The Sinclair Method (TSM)
The Sinclair Method (TSM) is a treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder that uses a technique called pharmacological extinction—the use of an medication to turn habit-forming behaviors into habit-erasing behaviors. The effect is that your brain does not respond the same way to alcohol as it did as you developed your drinking history. It removes the reward that your brain seeks, and is the reason that people continue to drink despite negative consequences. When the reward is removed, your brain sees alcohol as just another thing that you are drinking.
TSM consists of taking naltrexone one hour before your first drink of the day for the rest of your life as long as you continue to drink. If you choose not to have a drink, then you do not need to take the medicine, but if you have a drink you must take naltrexone first. Naltrexone chemically disrupts the body’s behavior/reward cycle causing you to want to drink less instead of more.
TSM is effective with or without supportive therapy (counseling, groups etc.) Of course when a person stops drinking, issues may arise that have been covered by using alcohol as a method to cope or numb yourself to emotional/physical pain. It is always wise to deal with issues that arise, not only to assist with long term adherence to TSM, but to help you to move on from a life impacted by alcohol
Watch the video below where Claudia Christian, successful
actor and TSM advocate, discusses the treatment and her
victory over AUD.
“I thought that I could just stop drinking, but
when I tried to stop it became all I thought
about. This (TSM) is a game changer….I wish
I would have started this years ago.
It feels like I have a new brain…”EJ
The result of this treatment, in 78% of
people, is a resolution of Alcohol Use
Research shows that 25% of people receiving
TSM choose to become completely, and
indefinitely, abstinent from alcohol use.
Why doesn’t everyone just follow the 12-step model?
As mentioned, in 12-steps are working for you, please continue your success. My goal is to help people find relief from
AUD, and as the saying goes, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. Abstinence does not work because the alcohol-dependent
brain will not rest until it has a drink. This is the reason members of AA have to go to meetings the rest of their lives. Even
though they haven’t had a drink in ten years, the brain that became addicted to alcohol remains addicted to alcohol. This
is why AA is correct when they state that even if you haven’t had a drink for 20 years, if you slip, you begin drinking right
where you left off. It reveals to us that abstinence does not change the fundamental neurobiology of addiction, no matter
how long you’ve gone without a drink.
In order to fix the problem, you have to actively teach your brain that alcohol use does not result in
Time alone does not change the addicted brain.
This un-learning or pharmacological extinction occurs every time you drink with naltrexone, because your brain gradually
no longer associates alcohol with pleasure. Eventually, your brain will lose interest in alcohol, and you will find that you
can take it or leave it. Abstinence does not teach your brain this lesson, because as far as your brain is concerned, the last
time you drank alcohol, it received its fix of endorphins.
This is true even if you haven’t had a drink in over a decade.
We have at our disposal a treatment which has been demonstrated to be safe and effective.
It should be used now.
-Dr. John D. Sinclair