There is no “one reason” for alcohol use disorder.
Science strongly suggests that genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors can all lead to an increased risk for development of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Successful treatment takes into account the individual patient’s needs and long-term health goals.
Alcohol Use Disorder – “To be diagnosed with an AUD, individuals must meet certain diagnostic criteria. Some of these criteria include problems controlling intake of alcohol, continued use of alcohol despite problems resulting from drinking, development of a tolerance, drinking that leads to risky situations, or the development of withdrawal symptoms. The severity of an AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.”
Specialized treatments that focus only on abstinence are one of the reasons almost 90% of people who need help for alcohol use disorder choose not to seek it. SAMHSA estimates 42% avoid treatment because they are not ready to stop drinking. With the Sinclair Method, they don’t have to.
The Sinclair Method (TSM) targets the biology of addiction, including the cravings that lead to loss of control. TSM uses a non-addictive, FDA-approved opioid blocker with alcohol to target and block the endorphin release caused by alcohol. Medication is only taken on days when alcohol is ingested, which allows for normal endorphin function on alcohol-free days. Patients should be encouraged to partake in healthy activities such as exercise on these days to boost positive behaviors and increase general health and wellness.
If your patients are reluctant to stop drinking entirely, or have found themselves incapable of stopping their alcohol consumption once they have the first drink, TSM may be an important, low-barrier treatment option that can be administered in a primary care setting.
According to SAMHSA, approximately 60% of individuals with AUD do not have a co-occurring mental disorder. For this patient group, TSM may be an ideal solution to discretely reduce alcohol intake.
For those individuals with a co-occurring disorder (approx. 40% of those with AUD), combining TSM with therapy specific to the disorder is suggested. Use of TSM to target the biological component of addiction has been shown to complement psychosocial and behavioral therapy. This method, used by the ContrAl Clinics in Finland, has resulted in a long-term success rate of about 78% over 18+ years.