A paper authored by Clark Carr, President Narconon International
Presented at the Third International Conference on Chemical Contamination and Human Detoxification, Sept 22-23, 2005, Hunter College, New York, New York
It is self-evident that taking toxic, mind-altering drugs or consuming alcohol in excess over a long period produces significant personality changes. Is there a specific or a general relationship between the toxins consumed and the personality deterioration? Further, what if drug toxins, like petrochemical, industrial, or environmental toxins, leave some level of residual in the body? The Hubbard sauna detoxification program, the second step of the Narconon® drug rehabilitation program, is based on the premise that toxic residuals are left behind and is dedicated to reducing the toxic body burden to the greatest degree possible.[i] There is a great deal of earlier science that has been carried out from 1984 to the present regarding this sauna detoxification procedure, resulting in 11 published papers, 15 science conference presentations, and 15 research reports involving 51 research authors from 8 countries. The toxic exposures treated included electronics and other fires, electronics manufacturing workplace exposure, pesticides, herbicides, illicit drug use, prescription drug use, Agent Orange and Gulf War toxins, catastrophic event rescue and clean-up including the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion and the World Trade Center collapse.[ii]
After having participated in a case study using the Hubbard sauna detoxification to flush out cocaine, benzodiazepine, and other toxic drug residuals from Narconon program students and measuring the results in sweat and urine,[iii] Dr. Forrest Tennant, speaking at the International Conference on Chemical Contamination and Human Detoxification held in 1995 in Los Angeles, said,
“We now know that the component of a drug of abuse that we get addicted to is the metabolite of the drug, not the drug itself. This is a terribly important concept. In other words, heroin is converted to morphine in less than 120 seconds after it hits the bloodstream. We don’t really have heroin addicts. We have morphine addicts.
“We don’t really have cocaine addicts. We have benzoylecgonine addicts. Even alcohol has a metabolite. Nicotine has a metabolite called cotinine. Marijuana has two primary metabolites.
“It is the metabolite that supports the addiction. It is the metabolite that gets stored in the body fat, and to some extent it is the metabolite that gives you some of the signs of drug influence. Certainly, the long-term effects of the drugs derive from the metabolites.” [iv]
The purpose of this review of client psychometric reports post-sauna detoxification was to observe:
- What are the personality changes attested and measured by Narconon drug rehabilitation students with the Oxford Capacity Analysis personality survey questionnaire, before and after flushing drug and other toxic residuals from the body with the Hubbard sauna detoxification program?”
The Narconon program and the Hubbard sauna detoxification program
The Narconon Drug Rehabilitation Program is a drug-free social education model founded in 1966, based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard.
The network expanded on a grassroots basis to eventually comprise an international network of more than 100 drug rehabilitation and prevention/education centers in over 40 countries. The program consists of standard “manualized” life skills courses. The Narconon program ‘students’ (clients) take on the average 3 – 4 months to complete the full rehabilitation program. As of the date of this paper, approximately 15,000 persons have graduated the full program since adoption of the standardized curriculum.
The Hubbard sauna detoxification program has been a fundamental component of the Narconon drug rehabilitation program since 1978. It comes after physical withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is complete. The sauna detox protocol consists of a medical physical and with doctor permission mandatory to follow the procedure, then a daily regimen of aerobic exercise followed by 4 – 5 hours sweating in a dry, well-ventilated sauna, temperature at 140+ degrees Fahrenheit, adjustable to tolerance. At the beginning of the day, the participant takes a vitamin and mineral package balanced around incremental doses of crystalline, instant-release niacin, graduated day by day as required by changes being experienced. Periodic frequent breaks are taken to cool off and take water, salt, potassium, and cell salts. The program is done in pairs, each person helping monitor the other. It is supervised continuously by a trained staff member.
The sauna detox is determined complete, when and as:
- Evaluated by the Case Supervisor, the Sauna Detoxification In-Charge, and the student himself/herself.
- Evaluated against standard case history manifestations, assisted by two psychometric evaluation instruments.
- The participant honestly feels he has achieved “freedom from the effects of drug and other toxic residuals.”
