I began clinically approaching alcohol addiction in a traditional sense. I preached full abstinence regardless of where a person was in their recovery. I told people that they would “never be able to drink again” and I pushed everyone towards Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, it was not successful, which is consistent with the lackluster efficacy of traditional alcohol treatment. I discovered The Sinclair Method during my practice, and the concept essentially was founded in a much more scientific approach than traditional treatment.
It is through the understanding of The Sinclair Method where I developed the concept of the “deprivation effect," which is really the cornerstone of why The Sinclair Method works so well. Traditionally, treatment was not successful and yet it is still the basis of treatment, which did not make sense to me as a psychiatrist who was striving to help my patients.
I noticed patients would not return, would relapse and, in general, not succeed. I did not necessarily think there was an easy answer, but I started to consider the science behind traditional treatment. What I found was there essentially was very little science at all. The 12-step program, for example, has an extremely limited amount of science or data behind why it is used as the primary means of treating addiction. It certainly has helped many people, however, in the field of medicine, we always look at the data behind any mode of treatment.
Frankly, the data did not support the use of 12-step systems as the main method of treatment in alcohol addiction. The medication options that existed to try to cut down cravings or deter drinking, but they were also largely ineffective based on the studies available. Therefore, I researched what other countries were doing to see if any other approaches existed. I found The Sinclair Method, founded in Finland, and realized it was an approach founded in both data and scientific theory. It made sense, it was consistent with how the brain operates and it did not antagonize the human psychological rules of how we make change. I started to utilize this approach in my practice and found the results were astonishingly successful. This was a drastic contrast to results from traditional treatment.
The Moderation Method was founded from both The Sinclair Method as well as my own treatment approach, which I have developed based on science in order to create the most successful means to helping people overcome problematic drinking.
- Dr. Michael Yasinski