Brian Johnson, MD, 315 464-3130

Brian Johnson, MD
Appointed 04/01/08
205 Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Building
713 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210

315 464-3130

Current Appointments

Hospital Campus

  • Downtown

Clinical Section Affiliations

  • Anesthesiology: Pain Treatment

Research Programs and Affiliations

  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education & Fellowships

  • Residency: Cambridge Hospital, 1981, Psychiatry
  • Residency: Metropolitan Hospital Center, 1977, Medicine
  • Internship: Harlem Hospital, 1976
  • MD: New York Medical College, 1976
  • BS: Columbia University, 1972

Research Interests

  • The goal of Dr. Johnson’s research is to understand how opioids exert their effects by addressing clinical challenges that appear unrelated but are unified by an innovative theory.  We propose a theory that unifies the nature of these disorders by assuming that each involves a dysregulation of the opioid system based on data suggesting that opioid dependence and fibromyalgia are associated with low opioid tone whereas autism is associated with high opioid tone.  Our first challenge, therefore, is to create and validate a treatment for opioid dependence that corrects persistent hormonal changes after detoxification.  Our second challenge is to treat fibromyalgia.  Our third challenge is to assess whether autism is a disease of too-high opioid tone by blocking excess opioid stimulation to treat the symptoms.  Opioid dependence, fibromyalgia, and autism are three disorders that cause much distress and disability but are difficult to treat.  We test our theory by treating opioid dependence and fibromyalgia with low-dose naltrexone and autism with high-dose naltrexone.  Our theory suggests a novel approach that could improve the quality of life of patients suffering from these debilitating disorders.

Specialties & Certification

  • Psychiatry
  • Addiction Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Addiction Psychiatry

Diseases & Conditions Treated

  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Prescription Drug Abuse


  • Adults and Children


  • Diagnostic Assessment
  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Outpatient Detoxification
  • Psychopharmacology

Current Hospital Privileges

  • Upstate University Hospital

HealthLinkOnAir Radio Interview

8/5/12 New study for failed back surgery syndrome


Link to PubMed External Icon (Opens new window. Close the PubMed window to return to this page.)

Research Abstract

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