Radical Thinking, Grounded In Science

With traditional alcohol treatment, you abstain from alcohol with the help of withdrawal medication. The aim is to starve your body and brain of alcohol, which will hopefully reduce and eliminate your dependence on alcohol in time. 

The Sinclair Method takes a completely different approach.

With TCM, you continue drinking but take an opiate blocker to reduce and eventually eliminate your craving for alcohol. This means you continue drinking while on medication – the complete opposite of a traditional treatment approach.

The cure is based on radical scientific thinking that you are not addicted to alcohol, but rather the pleasure that drinking alcohol brings.

TCM reteaches the brain not to associate alcohol with pleasure, by blocking the endorphins that signal a pleasurable response in your brain when you drink.

By drinking alcohol while taking an opiate blocker (Naltrexone or Nalmefene), you disrupt your body’s behaviour/reward cycle. This makes you want to drink less instead of more, and in time, it will hopefully make you not want to drink at all.

When most of us think of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, we look upon the problem (alcohol) as the enemy (which it is). However, what if we could use alcohol to our advantage, and consume it in such a way that we also teach our brain that it doesn’t want it at all? That’s what The Sinclair Method does.

TCM utilises a therapy known as “pharmacological extinction” to transform habit-forming behaviour (drinking) into habit-erasing behaviour. The aim is to make the behaviour of seeking pleasure from drinking extinct. By taking away the reward from drinking, your brain and body will want to drink less, and in time, not at all.

No Abstinence Allowed

Unlike other alcohol treatments, abstinence is not allowed with TCM.

This can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around when you have probably been told that you must stop drinking to beat alcoholism. This is only true of certain treatments – not TCM. TCM works in a completely different way.

With TCM, you must continue drinking as you would normally to reinforce your habit-forming behaviour, so that the Naltrexone or Nalmefene tablets you take (the opiate blockers) can get to work at nullifying the pleasure response in your brain when you drink.

With TCM, you continue drinking as you would normally, and over time, thanks to the opiate blockers you take, you want to drink less.

Opiate blockers work by causing disruption to your body’s behaviour/reward cycle, which will be in overdrive whenever you drink.

In other words, you will not get an endorphin release when you drink if you are on opiate blockers. But, by continuing to drink, and continuing your behaviour, your brain will begin to change the way it thinks about alcohol.

This change is the extinction of the need to drink to achieve pleasure. It’s important to consider that your habit-forming behaviour (drinking) gives your brain a reward. So, what if we take away the brain’s desire for reward in the first place?

This is what being abstinent means – having no desire to drink for reward or pleasure.

The cure, then, requires NO ABSTINENCE whatsoever. However, you will naturally start to drink less and less as a result of your decreased need for alcohol.  

Because no abstinence is allowed, The Sinclair Method really is as far away from traditional alcohol treatment as it gets. It goes against the well-held belief that to kick a habit you have to stop the habit. Instead, it ‘rolls’ with the habit.

Undoing The Myths of Addiction

By now, you know that addiction treatment is not a catch-all term that requires you to immediately stop your habit to beat it.

TCM offers another approach entirely, asking you to carry on drinking so habit-forming behaviours become habit-erasing behaviours.

The problem is this – many people are told the same things about addiction and about themselves when they seek help. There are a lot of generalisations that get made and there are a lot of myths surrounding addiction and treatment.

These include:

  • You are born an alcoholic
  • Alcoholism will kill you
  • Excessive drinking is all your fault
  • You never heal from alcoholism
  • Once you’re an alcoholic, you’re always an alcoholic
  • You must abstain from alcohol to beat your addiction
  • You must undergo a medicated detox 
  • You need therapy to resolve your habits and triggers
  • You need to enter a rehab clinic to get the care you need
  • Trying to control or manage your drinking is impossible
  • The way to beat addiction is with the 12 steps
  • If you want to beat your addiction, you can never drink again!

Ultimately, some of these are generalisations, and some of them are only relevant if the advice comes from a clinical psychologist who treats addiction.

Taken on their own, these points also only make sense without knowing about The Sinclair Method, which offers a new, proven way to treat alcohol use disorder.

The Sinclair Method could be the cure you need to beat your alcohol habit. It has worked for hundreds of people, and it could work for you too. We invite you to call our experts on 0333 444 0315 for free, personalised advice. We offer fast assessments and you can start your treatment in under 48 hours.

Before the discovery of The Sinclair Method, alcohol treatment followed a pattern that looked a little bit like this:

  • Detox
  • Therapy
  • Counselling
  • Ongoing help and support (perhaps from an addiction support group)

You might already be familiar with this treatment pattern – it basically asks you to abstain from alcohol so your body can reset itself. It also requires you to undergo therapy (usually behavioural therapy) to resolve your habits and triggers.

This methodology works for some, but it is by no means a blanket success.

The Sinclair Method offers an alternative treatment platform for people who want to get their drinking under control without abstinence.

In many cases, it can also be a more effective option as well.

Who Should Take Part in TCM?

So, who is The Sinclair Method for?

The first thing you need to know is The Sinclair Method is an outpatient alcohol treatment – which means you do not need to enter a clinic.

