Glass of whiskey with skull on table

Though there are many different definitions, I consider alcoholism to be present when drinking excessive alcohol is causing significant harm to one’s health, relationships or job. Denial is a common component of alcoholism. I have found that by the time most people wonder if they have an alcohol problem, they usually do.

Not sure? See if you can stop drinking for a month.

Alcohol is sometimes used excessively in an attempt to self-medicate for physical or emotional pain. The good news is that better options are available.

In addition to causing liver inflammation, excess alcohol routinely causes widespread nutritional deficiencies and can trigger numerous other health problems.

Treatments for Alcoholism

There are two main approaches to treatment — either total abstinence or an interesting approach which supports moderation. In addition, the side effects of the excess alcohol need to be treated.

Recommended Supplements

Begin with nutritional support from a good multivitamin/mineral. Alcohol causes severe widespread nutrient losses.

In some people, low blood sugar may trigger alcohol cravings. You may find that drinking 4 ounces of orange juice (followed by a meal or some protein such as nuts, eggs, meat or cheese) may help settle the alcohol cravings.

How to Stop Excessive Drinking

To stop excessive alcohol consumption, you need to see whether your personality requires an "all or nothing" approach, or if moderation is an option. If the alcohol is causing major life problems, it may be best to try one of the following:

12-Step Programs

Enter a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. A knowledgeable physician can help with withdrawal, and adding nutritional support is very helpful, especially high-dose B vitamins (for brain support) and magnesium to lower the risk of DTs (withdrawal shakiness or seizures).

The Sinclair Method

The Sinclair Method employs the use of a medication called Naltrexone, which blocks much of both the alcohol craving and high. This allows the person to drink in moderation, and has been quite effective in a number of studies.

The Sinclair Method is explained in the book The Cure for Alcoholism by Roy Eskapa PhD. We first heard about this method by downloading the iPhone app "Little Miracle Pill Cures Alcohol Addiction" by Amy Luwis, and found it to be helpful for certain people. Some people find this technique very rewarding as they feel that they can finally feel in control of their own actions and possibly regain the metabolic balance needed to drink alcohol at a normal level once again.

Essentially the technique is to take the medication Naltrexone one hour before consuming any type of alcoholic beverage. Complete avoidance of alcohol is not necessary. By affecting the opioid receptors, Naltrexone helps alcoholics feel that they do not have to drink in excess and therefore they often stop drinking after one or two drinks.

The dosage of the Naltrexone recommended by Sinclair is 50 milligrams. We have noticed that certain people cannot start at this dose. So if you wish to try this technique, we recommend considering starting out at a quarter or half of this dose and working up as needed to find the optimal dose for you.

Warnings: Do not take Naltrexone if you are pregnant, on opiates (narcotics), have acute hepatitis or liver failure, or if you are a successful teetotaler.


Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes.

Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).