Claudia Christian is a recovered alcoholic who was able to battle her addiction with the help of a new treatment known as the Sinclair Method. Her memoir, "Babylon Confidential" documents her long fight against alcoholism and how this treatment saved her life.
Christian has also released a documentary called "One Little Pill" that describes the Sinclair Method and advocates for more people to begin using this alternative to traditional types of alcohol treatment. The documentary features Dr. David Sinclair, the creator of the Sinclair Method who explains the extensive research into alcoholism and treatment that allowed him to discover medicinal treatments for alcohol addiction.
Naltrexone and Reducing Alcohol Abuse
The Sinclair Method involves the use of Naltrexone, an opiate antagonist that has been proven to have a 78% success rate in curing alcoholism with only mild side effects. What is unusual about this type of treatment is that the drugs are taken while patients continue to drink.
Dr. Sinclair tested the method and found it more effective while subjects consumed alcohol rather than remaining abstinent. The treatment has proven so effective in many cases that the country of Finland has adopted the Sinclair Method as a standard treatment protocol for alcohol dependence.
Naltrexone works because it is an opiate antagonist meaning it can block the opioid receptors in your brain that allow you to feel pleasure when you use alcohol or narcotics. By preventing the user from experiencing the effects of alcohol it works to reduce their cravings and makes it much easier to quit.
Naltrexone does not make you sick while you drink like other drugs used to treat addiction and has very mild side effects. It can cause users to feel dizziness, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety but many of these effects can be managed by the patient.
Effectiveness of the Sinclair Method
While most alcohol addiction treatment methods involve the patient practicing abstinence in order to recover, the Sinclair method is one of the only treatment options that allow patients to continue to drink. Even other medicinal treatments such as Antabuse and Temposil promote abstinence among patients with alcohol addictions.
When using Naltrexone, patients take one pill an hour before drinking but not on any other occasions. Patients may continue to drink for a period of time but a regular dose of Naltrexone will reduce the positive feelings and reward of consuming alcohol, and therefore will reduce any desire to drink over time.
After a few months most users begin to drink alcohol less frequently and in smaller quantities. In 3 to 4 months, users of the drug are no longer addicted but often remain social drinkers while some people are able to give up alcohol altogether. For those that continue to drink, however, they may have to continue using the drug for the rest of their lives.
Because the Sinclair Method does not treat alcoholics using abstinence, the use of Naltrexone may be more effective in conjunction with other treatment methods that help to address the psychological issues involved with addiction. For patients that want to eventually quit using the medication and quit drinking completely, some psychosocial treatment may be beneficial in supplementing the Sinclair Method.
The concept of treating alcoholism with only pharmaceutical drugs while continuing to drink may be controversial but studies have shown the method to be effective in the majority of patients taking Naltrexone for their addiction. Claudia Christian's documentary about the Sinclair Method was created in order to raise awareness about this new treatment that could save lives and reduce cases of alcoholism across the U.S.