The Study Participants
Narconon International licenses individual Narconon drug rehabilitation centers, exercising a supervisory and quality control function. As part of this relationship, Narconon International and the Center sign an associate agreement giving it permission to review case files while respecting HIPAA law. Accordingly, the author received permission from one center to confidentially review the most recent 20 sequential cases that had completed the sauna detoxification program. Adult male and female Narconon program participants come from all across the United States, arriving and starting the program on a daily basis. The only further selection process was that the participants needed to have been medically approved to do the procedure, excluding cases who had received extensive prior psychiatric treatment. The Narconon program is drug-free. (Non-mind altering prescription meds are tolerated if approved by the medical doctor.) Taking 20 essentially random cases at a random time allowed for a probable consistent perspective of Narconon cases.
- 20 Adult Participants: Gender: 15 male, 5 female. Ages: From 18 – 56 years old (averaging 32.2).
This group of individuals, as with most Narconon program participants worldwide, had long-term histories using multiple substances. Many students also reported illicit or non-prescribed use of prescription medications including antidepressants, antipsychotics, muscular relaxants, etc.
Drugs Used by Subjects
|Name of Drug
|# of Students Reporting Having Used the Drug|
|LSD, Psychedelic mushrooms||2|
The cases were quite varied in drug history and intensity of use. A few examples:
- Male, 56 yrs old: Alcohol daily for 50 years, 1/5th Vodka/day for 6 years, 18 beers/day for 41 years, Methamphetamine daily for 6 years, Vicodin 6/day for 6 years.
- Male, 41 yrs old: Cocaine 3X/week 25 years, Crack Cocaine 1X/week 25 years, 24 beers/day 23 years, Meth 3X/week 19 years, Oxycontin 3/day 8 years, Vicodin 5/day 8 years, Valium 3/day 8 years. (Note: How persons survive such toxic consumption is astonishing.)
- Female, 20 yrs old: Methamphetamine daily 1 year, Alcohol 1 bottle of vodka/day 5 years.
One particularity noticeable in this group is that there were more meth users than heroin users. Times change.
Two psychometric instruments are routinely used to assess the continuing case progress of Narconon students (clients): The Novis Mental Ability Test and the Oxford Capacity Analysis. The scoring paradigm for both tests accounts for age and gender. The norm for the Novis test is 100 points. The Novis Mental Ability Test is a timed IQ test, 30 minutes, 80 questions with different versions done pre- and immediately post-sauna detox. The Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA) is a 200 question self-report analysis of personality characteristics guided from -100 up to 0 (Normal Range) to +100.
|10 Characteristics Measured in the OCA (columns listed left to right)|
|A. Stable vs Unstable / Dispersed|
|B. Happy vs. Depressed|
|C. Composed vs. Nervous / Anxious|
|D. Certainty vs. Uncertainty|
|E. Active vs. Inactive|
|F. Aggressive vs. Inhibited|
|G. Causative vs. Irresponsible|
|H. Correct Estimation of Others vs. Critical|
|I. Appreciative vs. Lack of Accord|
|J. In Good Communication vs. Withdrawn|
Both tests are administered before starting the sauna detoxification (but after having withdrawn physically from active drug use). Then upon completion of the sauna detox, and again at the conclusion of the full Narconon life skills program of courses. This paper focuses on the pre- and post-sauna detoxification completion scores. All 20 students took both pre- and post- tests at the appropriate times.
Every case measured an IQ improvement score post-sauna. (Note: This is one of the expected phenomena to demonstrate that the person did in fact complete a full sauna detox regimen.) The score improvements varied from pre- 83 to 85 to post- 116 to 136 with an average point gain of 7.95. Length of time on detoxification was not correlative to greater or lesser IQ change.
Length of time to complete the sauna detoxification:
The length of time start to finish varied from 14 to 42 days, grouping generally in the middle.
The Oxford Capacity Analysis: Pre and Post Scores
The majority of the cases’ OCA charts “pre-sauna” demonstrated a significant similarity of personality characteristic…
Low on the Left: Unstable, Depressed, Uncertain (which could be most simply translated as “Doesn’t like or uncomfortable with self.”) They were also Low on the Right: Irresponsible, Critical, Lack of Accord, Withdrawn (roughly translating to “Does not like others, anti-social.”) And they were mostly Higher in the Middle: Active, Aggressive.
