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Does Naltrexone take away the "feel good" effects of the other pleasures in life?

Wine Glasses

Some good questions posed from one of our patients about The Sinclair Method (TSM), so I thought I would blog Dr. Nelson's answers.  Dr. Nelson from Explore Health in Scottsdale & Flagstaff, AZ is an expert on TSM.   

Q:  While on naltrexone, is it possible that I will not feel the natural feel-good effects of exercise or other things that typically produce endorphins in the brain?  

Naltrexone blocks the dopamine release in response to drinking.  The most profound effects start at one hour after taking the medicine.  The effects diminish over time which requires some patients to repeat dosing anywhere from 6 - 10 hours if they have a prolonged drinking episode.  The way in which it reduces the effects of endorphins on the pleasureable activities has a similiar time frame.  The suggestion is to take the naltrexone before drinking, not before working out, walking, intimacy, etc, or anything where you want to experience the endorphin release.  On non-drinking days, do not take the naltrexone.  

Q:  What happens if I decide to stop taking naltrexone (let's say, 6 months of doing TSM) and I continue to drink with the new learned habits that were formed with TSM?

Dr. Nelson suggestion is if you benefit from taking the naltrexone using TSM, you should not discontinue the medication, even after a successful 6 months or year of treatment.  Over the course of several years, Dr. Nelson has had multiple patients that were successful in reducing their alcohol intake to 1 to 2 drinks for an extended period and felt that they no longer needed the naltrexone to control their over indulgence, but without taking the naltrexone before alcohol they quickly reverted back to their previous learned behavior. 

There is no "one size fits all,"  however, the risk of relaspe as well as the danger of excession consumption, after a controlled drinking is not worth it.  

Q:  Will the endorphins in my brain react even more agressively because they've been supressed with the medication for 6 months or how can I expect to feel? 

Dr. Nelson is not clear on the biochemistry of this phenomenon, however, Dr. Nelson feels it has to do with the neural pathways developed during active alcohol use disorder.  Once the pathway has been established, it is easily re-activated.  This happens more easily and more quickly than the original classical conditioning.  

Should you have any questions regarding TSM or the Sinclair Method, book an online consultation with Dr. Nelson at Explore Health in Scottsdale or Flagstaff, AZ, to learn more on how Naltrexone can help you reach your wellness goals.    

Author
Dr. William Nelson William Nelson, NMD, is a naturopathic medical doctor who brings years of medical expertise to his practice, Explore Health, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Nelson is heralded as the go-to physician for patients who feel they have exhausted their time and resources attempting to resolve complex health challenges. He is also respected internationally as a preeminent addiction medicine specialist and hosts ”Your Road to Personal Addiction Recovery,” which is one of the most-listened-to podcasts on the matter. Dr. Nelson is an expert in non-surgical joint and back repair helping people in North Scottsdale and Flagstaff, AZ become pain free from painful knees, hips, shoulders, low back, whiplash, and other chronic or acute injuries.

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