To understand how Naltrexone is used in The Sinclair Method (TSM) for Alcohol Dependence, it is important to understand how the body’s opioid system works.
When people hear the word opiate, they usually think of heroin or prescription pain medications such as morphine, hydrocodone, codeine, or Vicodin. These drugs target the opioid system in our bodies, causing pain relief, euphoria, cough suppression, and constipation.
The wide-ranging effects occur because the opioid system is not limited to various parts of the brain, but is also found in the gastrointestinal tract and spinal cord.
In addition to the drugs that target our opioid receptors, we also have naturally occurring opioids in our bodies called Endorphins. Endo means “from within” and Orphin is a shortened form of morphine. The endorphins function in part as the body’s First Responder, because they are released in response to high levels of pain when when injure ourselves. If you were to fracture your arm, your brain would release endorphins to reduce your pain. The effect would be similar to ingesting a prescription opiate.
Endorphins are also released during or following aerobic exercise, laughter, gambling, and pleasurable activities in general. They are involved in reward and reinforcement of behaviors.