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What is Pharmacological Extinction? How does it also promote health and wellness?

Pharmacological Extinction uses a safe, FDA approved medication to block the reinforcing effects of alcohol that drive excess drinking and which eventually cause cravings for alcohol. The elimination effects of the medication also boost natural, healthy activities.

Established from PET scan medical studies (Positron Emission Tomography), alcohol consumption will cause a small release of endorphins with each sip. It's a barely noticeable effect, but endorphins work as a primary biological reinforcement. That's why Alcohol Use Disorder is said to "sneak up on you." Both a person's unique genetic makeup and personal circumstances are risk factors for developing Alcohol Use Disorder from endorphin reinforcement.

The medication is taken only when you drink and temporarily suppresses the effects of endorphins, disabling biological reinforcement and allowing for an easy decline in cravings. Medically, that's called "extinction." From a practical standpoint, patients report a gradual indifference toward alcohol.

At the same time, after the medication eliminates from the body there is an opportunity to strengthen healthy activities supported by endorphin release. Medically, that's called "functional supersensitivity" of the endorphin receptors. The result is to restore control over drinking while also reinforcing endorphin-backed activities which move you further away from AUD.

Pharmacological Extinction is also called the Sinclair Method. Sinclair was the name of the researcher that invented the method. Since its discovery, patients and doctors started calling Pharmacological Extinction the "Sinclair Method" for treating Alcohol Use Disorder.

When is Pharmacological Extinction considered a success? What's the success rate?

Success is reached when the impulse to drink is brought under control and drinking stays within safe levels. In the United States, safe levels are 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men (2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans).

Based on clinical studies, 78% of patients will restore control over their drinking, and this success rate accounts for about one-in-ten patients who do not comply with the medication dosing protocol. Accordingly, with strict medication dosing compliance, the success rate can exceed 90%.

The period to accomplish extinction varies with each person, but most patients will see a substantial reduction in the volume and frequency of drinking within a few months. Extinction is optimized with precision dosing compliance strategies, which we teach in our accelerator tutorial videos.

How does the Sinclair Method compare to traditional treatment models, such as Alcoholics Anonymous?

Established in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous, sometimes called the 12-step model or a willpower-based model, harnesses self-restraint alone to control Alcohol Use Disorder. AA doesn't employ medication to disrupt the biological reinforcement causing Alcohol Use Disorder. When AA was established, modern medicine was still in its infancy.

Self-restraint can work in the early stages of Alcohol Use Disorder. But, after time, due to endorphin reinforcement, the body develops a physical craving or strong desire for alcohol and self-restraint becomes ineffective, and relapse becomes common.

AA still dominates culturally as the first line of treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder, and most patients only discover the Sinclair Method after realizing self-restraint models aren't working for them. For example, over 80% of sign-ups with alcure.me report prior failed success with AA or similar treatment models.

And, only recently has the Sinclair Method emerged as a treatment method in the United States. It was invented in Finland over twenty years ago and the same model, using a slightly different medication, was approved for use in the European Union countries as recent as 2014.

Is there a difference between excess drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder, or alcoholism?

Words and phrases such as "excess drinking," "problem drinking," "alcohol abuse," "alcohol dependence," "alcohol addiction," and "alcoholism" all refer to the same medical condition called Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Use Disorder is a "spectrum" condition that refers to problem drinking. It can affect anyone at anytime and ranges from mild, to moderate, to more intense. Think of it as running on a scale from 0 to 10.

How does pricing and payment work?

One plan includes physician assessment and unlimited physician access, all medication needed to complete treatment delivered directly to you and our comprehensive accelerator tutorials to achieve extinction of Alcohol Use Disorder in the fastest time possible.

Pay month-to-month. Cancel any time and you are only responsible for the month in which you cancel.

Pay with any major credit or debit card, or an employer Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flex Spending Account (FSA) card.

If you have medical insurance we'll help you get reimbursed.

If you would like 1-1 coaching or therapist-level support please email us at support@alcure.me for more details including pricing.

How do I communicate with my Alcure doctor?

By video chat and email. After your initial video chat assessment, we'll send you an email with a link to module one of our accelerator videos that will also include your doctor's email address and scheduling link. You'll want to keep that email as your access portal to module one of the accelerator videos, but also for easy access to your doctor's email address and scheduling link for future communications. Depending upon the state you live in, all doctor visits must be conducted by video chat.

