What is the Sinclair Method?
The Sinclair Method for Alcohol Use Disorders is an evidence-based treatment for problematic drinking developed by Dr. John D. Sinclair. Unlike traditional treatments that require complete abstinence from alcohol, the Sinclair Method allows you to continue drinking alcohol at the beginning of treatment.
In fact, treatment success depends on the continued consumption of alcohol in combination with the prescription medication Naltrexone.
There are no meetings, chips, or higher powers with this program, although your provider may recommend some types of counseling.
Naltrexone for Alcohol Dependence
Naltrexone is at the heart of the Sinclair Method for Alcoholism. It is a prescription medication that was FDA-approved for Alcohol Dependence in 1994. When you take Naltrexone prior to drinking, it blocks endorphins, the 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, and the alcohol doesn’t make you feel the pleasure that drives you to drink excessively.
Over time, your brain learns not to associate alcohol with pleasure, resulting in reduced cravings and improved control over alcohol use. Naltrexone must be taken at least one hour before your first drink.
What is the Success Rate of the Sinclair Method?
The Sinclair Method has been confirmed to be effective in more than 90 clinical trials around the world and observed to be successful in approximately 80 percent of problem drinkers. It is considered standard treatment for alcohol dependence in several European countries.
It may take time for this approach to gain wider acceptance, since the concept goes against the total abstinence approach that most treatment centers and specialists endorse.