The Sinclair Method – An Effective Treatment for Alcoholism?

The Sinclair Method – An Effective Treatment for Alcoholism?

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder is a disease that affects over 100 million people globally. The drinker may suffer long-term or immediate consequences to their social life, health, and general well-being. 

Depending on the pattern of drinking and the amount consumed, hitting the bottle can cause alcohol dependence, drunkenness, depression, or even death. Moreover, liver disease and cancer are common chronic illnesses found in people who drink heavily for many years. 

It’s no wonder thousands of individuals search for ways to stop consuming this highly toxic substance.


stop drinking sinclair method 

Luckily, The Sinclair Method (TSM) has been a saving grace for alcoholics worldwide. You may be wondering, “What is The Sinclair Method and how can it help me give up the bottle for good?”


This article answers all those questions, provides support, and informs readers about one of the most effective treatments for alcoholism. By the end of this piece, the answer to the question, “What is The Sinclair Method ?” will be clear, so an intelligent decision can be made regarding treatment. 


What Is the Sinclair Method? 

Dr. John D. Sinclair developed The Sinclair Method (an evidence-based treatment) for alcohol use disorder and problematic drinking. What makes this treatment different is that individuals aren’t required to abstain from alcohol as mild drinking is part of the recovery process. 


The Sinclair Method works because of a prescription medication called Naltrexone. During the initial phases of treatment, patients are expected to continue alcohol consumption to increase their chances of success. 


As counter-intuitive as that sounds, there are scientifically-backed reasons behind it.


When alcohol is consumed the brain releases natural opiates (endorphins), which give drinkers the buzz they are after. Naltrexone, the core element of The Sinclair Method, helps to block these hormones from entering the brain when someone drinks liquor. 


Endorphin blockage means alcohol doesn’t inebriate the person the same way as if they weren’t taking Naltrexone. Without these pleasurable feelings, inordinate drinking is diminished in an individual who consumes alcohol in excess. 


Continued Naltrexone use has positive effects on the encephalon system and eliminates the pleasure received when a person drinks. Improved control over alcohol use, reduced liquor cravings, and better overall hormone management is making The Sinclair Method one of the preferred treatments for alcoholism.


Below are some of the benefits of utilizing Naltrexone to give up drinking booze:

  • Non-addictive or habit forming
  • Minimal side effects that are easy to manage
  • Approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 1994 for alcoholism
  • Most medical insurance plans cover the cost of Naltrexone treatment


Scanning through all The Sinclair Method reviews on the internet may be a little daunting, but this one was written to provide in-depth information. With the help of Naltrexone, The Sinclair Method has helped cure hundreds if not thousands of alcoholics in Canada and around the globe. 


How Does The Sinclair Method Work? 

“How does The Sinclair Method work?” is a question that is asked by many people. Three primary principles make up the basis of The Sinclair Method:


  1. Taking Naltrexone and drinking alcohol while on it: Abstaining from liquor during and before treatment may result in unsatisfactory consequences.
  2. Only taking the drug if you’ll be consuming alcohol: It’s important to take Naltrexone one hour before drinking as this gives the medicine time to block the brain’s endorphins. Drinking can continue normally after the drug has begun to take effect. 
  3. Continue treatment of Naltrexone even after addiction is curbed: There are no withdrawal symptoms if you decide to stop using Naltrexone and alcohol. Prominent research concludes that The Sinclair Method is safe and effective in helping people kick the habit. However, drinking again without the assistance of Naltrexone may result in relapses for some patients.


The aim of The Sinclair Method is to help people unlearn addictive behaviours by blocking the reward or reinforcement hormones received from drinking. Drinking excessively after taking Naltrexone may still result in an individual feeling the negative effects of being intoxicated – emotional instability, reduced motor function, and that terrible morning hangover. 


Many patients report that drinking on Naltrexone doesn’t satisfy them, making this form of treatment a choice for people who are serious about quitting alcohol. “How does The Sinclair Method work?” is one of the common queries received by treatment centres that use the drug to rehabilitate chronic drinkers. 


Understanding the addiction cycle and how Naltrexone works is key to producing fantastic results. Charting your journey is also a great way to how yourself accountable for the amount you drink in a day.