You will take your opiate blocker (Naltrexone or Nalmefene) before your first drink of the day. The aim is to abolish your craving for alcohol, by reteaching the brain not to associate alcohol with pleasure. This happens over several months.

TCM can be suitable for anyone who has been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism. It can work for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The only generalised limitation would be if the person is at a high risk of self-harm or has otherwise been deemed by a medical expert to be unfit to perform an outpatient treatment programme. Further limitations can be found below (under Who Should Not Begin TCM?).

TCM is particularly helpful for people who have a problem with drinking and mild addictions that haven’t yet spiralled out of control. However, it can be equally helpful for people with chronic addiction.

If you have already tried conventional forms of alcohol treatment and they haven’t worked (we’re talking about detoxing and abstinence), The Sinclair Method offers you a new way to overcome your addiction. It’s definitely worth a try.

Who Should Not Begin TCM?

The Sinclair Method is not suitable for:

  • Pregnant women – pregnant women should not be consuming alcohol, which is necessary for TCM to work.
  • If you are addicted to opiates – if you are addicted to opiates like heroin or morphine, the drugs Naltrexone or Nalmefene could cause a withdrawal reaction or a fatal opiate withdrawal reaction. To be clear – you SHOULD NOT take Naltrexone or Nalmefene if you are dependent on opiates.
  • Those who are already abstinent – if you are abstinent already, there is no valid reason to start TCM, unless you are relapsing, in which case TCM could help you get your addiction back under control.
  • If you have been deemed to be at a high risk of self-harm – if you have been assessed by a doctor to be at a high risk of self-harm, it is likely you will need to be treated at a clinic. The Sinclair Method is an outpatient treatment method.

It’s also important to remember that TCM is not for everyone – you may very well benefit from a conventional treatment programme.

What we can say is that TCM has helped many people take control of their habit and addiction, and it could help you do the same. So, it’s well worth getting in touch with us to discuss the opportunity with our experts. Call us on 0333 444 0315.

How TCM Helps You Take Control

Research tells us that we can lose control over drinking for two major reasons:

  1. Because we inherited a genetic predisposition to drink. We know from scientific studies that a predisposition toward alcohol abuse and addiction can be passed from parents to children. Those who have parents who are alcoholics are more likely to be alcoholics in the future.
  2. Because drinking releases pleasure endorphins into the brain. When the brain is exposed to these endorphins over an extended period of time, it starts craving them, because the addictive neural pathways are switched on. The issue with this is the more you drink, the more your brain craves the endorphins. It’s a vicious cycle that anyone can fall victim to. No one is immune to addiction.

In alcoholics, the Alcohol Deprivation Effect in the brain is set to ‘always on’ even in those who have achieved abstinence for several years.

As the previously linked study says, “Adaptation to chronic alcohol exposure has been associated with behavioural effects, such as changes in reinforcement, enhanced anxiety, and increased sensitivity to stress, all of which may contribute to relapse to drinking in abstinent alcoholics.”

This is the downside of normal alcohol treatment – it does not eradicate the deprivation effect brought about by taking away the pleasure of drinking.

TCM is different because it removes the addictive neural pathways from your brain. This helps you take control of your addiction. All you have to do is ‘pop’ your opiate blocker and drink as normal. Over time, control over your drinking will come.

TCM Also Prevents Alcoholism

TCM has been shown to be a particularly effective treatment for preventing alcoholism. When introduced to someone with alcohol use disorder, TCM can nip the problem in the bud before it develops into anything worse.

Thanks to scientific studies on animals, we know that if rats are given Naltrexone before gaining access to alcohol, they never develop alcoholism, even when they have free access to alcohol and consume it in great quantities.

What this means is simple; if you find that you drink too often, such as whenever the opportunity arises, at the airport, when waiting for friends, etc. you can take Naltrexone or Nalmefene before you drink, and halt the development of addictive behaviour in its tracks (as we have discussed, this happens by blocking endorphin release).

If you are at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol because you drink too much, there’s a strong possibility you already have a mild habit. If you feel an ‘urge’ to drink or have a need for the effects of alcohol, then you definitely have a habit.

However, this is not necessarily ‘alcoholism’. It may be the mildest of habits. In this case, all you might need is a nudge in the right direction before it becomes anything serious. This can be provided by The Sinclair Method.

You Don’t Have To Be An Alcoholic To Benefit from TCM

The great thing about The Sinclair Method is it is equally useful for people with a mild drinking problem as it is for those with an intense addiction.

If you tend to drink too much or you drink to ease depression or anxiety, and you don’t yet have an addiction, TCM can help to stop your behaviour before it develops.

For those who are not alcoholics, The Sinclair Method can be used to drink safely and in moderation. With TCM, you continue drinking as you would normally, and over time, thanks to the opiate blockers you take, you want to drink less.

If you are not an alcoholic but you drink excessively, TCM could help you take control of your problem before it spirals out of control. We invite you to call our experts on 0333 444 0315 for free, personalised advice.

Addressing the Controversy Surrounding The Sinclair Method

It really is no surprise that The Sinclair Method whips up controversy whenever it is mentioned by people who study and work with addiction.

