Albert Arias, MD, MS

  • Associate Professor Term

Dr. Arias is a clinician and educator with specialization in Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry. He is also involved in research developing novel and personalized treatments for alcoholism and co-occurring mental disorders. He is stationed at the West Haven VA where he directs a tele-mental health substance abuse consultation service (part of the VA NTMHC) and serves as a teaching attending in the Outpatient Substance Abuse Clinic. His current research focuses primarily on pharmacological treatment of alcohol dependence, (particularly the use of anticonvulsants) and pharmacogenetics. He teaches in the fellowship program for Addiction Psychiatry, and teaches students, residents, and fellows. He also teaches elective courses in tele-addiction psychiatry and psychiatric pharmacogenetics.

Research interests
Alcoholism; Pharmacogenetics; Psychiatry; Psychopharmacology; Veterans; Substance Abuse Detection; Alcohol-Induced Disorders
Research summary

Dr. Arias researches new treatments for addiction to alcohol and drugs. Dr. Arias also is interested in helping to personalize medical treatment by applying genetics to treatment research.

Specialized Terms: Alcoholism; Pharmacotherapy for alcoholism; Pharmacogenetics; Dual diagnosis; Drug Addiction

Extensive research description

Dr. Arias has worked on clinical trials for alcoholism for more than a decade, and continues to work on clinical trials of novel therapeutics to reduce drinking. Formerly a co-investigator at the Clinical Research and Evaluation Unit at University of Connecticut Health Center, he currently works as a co-investigator under the mentorship of Dr. Ismene Petrakis with her alcohol research group at the VA in West Haven. Dr. Arias is currently funded by 5-year VA Merit Award to study the medication zonisamide to treat Alcohol Dependence, as well as an R01 to study zonisamide treatment of alcoholism in civilians including the translational study of its pharmacogenetics and clinical mechanism of action. He is currently working on the development of the anticonvulsant perampanel for alcohol and cocaine use disorder. Additional precision and personalized medicine projects include the empirical sub-typing and classification of persons with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and the development of multi-gene pharmacogenetic approaches for AUD treatment.

  • MS, University of Connecticut, 2010
  • MD, Michigan State University College of Human Medicin, 2001
  • Arias AJ, Gelernter J, Chan G, Weiss R, Brady KT, Farrer L, Kranzler HR. Correlates of co-occurring ADHD in drug-dependent subjects: prevalence and features of substance dependence and psychiatric disorders. Addictive Behavior. 2008 Sep; 33(9):1199-207. PubMed PMID: 18558465; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2532519.
  • Arias AJ, Feinn R, Covault J, Kranzler HR. Placebo-controlled trial of zonisamide for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2010 Jun;30(3):318-22. PubMed PMID: 20473070.
  • Arias AJ, Armeli S, Gelernter J, Covault J, Kallio A, Karhuvaara S, Koivisto T, Makela R, Kranzler HR. Effects of opioid receptor gene variation on targeted nalmefene treatment in heavy drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2008 July; 32(7):1159-66. PubMed PMID: 18537939; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2950972.
  • Arias AJ, Chan G, Gelernter J, Farrer L, Kranzler HR. Variation in OPRM1 and Risk of Suicidal Behavior in Drug-Dependent Individuals. American Journal on Addiction. In Press.
  • Arias AJ, Feinn R, Covault J, Kranzler HR: Open-label study of memantine for alcohol dependence. Addictive Disorders and Their Treatment. 6(2):77-83, June 2007.
  • Arias A, Feinn R, Kranzler HR: Association of an Asn40Asp (A118G) polymorphism in the mu-opioid receptor gene with substance dependence: A meta-analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2006 Jul 27;83(3):262-8. PubMed PMID: 16387451.
  • Hammond C, Niciu M, Drew S, Arias AJ. CNS Drugs. Apr;29(4):293-311. (Peer-reviewed).
  • Niciu M, Arias AJ. CNS Drugs. Oct;27(10):777-87. (Peer-reviewed).
  • Arias AJ, Covault JM, Feinn R, Pond T, Yang BZ, Wenjing G, Oncken C, Kranzler HR. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2014 Jan-Feb; 49(1):1-9. PMCID: 3865816.
  • Arias AJ, Gelernter J, Gueorguieva R, Ralevski E, Petrakis IL. American Journal on Addictions. 2014: May-Jun; 23(3): 288-93.
  • Kranzler HR, Covault JM, Feinn R, Armelli S, Tennen H, Arias AJ, Gelernter J, Pond T, Oncken C, Kampmann K. American Journal of Psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry 2014; April; 171: 445-452.
  • Oncken C, Arias AJ, Feinn R, Litt M, Covault J, Sofuoglu M, Kranzler HR. Nicotine Tob Res. 014 Mar;16(3):288-96.