Pharmacological Extinction

When the partnership between an individual’s relationship with alcohol ends, it’s referred to as an “extinction’ within The Sinclair Method. Understanding how the reward system in the human brain works is key to ending addiction. 


The nervous system is a complex network that rewards the body every time it experiences something pleasurable. If drinking is repeated continuously, it becomes a hormonal pattern, making it challenging to put down the bottle. 


People continue to have strong cravings even after an extended physical detox because of this central nervous system process. The Sinclair Method works by reversing the learning process and giving the user’s brain a “fresh” start. 


A person’s cerebrum slowly forgets the association between alcohol and pleasure as they progress through the treatment. This helps the individual no longer seek alcohol for the reward it gives the brain.

How Long Must Patients Take Naltrexone?

Naltrexone affects various patients differently, and rightfully so. Each person’s biological structure and response to the drug need to be monitored for positive or adverse effects. Depending on the individual, The Sinclair Method can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to produce results.


During the initial phases of treatment, alcohol cravings in most users are reduced instantly after drinking liquor on Naltrexone. Other people take longer to adjust to the effects of The Sinclair Method due to numerous anatomical reasons.


How to Take Naltrexone During the Sinclair Method

Follow this basic guideline when taking Naltrexone to reduce alcohol cravings:

  • Only take one pill per day, an hour before drinking
  • Don’t take additional tablets
  • Follow a doctor or specialist’s instructions
  • Don’t skip a dose if drinking
  • Ask a doctor’s advice if planning to end treatment


Not following these simple instructions may produce unsatisfactory results or side effects. 


Keeping a Drinking Diary

Noting the units of alcohol consumed in each session is quintessential to managing a person’s liquor intake. Keeping a drinking diary can help patients monitor the amount of units they drink daily.

keep a drinking diary

Below are the amounts of units available in some of the most common alcoholic beverages:

  1. Big glass of rose, white, or red wine (250ml, alcohol by volume 12%) – 3 units
  2. Pint of higher strength cider, beer, or lager (750ml, alcohol by volume 5.2%) – 3 units
  3. Standard glass of rose, white, or red wine (175ml, alcohol by volume 12%) – 2.1 units
  4. Pint of lower-strength cider, beer, or lager (alcohol by volume 3.6%) – 2 units
  5. Can of cider, beer, or lager (400ml, alcohol by volume 5.5% – 2 units
  6. Bottle of cider, beer, or lager (330ml, alcohol by volume 5.5%) – 1.7 units
  7. Small glass of rose, white, or red wine (125ml, alcohol by volume 12%) – 1.5 units
  8. Alcopop (275ml, alcohol by volume 5.5%) – 1.5 units
  9. A single small shot of spirits (25ml, alcohol by volume 40%) – 1 unit


These nine examples are general guidelines and can be used if there’s no access to the package the drink came in. Utilize these figures to help monitor how much liquor is consume within a single day.  


Proof of the Effectiveness of The Sinclair Method 

Naltrexone is known as an opioid-antagonist medication that helps to limit alcohol-related cravings. The drug was first synthesized in 1963 by Endo Laboratories and was initially approved by the FDA for the treatment of oxycodone, morphine, and heroin addiction.


In spite of that, Naltrexone quickly became popular for alcohol, and later on, it was even tested on gambling addicts. There have been countless studies performed that have helped bring the effectiveness of Naltrexone to light.


Various therapeutic endpoints and some form of behavioural intervention in correlation with the medication is the most effective way of treating alcoholism with Naltrexone. 


Multiple randomized, controlled studies have determined the effectiveness of Naltrexone for the management of alcohol dependency. Some of the biggest trials performed were in the United States, with more tests reaching as far as Northern India. 


Significant research sponsored by the Department of Veteran Affairs invited retired soldiers to enroll in a Naltrexone trial. Over 600 veterans with long-term, chronic drinking problems signed up for the program. 


The study found that a 50 mg dose of Naltrexone daily over three and 12 months didn’t differ much from the placebo results. However, when amalgamated with behavioural interventions and pharmacotherapies, the drug should increase the ability to abstain from alcohol.

Behavioural Interventions 

It’s understandable that an alcoholic’s friends, family, or work colleagues may be worried about their drinking. These individuals typically seek the help of a professional interventionist to begin assisting the person suffering from alcoholism. Direct intervention is the name given to this type of involvement in a loved one’s addictive condition. 


