The Cure For Alcoholism?
Can alcoholism be cured? For many decades, the thinking has been that alcoholism is a chronic and incurable disease. Alcoholism is an inherited condition and is closely related to, yet not identical to, drug addiction. Can naltrexone be used as part of a cure for alcohol use disorder?
Why do alcohol rehab and treatment centers not offer a cure?
First, there is no treatment in the United States that has been approved by the FDA as a cure for alcohol use disorder. Second, for alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, the treatment has been driven for decades by the literature and principles of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. This program is, to some degree, frozen in time. There is a lack of acknowledgement of modern medical treatment for addiction and alcoholism in the program. AA principles have been adopted by medical treatment facilities, therefore, in some ways holding back advancement in current and proven medical treatments.
So, is there a cure for Alcohol Use Disorder?
A “cure” has been proposed by Roy Eskapa, PhD. In his book, “The Cure For Alcoholism”, Dr. Eskapa describes something called the Sinclair Method. It is essentially a reduction in alcohol intake, assisted by the medication, naltrexone.
How is the Sinclair Method different from traditional abstinence based programs?
The fundamental difference is that the Sinclair Method, named after David Sinclair, is not an abstinence program. It is a program of gradual reduction in intake. It was promoted in a TEDx talk by Claudia Christian on overcoming alcoholism in 2016 in which she states that abstinence did not work for her, but the Sinclair Method did. This would be considered anecdotal evidence.
Is the Sinclair Method recommended by medical doctors?
Medical doctors have an obligation to work within the standards of their community. Yet, it is useful to discuss the Sinclair method in order to bring up the topic of medications, such as naltrexone. Naltrexone is FDA approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder as well as opioid and opiate addiction treatment. It is proven to reduce cravings for alcohol. Naltrexone is available as a daily tablet or a monthly injection, known as Vivitrol. Vivitrol also has the approval for alcoholism treatment. As physicians, we are expected at this point to work within the abstinence model when it comes to alcoholism. We may prescribe naltrexone, but we are expected to recommend that our patients stop drinking, go to AA meetings and go to a psychologist for private therapy.
So what is the right way to treat alcohol use disorder?
For the time being, we can watch progress in the medical community to see if the Sinclair Method is properly studied and adopted as a standard of care. In the meantime, you can’t go wrong with abstinence. You may require a medical detox program to safely get you off of alcohol. Then, you can get a prescription for Naltrexone and take it daily to reduce alcohol cravings. This means that you will have less thoughts of taking a drink. Another medication that can be used is disulfiram. This medication will make the patient very sick if they take a drink of alcohol. It is an excellent way to maintain sobriety.
Is it possible that alcoholism is curable?
I believe that many chronic diseases have the potential to be cured. Can the Sinclair Method cure alcoholism? I would recommend that we study the information further and take it into consideration as a possibility. For the time being, an abstinence-based program, using medications such as naltrexone and disulfiram for long-term support, along with psychotherapy may be the best and safest option.