can thus significantly reduce the need for alcohol. This treatment is frequently used in other countries, but very few Danish treatment centers make use of it.

The patients to whom we offer Naltrexone at Ulrichsen’s Clinic describe an intense euphoria when drinking alcohol. The typically drink to lift their spirits rather than to neutralize anxiety. There is also a family history of alcoholism, and alcohol is the only substance that is abused, because nothing else can match the positive effect of alcohol. The medication Selincro (Nalmafene), which was launched in Denmark in 2013, has an effect similar to that of Naltrexone.

Young people and alcohol

Danes are at high risk of developing alcoholism, due to our extremely liberal attitude towards alcohol – including the fact that it is generally accepted for young people to drink themselves senseless several times a month. We therefore also offer a treatment program for young people who want help to control their consumption of alcohol.

This chapter was written by consulting doctor, DMSc Jakob Ulrichsen, medical specialist in psychiatry.

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