Prof. MD PhD W. van den Brink

Full Professor
Main activities
Research, Other
Addiction, Forensic Psychiatry, Epidemiology
Focus of research


Substance use disorders and behavioral addictions are the conseqence of a negative interaction between blogical, psychological and social factors. As they come into existence they are best regarded as brain disorders. Our mission is to conduct patient-centered addiction research resulting in better- evidence based treatments for patients with addictive disorders. We try to achieve this goal through development and testing of effective and efficient treatments and exploration of mechanisms underlying treatment success. Emphasis is on clinical research, but recently we initiated pre-clinical studies to pilot new interventions and to enhance our understanding of tretament processes.

We distinghish three (overlapping) themes:

(1) Basic neurbiological research investigating factors involved in the initiation and persistance of addictive behaviours, e.g. neurobiology of craving, neurocognitive deficits associated with pathological gambling, neurobiological predicors of treatment success. One of our main technologies here is neuroimaging (SPECT, fMRI, DTI, H.MRS).

(2) Treatment research, testing the effectiveness of addiction treatments and their underlying processes, e.g. treatment efficacy, process evaluation, double diagnosis treatmentss, and patient-treatment matching (pharmacogenomics). A recent interest is the study of neuromodulation techniques: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS).

(3) Health services research, investigating healthcare systems, e.g. implementation of evidence-based interventions, quality of health care, cost-effectiveness.


Key publications
  • Mann Karl, Bladström Anna, Torup Lars, Gual Antoni, van den Brink Wim Extending the treatment options in alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled study of as-needed nalmefene Biological psychiatry 2013;73 (8):706-713 [PubMed]
  • van Zaane Jan, van de Ven Peter M., Draisma Stasja, Smit Johannes H., Nolen Willem A., van den Brink Wim Effect of alcohol use on the course of bipolar disorder: one-year follow-up study using the daily prospective Life Chart method Bipolar disorders 2014;16 (4):400-409 [PubMed]
  • van den Brink Wim, Mann Karl, Gual Antoni, Aubin Henri-Jean Wim van den Brink and colleagues reply to Des Spence and Alain Braillon BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2014;348:g2605 [PubMed]
  • Mann Karl, Torup Lars, Sørensen Per, Gual Antoni, Swift Robert, Walker Brendan, van den Brink Wim Nalmefene for the management of alcohol dependence: review on its pharmacology, mechanism of action and meta-analysis on its clinical efficacy European neuropsychopharmacology 2016;26 (12):1941-1949 [PubMed]
  • Zandi Tekleh, Havenaar Johan M., Laan Wijnand, Kahn Rene S., van den Brink Wim Predictive validity of a culturally informed diagnosis of schizophrenia: a 30 month follow-up study with first episode psychosis Schizophrenia research 2011;133 (1-3):29-35 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

Training and Affiliations
1952 Born in Hilversum, The Netherlands (NL)
1971-1981 Medical Training, VU medical center (VUmc) Amsterdam, NL
1981 Medical Degree (MD) VUmc, Amsterdam, NL
1981-1986 Psychiatric Resident Academic Medical Center Groningen, NL
1986-1987 Fellow Psychiatric Epidemiology Columbia University New York, USA
1987-1989 Senior Researcher Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center Groningen, NL
1989 PhD degree (PhD) University of Groningen, NL
1989-1992 Assistent Professor of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center Groningen, NL
1992-present Professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam, NL
1995-present Director Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research (AIAR), Amsterdam, NL
Other activities
National and International Committees and Assocoations
2002-2010 President European Association of Substance Abuse Research
2003-2006 Advisor American Psychiatric Association DSM-V Committee Substance Use Disorders
2004-2010 Member of the ZonMW Program Committee Efectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness
2004-2008 Chair Interdisciplinary Guideline Committee Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
2005-present Chair International Collaboration on ADHD and Substance Abuse (ICASA)
2007-2018 Executive Member Research Council Academic Medical center University of Amsterdam
2008-present National Committie for the Evaluation of the Dutch drug policy
2009-2011 Chair Interdisciplinary Guideline Committee Opioid Addicition
2010-2015 Member Executive Board European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)

2012-present Chair Scientific Program Committe ECNP

2018-present Vice-Chair Borad of Advisors Arkin

National and international scientific journals
1995-present Methodological advisor Netherlands Journal of Psychiatry
2000-present International Advisor Suchttherapie
2003-present Member Editorial Board Sucht
2003-present Member Editorial Board Addiction Biology
2005-present Member Editorial Board International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
2005-present Member Editorial Board Addiction
2006-present Member International Editorial Advisory Board Current Drug Abuse Reviews
2006-2011 Associate Editor Drug and Alcohol Dependence
2006-2017 Editor European Addiction Research
2010-present Member Editorial Board Mind and Brain

2003 Marie Curie Award for neuroimaging of the neurotoxicity of ecstasy
2005 Science Award of the Netherlands Psychiatric Association
2008 Publication Award Netherlands Journal of Psychiatry

2014 Pieter Baan Lifetime Achievement Award Netherlands Psychiatric Association

2017 Life-time Acievement Award EUFAS


Research programmes

Prof. MD PhD W. van den Brink (Addiction: pathogenesis, mechanisms of relapse and treatment effectiveness)

Investigating the genetic aspects of addiction and addiction treatment.

Conducting proof of principle studies with pharmacological compounds to treat substace use disorders and pathological gambling using neuroimaging (fMRI, SPECT) paradigms as proxy outcomes

Developing and testing of neuromodulation techniques (transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS], deep barin stimulation [DBS]) for the treatment of patient with addictive behaviours in different stages of the disease.

Working on the stageing and profiling of substance use disorders in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of available treatments for patients with substance use disorders.

Exploring the conceptual and empirical overlap between substance use disorders and other compulse and impulsive brain disorders (e.g. pathological gambling, obesity, OCD).

Further development and evaluation of routine outcome monitoring as an instrument for quality improvement.

Prof. PhD E.M. Derks
MD PhD A. Lok

Prof. PhD A.E. Goudriaan
PhD G. van de Glind

PhD Students
BA H.A. Berendsen
MD PhD M.D. Cohn
C.A. Figueroa
MSc L.E. Pape
K. van Lith
MD I. Visser

PhD J. Assies
Prof. PhD G.M. Schippers
PhD J.G.C. van Amsterdam