In most cases, the patient is unable to negotiate the treatment because it is arranged for them beforehand. This intervention is great for people who are unwilling to get help or are scared of what the process may require. 


When an addict makes the decision to get sober and contact treatment services on their own, this is called indirect intervention. Moreover, addiction specialists and therapists will provide solid support to all people suffering from the person’s drug habits.


How Come The Sinclair Method Is Not More Popular?

Several European countries utilized The Sinclair Method in the fight against alcoholism. Although still relatively new in Canada and the United States, this form of treatment is quickly becoming popular among doctors around the country.


There are a plethora of factors that may limit the wider embrace of TSM in Canada. Reluctance among some to take medication for this issue, the stigma around alcoholism which hinders open discussions, and the widespread belief that abstinence is the only solution are some of the most common reasons The Sinclair Method is taking longer to be accepted in North America.


This is the primary reason Andy Bhatti offers to counsel users who are open to using Naltrexone for handling their addictions. We help to educate patients on the benefits and downfalls of the treatment process.  

Using Naltrexone for Alcohol

Opioid Antagonist Hypothesis

The evidence of clinical and preclinical research is relevant to each of the predictions shown in the table below. However, it’s possible that some or neither of the explanations are correct, so please take this information into consideration.


Moreover, if the attestation of one hypothesis is incorrect, do not assume that the opposing data is true. The fact that both sets of hypothesis are correct is a potential that could exists and must not be excluded either.


Direct Craving Reductions Reduces Craving After Extinction
Before the first drink, craving is reduced. Craving is not reduced before the initial drink.
Naltrexone delays the first drink. Naltrexone has no effect when drinking continues.
While drinking on Naltrexone, the amount of craving is not affected. While drinking on the antagonist, the craving decreases.
There is no specific way the craving decreases. The craving decrease following an extinction curve after taking Naltrexone.
Endorphin releasing stimuli is reduced by taking the antagonist.  Neutral and pleasant stimuli helps to reduce craving triggers after Naltrexone is taken.


What Are the Downsides of Using Naltrexone?

Understanding the pros and cons of Naltrexone is the first step to deciding if the treatment will work for you or not. Although The Sinclair Method is an excellent way to abstain from alcohol, it does come with some adverse effects. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sleep issues
  • Exhaustion
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting


If these symptoms appear, it’s recommended to stop taking Naltrexone and consult a doctor or addiction specialist. The medication or dosage may need to be changed to better suit the person’s biological structure.


Conclusion – Is The Sinclair Method an Effective Treatment for Alcoholism? 

Over the last two decades, there have been 29 published randomized placebo-controlled trials performed using Naltrexone. Most patients need to spend up to 12 weeks taking the medication, but there are cases of the drug responding to each individual differently. 


There is nothing worse than watching yourself from the outside while suffering from a horrible disease such as addiction. With the help of a professional counsellor and the correct medications, substance use disorders can be mitigated. 


Naltrexone can help remove the withdrawal period because drinking is encouraged at the start of treatment. Deciding to partake in behavioural therapy or visit a rehab centre are excellent additional steps to take in the recovery process. 


If you want to learn more about The Sinclair Method, Reddit and other similar sites are filled with a host of information on the topic. Clinical trials have shown promising results that not only give new hope for alcoholics but their families too.


The Sinclair Method review you’re reading was created to make it easy to learn more about Naltrexone and its positive effects on addiction.


Contact or visit one of the following centres for treatment options and addiction support:

  1. Andy Bhatti Intervention and Addiction Services – With decades of personal experience and expertise in addiction, Andy Bhatti is a leading figure in the field. Through Canadian and American studies, he has received intervention skills training for use in various situations, not only addiction. 
  2. Cedar at Cobble Hill – This addiction rehab facility specializes in providing programs and individualized care for people suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction.
  3. Canada Drug Rehab – Locate detox programs and drug rehabs throughout Canada with this useful addiction service directory.
  4. Sunshine Coast Health Centre – Since 1991, the Sunshine Coast Health Centre has been providing high-quality care. Besides 24-hour medical care, patients can find other services including, specialized bodywork, fitness and nutrition support, psychology, and psychiatry.
[templatera id="17199"]