Sinclair Method: Does It Completely Work?

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : December 29, 
2020 
| 4 Sources


The Right Naltrexone Dosage


Statistically, this method is far more successful than AA, and yet it is virtually unknown of in the U.S.


the sinclair method

The Sinclair method, unlike other so-called alcoholism cures out there, actually works. A measure of its success is that it continues to win more and more converts.

It is widely believed by many (or at least those who have come across it) to be much more effective than most of the other options and that includes the ubiquitous, Alcoholics Anonymous.


It is claimed by proponents that Sinclair's method gives alcoholic individuals the freedom to continue drinking, as their cravings for alcohol slowly fade.

In many cases, it also allows individuals to decrease their level of alcoholic consumption to the point that they can remain a social drinker if they choose to do so.

In fact, this particular alcohol treatment option is so effective that as many as 78% of alcoholic individuals using this method have managed to either give up drinking altogether or have reduced their drinking to recommended levels [2].


AA's own statistics show that, ONLY 5% of alcoholics still attend meetings after one year [1]. Is this the mark of a successful treatment program?


Using an Old Drug in a New Way

It is commonly assumed that if an alcoholic wants to give up drinking he or she will have to abstain from alcohol for the rest of his or her life.

This is a belief expounded by the most popular of alcohol recovery groups, Alcoholics Anonymous.

This assumption has become so ingrained in the recovery 'industry', that if you suggest any kind of alcoholism recovery program that deviates from the abstention model then you are immediately labeled as misguided or, in some cases, insane.

This, however, is exactly what the Sinclair Method does. The Sinclair Method is an evidence-based treatment for alcohol abuse designed by Dr. John D. Sinclair.

This method utilizes a drug called naltrexone [3].

Naltrexone is a drug that is used to treat alcoholism by reducing your craving for alcohol. The drug is licensed by the FDA and they recommend it be prescribed to alcoholics or addicts only after they have stopped drinking. (Read naltrexone treatment of alcoholism for more on the licensed use of the drug)

In the Sinclair Method, however, the drink dependent is required to continue drinking.

The recommended naltrexone dosage for the Sinclair Method is 50mg to be taken about an hour before consuming alcohol, and you should do so throughout the course of your drinking life [4].


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The Sinclair Method:
So how does it Work?

Using Naltrexone in this manner will slowly lower the amount of alcohol cravings that a person has for alcohol, and it does so without the patient having to worry about frustrating and painful withdrawal symptoms.

In most other treatment plans and cures for alcoholism there is a wide variety of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that a patient must endure when they make the decision to either stop or reduce the amount of alcohol that they consume.



The reason that this method is seen as an effective treatment for alcoholism is because it completely blocks the body's release of endorphins to the brain [5].

When a person, who will later develop alcoholism, first begins to drink, endorphins are released in his/her brain. The release of endorphins creates pleasure.

From then on the individual associates alcohol with pleasure and continues to do so. They learn that alcohol equals good feelings.

As they drink more and more their tolerance grows and they need more drink to release the same amount of endorphins to create the pleasurable feelings. Eventually, they become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol.


Obtaining Naltrexone

Naltrexone is only available by prescription. You should only use it when under the care of a physician who has extensive experience treating people with alcohol problems.

However, as mentioned above, naltrexone is only recommend for those who are abstaining from alcohol. The trick is to find a sympathetic physician who will prescribe it for you.

If you go to the following link, you will find and be able to print out a letter that you can give to your doctor explaining the ins and outs of the Sinclair method, and the naltrexone dosage necessary for the method to be effective.


"If you're unsure whether alcohol may be a problem, speak with one of our supportive counselors. With many having first-hand experience they understand the struggle. The free chat is confidential & they are available 24/7."
877-322-2694


Total Abstention is not Necessary.

By taking Naltrexone one hour before they drink, alcoholics are blocking the release of endorphins, so when they drink they don't get the same pleasure as before. This enables people who take Naltrexone to control alcohol cravings and help maintain abstinence from them.

They 'unlearn' that alcohol equals pleasure [6].

That is why those using this method, can, if they wish, continue drinking, but responsibly.

In Finland, the Sinclair Method is used extensively with very positive results.

It is strange that this 'cure' for alcoholism, is virtually unheard of in the U.S. despite the fact that it was devised in the 1980s and has had such positive results. Nonetheless, Naltrexone shouldn’t be prescribed without some type of medical management or supportive counseling.

Are You Looking for the Right Alcoholism Treatment?

There are many treatment programs and options being offered, and it can be overwhelming to go through them alone. No worries, though, help is available. A professional treatment provider can help you identify the right options for you.



If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:




Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


Hello!

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More



Sources:  

National Alliance on Mental Illness. Naltrexone (ReVia). https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Naltrexone-(ReVia)

Medline Plus. Naltrexone. October 15, 2017. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a685041.html

Sinclair Method. What is the Sinclair Method. https://www.sinclairmethod.org/what-is-the-sinclair-method-2/

NCBI. Naltrexone for the Management of Alcohol Dependence. August 14, 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565602/



References:
  • [1] Alcoholics Anonymous ID # 5M/12-90/TC summarized in Vince Fox's Addiction, Change, and Choice (1993)
  • [2] Contral Clinic treatment FAQ
  • [3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK25637/
  • [4] Eskapa, Roy. The Cure for Alcoholism. BenBella Books (2008)
  • [5] Sinclair, J.D. (January 14, 2000). "Evidence about the use of naltrexone and for different ways of using it in the treatment of alcoholism". Alcohol and Alcoholism (Oxford Journal of Medicine) 36 (1): 2–10.
  • [6] ibid


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