After all, we are programmed to believe that to beat alcohol addiction, we have to stop drinking altogether. TCM flips this around and asks you to continue drinking so that you can rewire your brain and reteach it not to associate alcohol with pleasure.

TCM won’t make sense to everyone and that’s fine – all you need to know is how the cure works. We covered this above, so here’s a recap:

With TCM, you continue drinking but take an opiate blocker to reduce and eventually eliminate your craving for alcohol.

By drinking alcohol while taking an opiate blocker (Naltrexone or Nalmefene), you disrupt your brain’s behaviour/reward cycle.

Your brain’s behaviour/reward cycle is the key thing that makes you drink. It makes you want to drink for pleasure, with that pleasure created by a chemical reaction in your brain that releases endorphins. Endorphins are “happy hormones”.

The Sinclair Method suppresses the release of these endorphins, so your body gets absolutely no pleasure from drinking.

This makes you want to drink less, and eventually, not want to drink at all. The methodology is tried, tested and proven to work in many cases.

TCM is controversial because some people tend to lack a basic understanding of how it works and what it does. When medical experts study addiction, they get wired to believe that treatment methods have to help people cope with their addiction. This works on the assumption that addictive behaviour is incurable.

The radical thinking behind The Sinclair Method is not radical at all – it’s simply a form of “pharmacological extinction”, which involves un-learning the brain’s associated dependence with alcohol to reduce and eliminate the urge to drink.

Don’t Blame Yourself For Compulsive Drinking!

One of the sad realities of compulsive drinking (other than the excessive drinking itself) is being told that it’s all your fault.

This is simply not true.

People drink compulsively for all kinds of reasons. Some people drink compulsively because the loss of a loved one is too painful. Some might drink because they are in physical pain and find no relief from pain relief medication. Some people drink after forming a habit out of drinking as a teenager with friends in the park.

Some people are born with a genetic predisposition to drink. For example, those who have parents who are alcoholics are more likely to be alcoholics in the future.

The blame of compulsive drinking is not yours to bear. However, the consequences of compulsive drinking are undoubtedly yours to resolve.

The Sinclair Method is unique because it asks you to carry on consuming alcohol during treatment. Each time you drink while on Naltrexone or Nalmefene, the endorphins that would normally give you pleasure are blocked. Over time, you will start to drink less because your brain will not crave the endorphin release.

Your Opioidergic System

Certain neurons in the brain release substances (opiates) that give you pleasure.

Some of these opiates can also be useful. For example, morphine is a natural opiate that is incredibly effective as a painkiller.

Neurons do this by releasing an epidemic agent, a chemical that modulates the opioid neuropeptide systems in your brain.

One of these systems releases endorphins when you drink alcohol. In the case of problem drinking and addiction, pleasure endorphins get released that tell your brain drinking is good. Over time, your brain starts craving these substances to the point where you start drinking excessively to satisfy yourself.

This can be simply defined as pleasure-fuelled behaviour.

Clinical studies have discovered that each time you reinforce your behaviour by drinking, the endorphins that get released make the pathway stronger. This means that you need to drink more to get the same effect. As you will already know, as soon as this effect starts to take place, control over drinking becomes difficult.   

Reward processing by the opioid system in the brain has been studied quite extensively in recent years. We know that alcohol rewards negative behaviour by releasing pleasure hormones that make us want to drink more.

As this study confirms, “the brain’s reward pathways are rarely under voluntary control. For once the brain senses a certain activity giving it pleasure; it will rewire the brain chemistry in a way which makes the person want to have more of that activity.”

What Happens When You Drink On Naltrexone Or Nalmefene?

Naltrexone and Nalmefene are both opiate antagonists. This means they block the effects of opiates. In this case, they block the effects of the endorphins diffusing around the brain and stamp out the pleasure you get from drinking.

So, how will you feel after taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene?

When you drink on Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you still get drunk – however, the pleasure from being drunk does not exist in the same form. You may feel some pleasure, but it will be significantly reduced and will continue to reduce over time.  

You will also not experience any withdrawal symptoms like you would with a detox. Your brain and body will be satisfied from consuming alcohol. This effect stays the same. It’s only your cravings and pleasure that get suppressed.

Naltrexone or Nalmefene block the endorphins that give you pleasure when you drink, and in doing so, they stop the activation of billions of opioid receptors that strengthen your brain’s dependency on alcohol. Simply put, by taking an opiate blocker with TCM, you take away the addictive element of the alcohol on your body.

In addition, because they stop the activation of billions of opioid receptors that strengthen your brain’s dependency on alcohol, the opioid receptors that already exist start to die. This rewires the brain and is key to the success of TCM.

And so, the cure to your drinking problem may not be a detox and abstinence – it may be continued drinking + taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene. The Sinclair Method is the treatment best known for this, and it has a very high success rate.

In part 2 of our guide, we will cover in detail how you can assess if The Sinclair Method is right for you and who it can help.

To find out more about The Sinclair Method, call our experts on 0333 444 0315 for free, personalised advice. We specialise in TCM and can help you get started quickly, with rapid enrolment where you can start treatment within 48-hours of assessment.

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