Dr. Sinclair started his research in America during the 1960s. He established what he called the “alcohol deprivation effect” as a driving force in alcohol addiction. He later moved to Helsinki, Finland, to take his research forward using specially bred rats genetically predisposed to becoming alcoholic. The conclusion of Sinclair’s experiments? That alcoholism is a learned behavior. When a response or emotion has been “reinforced” with alcohol over a period of time it is learned. Some people (and some rats) have genetic traits that lead them to feel a lot of “reinforcement” from consuming alcohol, which eventually creates uncontrollable cravings.
Sinclair was influenced by the work of the Nobel Prize-winning Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, famous for making dogs salivate when a bell was sounded. Once conditioned, dogs rewarded with food after a bell had been rung would salivate at the sound of the bell itself. Over time, Pavlov would ring the bell, but he stopped rewarding the dogs with food; the salivating tapered off. This is called “extinction” and Sinclair thought the learned behavior of an addiction to alcohol could be removed by extinction, too.
Following his early research, Sinclair hypothesized that alcohol produces reinforcement in the brain in a way that’s similar to opiates. His 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. Sinclair tested his theory on rats using naltrexone, an opiate blocker, and after that he conducted clinical trials in people. The results were encouraging.
The solution discovered by Sinclair effectively means you have to drink yourself sober! This would surely be the perfect solution for many alcoholics. “Extinction” of the impulse to drink takes place over time and works for around 80% of people who use the method properly. It’s important to note that you take the pill an hour before drinking, not simply when you feel like it. Over time, the desire to consume alcohol will diminish and people end up abstaining most of the time or occasionally have a drink when they wish. You need to continue taking the medication before drinking, even when you feel things are under control.
The Sinclair Method (TSM) is a treatment for alcohol addiction that uses a technique called pharmacological extinction—the use of an opiate blocker to turn habit-forming behaviors into habit erasing behaviors. The effect returns a person’s craving for alcohol to its pre-addiction state.
In a few months, most people can cut down their alcohol consumption to safe levels and many stop drinking alcohol for good. It is important to comply with the instructions at all times.
Just take a tablet one to two hours before drinking before your first drink of the day for the rest of your life as long as you continue to drink. The tablets chemically disrupts the body’s behavior/reward cycle causing you to want to drink less instead of more.
If you stop taking the medication before drinking, you can undo the progress and go back to drinking how you did before the treatment.
The Sinclair Method has a 78% long-term success rate.
Studies have proven that TSM is equally effective with or without therapy, so patients can choose whether or not to combine TSM with therapy. The physical results will be the same. Extinction usually occurs within 3-4 months.
About one quarter of those on TSM become 100% abstinent. Those who continue to drink will have to take their medication prior to drinking for as long as they continue to drink.
Dr David Sinclair is responsible for the extensive research into treating addiction and alcoholism that resulted in The Sinclair Method. He sadly passed away in 2015.
Dr Roy Eskapa has worked alongside Dr David Sinclair and has produced “The Cure For Alcoholism” book which is the definitive guide to using The Sinclair Method.
Claudia Christian has made use of The Sinclair Method to sucessfully beat her own alcohol issues and has worked to help many others by setting up the cthreefoundation and producing the film “One Little Pill”
The film features contributions from Dr David Sinclair and other people invloved in the research as well as people who have benefited from using the method.
The Sinclair Method is simply taking an opioid antagonist before drinking. Naltrexone, Naloxone, and Nalmefene are not substitution drugs similar to Methadone for heroin addiction or Nicorettes™ for nicotine addiction. The opioid antagonists are not addictive, and they do not directly reduce craving for alcohol. And unlike disulfiram, the opioid antagonists do not produce an unpleasant aversive effect. Indeed, the opioid antagonists do not do anything until after endorphin has been released. Then the mechanism of extinction is triggered, and the extinction mechanism in turn progressively but permanently removes the neural cause for excessive drinking.
John David Sinclair, Ph.D., Researcher Emeritus
Legal Disclaimer Notice: The rules for obtaining opioid antagonist tablets such as Naltrexone vary in different parts of the world so always consult your Doctor. Some countries require a prescription while in others the medication can simply be purchased over the counter in a Pharmacy. There are often different terms used when this solution is used as treatment. For example although not generally referred to as the Sinclair Method, the method has now been approved for use with nalmefene (Selincro®) in all of the European Union member states. There are many different methods to help somebody stop abusing alcohol and your Doctor may advise you that an alternative method would be more suitable in your case.
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.