A Pill to Treat Alcoholism?

By Brian Lemay 16 comments

– Alcohol is the most commonly
used addictive substance in the U.S. with almost 18
million people suffering from abuse or dependence. It can be obviously
extremely difficult to treat. So there’s a treatment method and this treatment method suggests that alcoholics can actually
drink themselves sober by taking a drug called
Naltrexone while they drink but the question is, is this safe? And you may all have heard us talking about Naltrexone before because that is a reversal agent for opiate abuse. And so, for instance if
someone comes to the ER and they’ve overdosed on
Heroin, Naltrexone can help reverse the effects of that but this is something somewhat new. We’re joined now via Skype by board certified Psychiatrist
Dr. Domenick Sportelli, and we also in the
audience have Psychologist and addiction expert
Dr. Adi Jaffe who have a couple of different
perspectives on this. But Dr. Sportelli, first things first, just explain to us how Naltrexone can work in this circumstance in terms of we think of it as a
reversal agent for opiates, but how can it be used
in terms of alcohol? – When someone drinks alcohol,
not only do you get drunk, but you have a euphoric experience, and the euphoric experience is based on what’s called endogenous opiates, these are opiates that
we produce in our brain. So the thought is, if we
can block those opiates in our own brain, we can
block that euphoric experience and therefore getting drunk won’t be as pleasurable as it used to be. – Dr. Jaffe I want to go
to you really quickly, because you’re saying Naltrexone, this method can be used effectively, it’s something you would
take before drinking if you were say, an alcoholic. Obviously the first
reaction is, oh my gosh, we’re sitting here saying,
alcoholic, take a drink? And it’s difficult to conceive. – It is, and a lot of people feel that if you’re gonna take care
of any alcohol problem you have to be willing to quit forever, that sort of a commitment you
have to make on the front end. The Sinclair Method, which
is what you’re talking about is actually a very
different method, which is you actually can continue drinking but as a psychiatrist pointed out, what you end up doing is you
take Naltrexone about an hour or so before you drink, and what it does is it slowly tears away the pleasure effect, as you talked about it, the reward, from the
experience of drinking. Well people report when it works for them is they just don’t wanna drink as much. If alcohol causes problems in your life, Naltrexone is a great
medication to try out. The main problem is only
1 out of 10 people who have alcohol problems actually
end up going into treatment. So, I think the great
thing about this is this is something you can try relatively easily, with a prescription, a
therapist, or a psychologist who knows what they’re doing. – Well then that’s why we’re
talking about this ’cause I think over and over again
this year we’ve discussed how 10 percent of people who have
a dependence or an addiction to drugs or alcohol seek treatment.


Anna Justice

May 5, 2017, 8:58 am Reply

As a fellow addict, i take suboxone to keep me off of heroin i now have two years clean….Its saved my life. I now know what its like to feel normal again and have a normal life. People have mixed emotions about drugs like these. But to me, if it wasnt for suboxone, i probably wouldn't be here today!

Marcus Salisbury_BS

May 5, 2017, 9:01 am Reply

A pill to treat alcoholism. Becomes a drug addict.

Baby Cakes

May 5, 2017, 11:22 am Reply

how does their Skype work so good I get on Skype and it crashes like wtf

Ms Magpie

May 5, 2017, 3:29 pm Reply

a friend of mine was prescribed beclofen.for his alcohol dependence.he hasn,t touched alcohol. since starting this medication .


May 5, 2017, 4:07 am Reply

I've taken it before. Even got the vivitrol shot. Obviously didn't take dope on it but I still drank and took benzodiazepines at the time. Now on suboxone and it's working well but I'd naltrexone helps people I'm all for it. It definitely stops you from getting the "high" from drinking.

Metalhead 1966

May 5, 2017, 4:39 am Reply

watches this whilst drinking alcohol

The Messy Beautiful

May 5, 2017, 6:49 pm Reply

Doesn't the alcohol still affect your body whether or not you get the pleasure of drinking? I'm not referring to the actions of a drunk person (stumbling, etc.) but more of the internal affects (kidney failure, seizures, etc.). I ask because one of my siblings is an alcoholic but his body is highly dependent on it.


