What is the Sinclair Method?
Naltrexone for Alcohol Dependence
Using naltrexone for alcohol dependence is not a new idea in mental healthcare. Mental health providers and addiction specialists have been using this good-old medication to help people decrease their alcohol consumption for decades. Recently, this strategy has gotten a renewed sense of attention. The Sinclair Method is named after psychologist John D. Sinclair who is credited with the research using naltrexone for alcohol use disorders.
What makes Dr. Sinclair's method different than other forms of treatment is harm-reduction. Harm-reduction strategies involve continuing to allow the individual to use their drug of choice while trying to decrease the use, have more control over their use, or stop using completely.
In fact, the treatment success of the Sinclair Method depends on the continued consumption of alcohol in combination with prescription medication Naltrexone.
When you take Naltrexone prior to drinking, it blocks endorphins (naturally occurring opiates in the brain) from being released when alcohol is consumed. When the endorphins are blocked, there is no “buzz” or rewarding experience from drinking. Over time, the brain learns to disassociate the idea of drinking alcohol and feelings of pleasure. This, according to the Sinclair Method, makes it easier to stop drinking. And, unlike other medications to help people stop drinking alcohol, Naltrexone is not designed to make you ill when you drink.
Who is an ideal candidate for naltrexone therapy for alcohol use disorders? Almost anyone.
Those who have tried other methods and failed.
Those who have not been able to connect to the ideas of AA or spiritually based abstinence.
Those who want to have more active control over their recovery.