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Will I Drink More Alcohol On Naltrexone Following The Sinclair Method?

Aug 25, 2023

 It’s a common question among those considering using naltrexone to cut back on their alcohol consumption: what if I end up drinking way more than I normally would in order to get that buzz that I crave? It’s a fair concern considering that naltrexone blocks some of the “feel-good” effects of alcohol, but does this really happen to those using the Sinclair Method with naltrexone? I’ll address this question by drawing from my personal experience taking naltrexone for a year, as well as the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with in the past five years, providing my insights on this popular treatment method.

What is The Sinclair Method?

Before diving into the specifics of this question though, here’s a quick overview of what The Sinclair Method (also known as pharmacological extinction) actually entails: it involves taking naltrexone as prescribed prior to drinking, in order to reduce the rewarding and “feel-good” effects of alcohol. It’s a long-term treatment protocol that allows one to remain in control when it comes to drinking, ideally, the goal being to bring about a change in habit and lifestyle that will allow one to drink and/or socialize without always going overboard.

My Personal Experience Taking Naltrexone

When I first started taking naltrexone, I was really excited to have found a way to control my drinking without having to quit alcohol completely, as I had tried abstaining numerous times before without success. As is the case with most people though, I quickly found out that this treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it typically takes time for the full effects to be experienced and sustained and requires more than just the medication. This is exactly why I now work with clients to help them make lifestyle, habit, and behavior changes in order to truly reap the rewards of naltrexone with The Sinclair Method.

Do People Drink “Through” Naltrexone?

Now back to the original question: do people end up drinking more than they normally would when they’re on naltrexone? Of all of the people that I have worked with over the years, this is quite rarely the case. What typically happens is that, over time, the naltrexone will give one an "off switch" when they drink. I like to explain it this way: imagine you sitting down at a restaurant and ordering a huge piece of chocolate cake. You devour the entire thing, but the thought of eating another one is not that appealing. The same goes for when taking naltrexone and drinking alcohol – one eventually feels satisfied, and the thought of having a third or fourth drink doesn’t sound all too gripping.

That said, people can still over drink while taking naltrexone and even experience drunkenness, as the intoxicating effects of alcohol are still present. This might be the result of trying to numb out and escape, or if they’re in a partying environment where they’re not paying much attention. All in all, establishing the change in habits and lifestyle is key if one wants to eliminate excessive drinking patterns, as they often take time to manifest.

How To Set Yourself Up For Success with Naltrexone

When it comes to naltrexone, it is crucial to set yourself up for success by going into the process with the right attitude. Reminding yourself that you are going on this medication treatment to cut back on your alcohol consumption, not just to drink as usual, is essential in order to make sure that you don’t fall back into old patterns. When planning to drink and take naltrexone, make sure to eat a full meal; this will help you pace your drinking as your stomach will be full and you won’t need another drink as soon. Staying hydrated is also a great idea, as drinking water between each alcoholic beverage can really help lower your overall consumption. Practicing some form of mindful drinking is also a great way to bring some awareness to your drinking experience. I always encourage my clients to notice their drinks and record how they feel when consuming them to become aware of their own patterns.

In conclusion, while it is theoretically possible that someone taking naltrexone with The Sinclair Method could drink more than they normally would in order to get that buzz, based on my personal experience and the many cases I have seen, this is actually quite rare and isn’t the norm. Above all, naltrexone and The Sinclair Method are both meant to help your brain unlearn excessive drinking and gain control over your alcohol consumption, and this process takes time, as do any changes in habits and lifestyle. Remember to be mindful, set yourself up for success, celebrate the small changes, and focus on the long-term rewards of successfully completing this treatment. Good luck!

Here is a video I have addressing this question as well 👇



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