The History of The Sinclair Method

Sinclair Method: The History of How We Modernized Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol addiction in America has a long history as a huge burden on thousands of people. The Sinclair Method was originally developed by Dr. David Sinclair in America in the 1960’s.  It established “alcohol deprivation effect.” Dr. Sinclair then moved to Helsinki, Finland to continue research. Using specially bred rats predisposed to becoming alcoholic. He concluded that alcoholism is a learned behavior. When a response or emotion has been “reinforced” with alcohol over time, it is a Learned Behavior. Some people (and rats) have genetic traits that lead them to feel more “reinforcement” from consuming alcohol. Eventually these feelings of reinforcement cause uncontrollable cravings.

The Modern Cure for Alcohol Treatment: Dr. Sinclair Started it All

Dr. Sinclair was heavily influenced by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. He studied how Pavlov used bells to condition dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. This was done by rewarding the dogs with food after the bell sounded. Once conditioned, the dogs rewarded with food after the bell sounded, would salivate after just hearing the bell. However, the salivating tapered off when the food stopped. This was referred to as “extinction.” Sinclair believed the the learned behavior of addiction could be removed by way of extinction, too.
Sinclair hypothesized that alcohol produced reinforcement in the addiction center of the brain in a way that was similar to opiates. His research indicated that alcohol produced reinforcement by releasing endorphins that bind with opioid receptors.


Sinclair’s solution to stopping the reinforcement cycle was to block the receptors every time alcohol is used. He began testing opioid antagonists, Naltrexone & Nalmefene, on rats, and then started clinical trials.  Extinction of the impulse to drink takes place over time and has over an 80% success rate for people who use the method properly. It is imperative that those who are on their way to moderating their alcohol usage continue to take their medicine, even if it’s thought that it is not needed anymore. Dr. Sinclair ultimately concluded that in order for this method to work, you need to drink yourself sober, the perfect solution for people who have difficulty staying away from alcohol yet need to change their drinking patterns.

Sinclair Method Success : 5 Steps to Curing Your Drinking

Dr. Sinclair composed five steps to guide you through the de-addiction process and success with The Sinclair Method. First, you must understand and think about addiction in an entirely new way. You must stop thinking of addiction as an incurable, unfixable disease and begin thinking of it as a behavior that can be controlled and moderated like any other behavior. Then, check the severity of your problem with addiction and find out how you can get help. The Moderation Institute in Scottsdale is a premier office offering The Sinclair Method ready to be customized just for you. You won’t need to take any time off work and it is extremely affordable. Work with your doctor to obtain a prescription for naltrexone or Nalmefene. After three to four months - in some cases six months - you will be cured.

Michael Yasinski MD