Dec 12, 2017, 11:39 am Reply

This guy is such bullshit. Adi Jaffe is not a Doctor lol. He has a PHD as a psychological assistant.

His license has been canceled. Not to mention hes been on probation. He got sued by old business partners. He has never had any clients because he was never licensed to practice. Hes a glorified life coach who has no real story to offer. No real experience other then being in college half his life. He has no spit in the game. His total arrest for drugs is a inflated lie.

capitan von chicken pants

Dec 12, 2017, 1:17 pm Reply

It only works if you take the pill

Ashley Sullivan

Dec 12, 2017, 8:35 am Reply

This is a very effective method for me, I was a struggling functional alcoholic for 15 years until I found out about Neltrexone (which has been used to treat alcholism since the mid 90's). I have been on Neltrexone for six months and it has completely changed my life. I was never a religious person so I was turned off to AA programs. I also knew that abstaining from alcholol for the rest of my life was unrealistic. In the past six months, I have drank a glass of wine on occasion and only in social situations, I no longer drink at home because I have no desire to do so. I have completely changed my life around due to Neltrexone, including losing 30 lbs. If anyone is struggling with alcohol and you feel like there's no hope, call your doctor and ask about Neltrexone, it really does work.

Jascinta Rebello

Dec 12, 2018, 8:42 am Reply

can someone pls respond to me. The Alcoholic in my home refuses to take medication. can naltrexone.or any of the medication to stop alcohol.be powdered any mixed with food or drink. will it help. and will it be undetected

xXgachacorn_playzXx sunshine

Mar 3, 2019, 11:12 pm Reply

naltrexone works if you follow TSM, The Sinclair Method. It does work. Read the book A Cure for Alcoholism, by Roy Escapa, watch the documentary "one little pill", or go to the C3 Foundation website for more info. You don't have to go to rehab, you don't need a psychologist to hold your hand. If you think you have a drinking problem, and rehab and AA aren't for you, please check out the foregoing resources. Science and medicine is an amazing thing.

Gerrylynn Mako

Jul 7, 2019, 5:03 am Reply

It works great. I have been a hard core alcoholic for fifteen years. Ruined so many facets of my life and was on a steady road downwards for years. I took this stuff and within days realized I was free. It literally makes you not want to drink and importantly not even think about it.

John Bartley

Jul 7, 2019, 5:16 pm Reply

Yes it seems this works where sadly AA fails with its religous stuff!


Jul 7, 2019, 5:31 pm Reply

This only works for about 78% of people. The other 22% are what I consider true alcoholics. If I could take a pill, I absolutely would. In fact this drug in particular gave me some real groovy side affects. Fortunately I only wanted sobriety and quit taking this stuff.

If you are an addict you still need to treat the underlying psychology behind these behaviors and learn to how to ‘be’ in society. The very nature of taking a pill before you drink so there is not as much pleasure as a way to ween off the addiction is trading crutches. If you really are an addict and you take this pill to reduce the pleasure of taking that drink or drug you are fooling yourself. It is a method to help control cravings and enable product early therapy.

Oh and by the way, ask any addict if they felt any pleasure from that drink or drug when the disease progresses to that point….. not one that I know will say ‘yes’. They all hated it by the end. HATED IT. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for this type of ‘method’ but it is not in and of itself the only means of obtaining and more importantly maintaining sobriety.


Oct 10, 2019, 11:00 am Reply

Hi. I'm Z3R0 and I'm an alcoholic. (Hi, Zero.) AA and Naltrexone didn't work for me. There are other drugs available to help you on your road to recovery. Remember, everybody (every BODY) is different. A combo of Acamprosate and Zoloft worked for me. If prescription Naltrexone doesn't work for you, ask your doctor about other options. Good luck, everyone.

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