The Sinclair Method: Does Naltrexone Help With Alcoholism

Alcohol consumption has been on the rise in the United States. In fact, a study released by RAND Corporation and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism details that American adults were drinking on more days per month in 2020 as compared to previous years. Now, couple this with the fact 12.7% of the U.S. population meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, and it’s not hard to see that the country faces quite the problem when it comes to alcohol addiction.

This is why millions of people are constantly exploring methods that will help them address this disorder. These methods range from traditional rehab to more unconventional methods, such as art therapy. One effective form of treatment that’s being used for alcoholism is The Sinclair Method. Considering how valid of an option this form of treatment is, it’s rather surprising how little people know about it. 

To remedy this, we’ve put together a breakdown of everything you need to know about The Sinclair Method. Hopefully, this will shed some light on this form of treatment and open up new doors for those currently on their path to recovery.

What Is The Sinclair Method?

The Sinclair Method (TSM) can be traced back to the 1970s when Finland’s National Public Health Institute developed a breed of rats that were more prone to alcoholism. Tests made on these rats managed to uncover a vital piece of information about alcoholism. What they discovered was that alcoholism wasn’t just about consuming the substance but can also be heavily linked to the sensory stimulus that the substance provides. 

Dr. John David Sinclair used this discovery to create a treatment that was designed to help humans overcome alcoholism. The entire idea behind TSM is to take a drug (Naltrexone) that prevents the sensory stimulus before consuming alcohol to break free from the addiction. However, the use of Naltrexone when it comes to treating addiction isn’t new, as research has revealed that it can significantly reduce heavy drinking and address cravings in people who are afflicted with alcohol use disorder. But what is different with TSM is how it utilizes the medication. 

Now, what you have to understand regarding this method is that the person undergoing it will also need to consume the alcohol in the same environment wherein they developed their addiction. This means that people using TSM have to do it in a bar or with their friends. It’s not enough to just take Naltrexone before drinking alcohol, as it’s important to associate the entire experience with taking the medication.

What Is Naltrexone?

Considering how important this piece of medication is to TSM, it warrants further examination. To put it simply, Naltrexone is a medication that is a non-addictive opioid blocker that’s usually taken in tablet form to that blocks the effects of drugs and other substances. While originally created to treat opioid addiction, it’s been discovered to have endorphin blocking effects on the body when you drink. In a way, it functions similar to Graphene because it helps with addiction recovery by helping individuals break the link between a substance and the positive feelings they derived from taking that substance. Now, it’s important to note that it only blocks the “high” and not the feeling of intoxication. This is especially true in the case of alcohol. 

This medication also doesn’t prevent withdrawal symptoms. Physical withdrawal has to be addressed through other means, which is why most of the usage of this medication occurs after a person is no longer physically dependent on a substance.

How Does the Sinclair Method Combat Addiction?

Now that we understand how the medication works, it’s time to take a look and understand how TSM combats addiction. To answer this question, we have to look at the root of alcohol addiction. Contrary to popular belief, addiction isn’t all about being physically dependent on a substance. The way alcohol use disorder works is simple: your brain releases endorphins when you drink, and you get hooked on that feeling.

The way that TSM works is that it aims to break the connection between pleasure and drinking alcohol, which is why it calls for the use of Naltrexone alongside your drinking. Now, keep in mind that this won’t work immediately. The effectiveness of this method will vary depending on the amount and frequency that a person consumes alcohol. As such, it’s safe to expect gradual improvements, rather than an immediate solution and alleviation of the addiction. 

How Long Will the Sinclair Method Take?

Jumping off from that last point, it’s important to discuss how long TSM will take when it comes to addressing the issue of alcohol use disorder. In general, the method takes anywhere from a few months to a year. Some cases can even take upwards of one year, as different people respond to TSM differently.

will the sinclair method work
Does the Sinclair Method Work

While this may sound worrisome, it’s also important to mention that there are cases where people who make use of TSM feel an immediate reduction in their craving for alcohol. With that being said, it would be safe to manage your expectations as the effectiveness of this method will vary significantly.

Should You Try the Sinclair Method?

If you’re currently battling alcoholism, then you may be considering TSM. But before trying TSM, keep in mind that it will work for you if most (if not all) of these statements are applicable to you:

  • You are trying to regain control of your alcohol consumption.
  • You find it hard to manage your cravings.
  • You want to start drinking less.
  • You have a healthy liver.

On the other hand, TSM will not be the best option if these statements apply to you:

  • You are looking to quit alcohol cold turkey.
  • You are trying to look for a fast-acting solution for your addiction.
  • You are taking opioid-based medication that could interfere with Naltrexone.
  • You are the type of person who is unmotivated when it comes to taking medication.
  • You experience mild to severe side effects when taking Naltrexone.

Be sure to consider these details before trying out TSM. Likewise, it will also be best to consult with a health professional to see whether or not this type of treatment is suitable for you.

Tips for Trying the Sinclair Method

If you do end up trying TSM, then it’s important that you are prepared for what’s to follow. To help you out, here are some tips that should help when it comes to the method in question.

You’ll need to be disciplined and consistent with how you take the medication. This is because failing to do so, even once, can lead to it being significantly less effective when it comes to breaking your habit of addiction. 

Another important point to remember is that you’ll have to consume alcohol as you normally would. This is the key as you’ll want to focus on breaking your habit, which won’t be possible if you hold back. To add to this, you should also be tracking your alcohol consumption. This will help you monitor your progress and help you make any adjustments if need be.

Lastly, you may want to consider counseling or coaching to go alongside TSM, as it can make the treatment more effective. This is mainly because a counselor or a coach can help you deal with the psychological aspect of managing your addiction!


Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder is a serious issue that affects millions of people across the country. Indeed, the journey to recovery may seem too difficult to overcome at times, but it’s important that you stay on track. Hopefully, this article has provided you with another option when it comes to treatment. Indeed, TSM can be a game-changer when used properly!