The Sinclair Method is a treatment protocol developed by Dr. John David Sinclair. It involves the use of the prescription drug naltrexone to reduce cravings for alcohol. It is somewhat controversial in that it calls for the use of naltrexone in combination with the patient’s normal drinking habits, that is, patients do not need to go through detox first, or abstain from drinking in the first phase of treatment. In fact, proponents of the Sinclair Method insist that naltrexone must be used in combination with drinking to be effective.
The process by which naltrexone is believed to work within the Sinclair Method is called pharmacological extinction. Naltrexone must be taken each and every time the patient consumes alcohol, approximately one hour before the alcohol is to be consumed. By having naltrexone active in the body at the time alcohol is consumed, endorphins normally released by drinking are blocked, and over time, drinking loses its appeal.
Because the use of naltrexone blocks the enjoyment one feels from drinking alcohol, drinking is gradually reduced over a period of a few months. Some people who have used the Sinclair Method are reportedly able to enjoy a drink or two socially without drinking to excess as a result of treatment. Others choose to abstain altogether, but arrive at abstinence without acute cravings.
Problems with the Sinclair Method have generally resulted from lack of compliance—that is, patients forget to take naltrexone before drinking, or choose not to. Relapse to old drinking habits is not immediate, but can be rapid when the medication is discontinued.
The methodology and mechanism behind the Sinclair Method is described in detail in a book called The Cure for Alcoholism by Dr. Roy Eskapa.
Note that the method practiced at the Contral Clinic is similar to and based upon the Sinclair Method, but includes counseling as an essential part of treatment.
American actress Claudia Christian has become an advocate for the Sinclair Method, and has created a foundation dedicated to promoting it, with a European offshoot, and a Facebook page maintained by the C3 Foundation.
People who wish to reduce or eliminate cravings for alcohol, and who are willing to take a prescription medication every time they drink alcohol in order to do so.
See your physician to discuss whether naltrexone is appropriate for your situation.
Claudia Christian offers suggested text for a letter to your physician requesting a Naltrexone prescription, if he or she is unfamiliar with the Sinclair Method.
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