Alcoholism – fighting fire with fire

Alcoholism leaves a trail of destruction wherever it appears. It devastates the health and wellbeing of sufferers and tears apart their relationships. Furthermore, it is inherently sneaky, frequently making its presence known to all but the person struggling with it.

It has a close cousin, problem drinking. There is debate whether people who regularly consume too much alcohol are, in reality, suffering with alcoholism. Given the negative portrayal of the alcoholic in society, it’s probably an unhelpful label. The truth is, if your drinking is causing you difficulties, you have a problem which needs addressing.

There are many ways of tackling alcoholism and problem drinking, the most famous being Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). SMART Recovery is also a good option, as is counselling. Doctors can prescribe helpful medications too. Your GP should always be your first port-of-call.

All of these options have a track record of success. However, like with everything, any potential solution will work for some people and not for others. Simply because somebody may have tried AA or a medication and not succeeded, doesn’t mean they are doomed to a life destroyed by alcohol. It may simply mean they need an alternative to help them beat the drink.

Another route is known as The Sinclair Method. It sounds counterintuitive so bear with me. You take a tablet, either nalmefene or naltrexone, wait an hour and then drink. Sounds crazy, right?

The reason it works, and there are several studies proving its strong efficacy, is the tablet blocks the pleasure receptors in the brain. Instead of the euphoric rush somebody struggling with alcohol gets when they drink, this doesn’t happen. Over time your subconscious mind unlearns the connection between alcohol, and the ‘buzz’ it brings. This leads to you wanting to drink less and less.

The TEDx talk by actress Claudia Christian ‘Ctrl-Alt-Del’, available on YouTube, discusses this life-changing treatment option in more detail.

Nalmefene is approved by the HSE. The difficulty is in getting a prescription. Many doctors are unaware of The Sinclair Method, or they are put off by its seemingly counterintuitive nature.

Sinclair Method UK, in conjunction with Merron Medical and other private GPs in England, together with McKay Pharmacy, which has stores in Belfast, Newtownards and Templepatrick, have teamed together to offer a solution.

With Sinclair Method UK’s support, people in Ireland can access up to a six-month prescription from Merron Medical, which they can then collect in person at any of the McKay Pharmacy branches.

All of these organisations are approved by and fully registered with the UK government so there are no worries on that score.

Of course, there are people for whom The Sinclair Method isn’t a good option. That’s why going through a fully qualified medical practitioner such as Merron Medical is so important. However, when this treatment path has such a great success rate, some studies show an 80% efficacy, it should at least be explored as an option.


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