The Sinclair Method retrains your brain so that alcohol no longer activates the pleasure centers. This innovative treatment was developed by Dr. Sinclair who was seeking a way for problem drinkers to participate in social activities without risking addiction and drinking too much. Abstinence simply does not work for the majority of people who admit they are alcoholics. The urge to drink remains no matter how long one abstains. This is why people who are trying to abstain from alcohol through Alcoholics Anonymous must go to meetings, sometimes for decades, for group support in their commitment to abstain.
Alcoholics Anonymous, considered the addiction program that offers the greatest hope, and similar 12-Step programs have a success rate of about 10 percent according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. It takes a serious commitment and a great amount of determination and work to overcome addiction. The brain continues to crave alcohol’s pleasurable feelings decades after the last drink. Relapses are the norm.
The Sinclair Method attacks the problem of addiction from a new perspective. It works on the places in the brain that crave pleasure through alcohol. A drug called naltrexone trains your brain to stop associating alcohol with pleasure. Eventually, your brain loses interest in alcohol. No matter how long you have been drinking and in what quantities, after time you will be able to take a drink — or leave it on the table. The craving is gone.
You can make decisions based on your social situation and how much would be too much. You will no longer need alcohol. You will no longer organize your life around needing a drink — or needing to avoid people who are drinking.
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA for Alcohol Dependence in 1994 and does not cause dependency. Ninety clinical trials around the world prove an 80 percent success rate for people who admit to alcohol dependency. In fact, it is the standard treatment for alcohol dependence in Finland and several other European countries.
The drug has been slow to be respected in the U.S. because instructions said a daily dose was therapeutic. In fact, the drug works only when it is in the system when a person takes a drink. Thus, the Sinclair Method instructs patients to take the drug about an hour before taking a drink. Most report that with the drug active in their systems, they can have a beer, or a few sips, and walk away from the keg simply because they do not crave another drink.
After decades of abstinence programs, orders, shaming, and instructions, it is taking the U.S. medical profession and the general public some time to get used to the idea that a person addicted to alcohol can have a drink. Then, after taking the drug be in full control of his decisions about what and how much to drink — or simply walk away without suffering cravings.
Actress Claudia Christian gave a TED Talk on the Sinclair Method. She wonders, “Why do so many people believe that a long-term battle with alcohol addiction can be simply stopped in 30 days or less with nothing but talk therapy and willpower?” Over a decade, she tried every therapy available from expensive rehab facilities to wheatgrass to Tai Chi. Every “cure” was followed by a failure. The Sinclair Method works for her, and she is promoting it enthusiastically.
The Sinclair Method requires a 30-minute initial appointment to assess a patient’s physical status and explain how the medication works and how to use it. Follow up appointments, after two to four weeks of treatment, last about 15 minutes. These appointments are geared to answering questions and assessing how the program is working for the individual.
Costs vary according to state, but you can expect to pay an average of $225 for the initial evaluation and $125 for follow up appointments. The Sinclair Method is considered “out of network” for most insurance companies so you will be given the appropriate paperwork to turn into your insurance company.