The Sinclair Method (TSM)
Have you ever wanted to drink less alcohol? Have you ever thought you might need to cut back or quit? Have you ever woken up in the morning and hoped you didn’t say or do something rude or embarrassing because you had one too many? You’re not alone. The CDC reports “One in six US adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about seven drinks per binge. This results in 17 billion total binge drinks consumed by adults annually.”[i] The CDC even states that most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent.
The high-cost of alcohol abuse can lead to job loss, legal problems, family conflict, and adverse health outcomes. Luckily, Dr. David Sinclair developed a remarkable program to curb alcoholism termed The Sinclair Method (TSM). TSM is paradoxical to the many rehab programs available in which they require total abstinence. TSM uses “chemical extinction” to change the drinking habits of an Alcoholic or Problem Drinker. Using Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist best known for use in opioid overdoses, Dr. Sinclair devised a program to cure alcohol abuse with an unheard of 87% success rate.[ii]
Using the Pavlovian model of conditioning, Dr. Sinclair surmised that, like Pavlov’s dogs who stopped salivating after the bell was rung but no food was given, a process known as “extinction”, alcoholics could also unlearn the learned behavior of addiction to alcohol. Dr. Sinclair’s research “indicated that alcohol produced reinforcement by releasing endorphins that bind with opioid receptors in the brain. So, a solution to stopping the reinforcement cycle might be to block the receptors every time alcohol was used.”[iii]
TSM involves having the patient take 1 tablet 1-2 hours before drinking. The pills chemically disrupt the body’s behavior/reward cycle causing you to want to drink less instead of more. The opiate receptor blocking effect thus turns the habit-forming behaviors into habit-erasing behaviors. One caveat is that medicine must be taken EVERY time you drink alcohol. In a few months, most people can cut down alcohol consumption to safe levels and many stop drinking entirely.
TSM has been scientifically validated by multiple studies and a review of 29 published studies showed “The majority of double-blind clinical trials in the literature favored prescribing naltrexone for alcohol dependence to reduce heavy drinking.” [iv]
TSM is proven equally effective with or without therapy, and patients can choose whether or not to combine TSM with therapy. TSM has been shown so successful that it is now available on the National Health Service in the UK and many other European countries.[v]
For further information and resources, the American actress Claudia Christian has made a film called One Little Pill, filmed a powerful Ted Talk on the subject, and started The C3 foundation.[vi]
If you are interested in using TSM for yourself or someone you love, please contact me at The Gerber Medical Clinic for an appointment. We would be honored to help you regain control of your life.
[iv] The status of naltrexone in the treatment of alcohol dependence: specific effects on heavy drinking., J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006 Dec;26(6):610-25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17110818