If you accidentally delete the email or can't find it, just contact us at support@alcure.me and we'll send your doctor's email address, scheduling link, and the link to the accelerator videos again.

Do I have to request refills of the medication?

Yes. You'll want to request a refill directly with your Alcure physician when you're down to 7-10 day's worth of medication to account for lead time to communicate with your doctor and up to three business days for delivery of the medication afterward.

You can email your doctor or set up a video chat. Your doctor may ask to set up a video chat for a more personalized visit as well or based on your state's regulations.

What's the difference between coaching and therapist-level support?

Compliance coaching

Compliance with the dosing protocol of the Sinclair Method is key to success. Covering every angle, we deliver our comprehensive accelerator tutorials to you in three modules which focus on precision compliance to produce extinction of Alcohol Use Disorder in the fastest time possible. View them from any device when you want, where you want, and as much as you want.

Therapist-level support

Many clients with Alcohol Use Disorder will have coexisting personal issues that are best addressed by a licensed therapist. Therapists possess at least a master's degree in mental health and thousands of hours of formal clinical experience dealing with a wide variety of personal issues many people experience while also facing an excess drinking problem. Both personal issues and excess drinking will aggravate one another.

Therapy is proactive, where existing client strategies are improved upon, and healing when clients are facing greater difficulties. All forms of therapy are solution-focused.

We also offer 1-1 live video chat coaching and therapist-level support.

Live coaching and therapist-level support are priced separately. Contact us at support@alcure.me for more information.

What's it like to drink on the medication?

When you drink on the medication, you usually won't notice much of a difference in the overall drinking experience. That's because alcohol also acts on other parts of the brain to cause a sense of relaxation that the medication doesn't affect. When you drink on an opioid-blocker you get nearly the same experience except you leave the endorphins behind, but you won't miss them.

Is the medication addictive or does it have side effects?

The medication is not addictive whatsoever. The side effects, if any, are usually minimal and go away quickly.

Do I have to "detox" before drinking?

Nope. You begin treatment right away. Consistent, targeted dosing of the medication is simply woven into your drinking pattern and at that point the process of gradual extinction begins.

Once I get my stuff under control, do I have to keep taking the medication?

Only when you drink. By always following that dosing protocol relapse is avoided. Relapse is common with all other treatment methods. That's why many patients find themselves back in some form of treatment after believing an excess drinking problem is behind them. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 90% of people with Alcohol Use Disorder will relapse within four years after completing conventional treatment.

What happens when I only need a maintenance supply of the medication after therapy is completed?

Clients that have completed treatment and are needing to take just a few tablets of the medication a month or every few months, can "hop off" the platform until it's time for a refill. That's done by requesting to pause recurring payments.

When the time comes to replenish your supply of the medication, you'll simply contact support, advise you are a returning client, and we'll set you up with another video chat with your physician to request a refill.

The process of refilling works as a "check" for your physician because it affords an opportunity for your physician to screen for any existing health issues and double-check that your drinking is being kept in check, and then update your electronic medical record. It helps to optimize the care they provide by "laying eyes on you" every now and again.

The charge is still the same monthly price, but it becomes a one-time charge. In effect, you "hop off" the platform again until it's time for another refill down the road.

Are there any other charges?

Rarely, and if there are we'll tell you about them in advance. These include things like special lab testing which is sometimes needed while using the medication or extra video chat doctor visits needed to monitor treatment more closely.

What kind of technology will I need?

A high-speed internet connection, webcam and microphone. Almost all clients prefer accessing our service through a mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet--all of which come equipped with a camera and microphone.

Alcure is a Google powered digital health platform to ensure the highest quality in performance with robust data security for your privacy.

Start by downloading Hangouts Meet (not to be confused with just "Hangouts") from your device's app store for video chat sessions. Once installed, it will deploy automatically when using our service. Hangouts is not encrypted for your privacy.

For desktop or laptop access to video chat, download and use the Google Chrome browser to access your email account and and link to video chat sessions. Chrome is a free browser and takes a few seconds to download. If you don't already have Chrome, just type "Chrome" into any other internet browser and follow the easy-to-install instructions.

If you'll be using a traditional desktop computer make sure you have a webcam (most of which are also equipped with a microphone).

If you'll be using a laptop, most are already equipped with a camera and microphone at the top of the screen.

And if I have any other questions?

Email us at support@alcure.me. Support is managed 9-5 Pacific Time 7 days a week.

We respond to all support inquiries promptly during business hours.