Mr. Hubbard, in his book Clear Body Clear Mind on the effects of drugs on cases, described the above combined characteristics as “the drug personality.”
- “ ‘A drug personality’: It is artificial and is created by drugs. Drugs can apparently change the attitude of a person from his original personality to one secretly harboring hostilities and hatreds he does not permit to show on the surface. While this may not be true in all cases, it does establish a link between drugs and increasing difficulties with crime, production and the modern breakdown of social and industrial culture.”
He also described the current culture riddled with drug abuse as a “biochemical society,” biochemical meaning “the interaction of life forms and chemical substances.” [v]
The following OCA charts of the 20 students pre-sauna strongly reflect this statement, presenting each chart by number along with case drug history notes:
The OCA charts of the 20 students pre-sauna
Post-sauna detoxification scores:
Nearly all 20 “post-sauna detoxification” graphs showed major improvements on the left side of the OCA chart and lesser improvements on the right portions of the chart, maintaining in the center. Exceptions were one female case that continued taking prescription medication at the order of her doctor throughout the sauna program (#6 below), and an 18-year-old coming off one year on methamphetamine who registered more anti-social on the right after the sauna than before. (#18 below) One can conjecture that he was answering more honestly post-sauna. But the majority of cases post-sauna detox OCA scores rose significantly up into the “normal” or higher range, as follows:
And now the OCA charts of the same 20 students post-sauna detox (post –blue):
Some participants clearly felt they had had major positive changes and their OCA responses post-sauna detox paralleled this:
The most observable reported changes for the sauna portion of the Narconon program were on the left side (Stable, Happy, Composed, Certain), i.e., feelings about “self.” The balance of the Narconon program’s life skills courses deal with the right side issues — social vs. antisocial, level of responsibility, etc.
Those that reported the least change included some of the heaviest alcohol histories (e.g. 50 years of daily heavy alcohol) and those that had a history of significant psychiatric medications.
Total OCA Point Gain per Case
Average positive change per OCA characteristic
Numerically scored (cumulative per column), the average positive change chart below also reflects that the most reported personality change post-sauna was on the ‘left side’ characteristics (comfort with self, self-confidence, feeling happy, etc.)
Not having any noticeable bearing on the overall quantity of OCA point gain:
OCA Scales regarding Depressed vs Happy and Anxious vs Composed
Every case registered improvements on Characteristic B: Depressed vs Happy. (Lower range the more depressed.)
And similar gains on Characteristic C (Anxious vs Composed):
Parallel findings in earlier studies
1982 U.S. Study: The data presented in this review of psychometric reports by 20 Narconon drug rehabilitation cases parallels research data collected in the very first study on the Hubbard sauna detoxification in 1982 which included a component of persons who had significant drug histories — “Evaluation of a detoxification regimen for fat-stored xenobiotics”[vi]. Using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale on the 103 persons treated, the 1982 authors reported “no statistical difference could be demonstrated between the test and control groups before the trial; however, there was a significant difference afterward…Six people tested lower on full scale IQ, post-trial, fourteen people tested the same or less than a four point increase and eighty-three improved their full scale IQ by four or more points. A full third of the individuals improved their scales by at least 10 points. The average change was a 6.7 point increase.”
The 1982 study also evaluated its subjects utilizing the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, reporting:[vii]
“On average, changes were small, although several were statistically significant…Of perhaps greater interest was the change of high score individuals. Table IV presents the post-trial change in MMPI scores for individuals whose initial scores were more than two standard deviations from the norm (T scores greater than 70)…
“Four of the scales had significant decreases: the third scale (Hy); developed to aid in the identification of patients using the neurotic defenses of the conversion form of hysteria; the fourth scale (Pd), developed to measure the personality characteristics of the amoral and asocial subgroup of persons with psychopathic personality disorders; the fifth scale (Mf), developed to identify features related to sexual inversion disorders, and usually used to modify the interpretation of other scales; and finally the sixth scale (Pa); developed to evaluate the clinical pattern of paranoia, also used to modify other scales. The changes in the third and fourth scales of these high score patients were large, nearly a full standard deviation for the fourth (Pd) scale, and over a full standard deviation for the third (Hy).
“It has been previously found that any interruption in the maintenance of a heroin habit seems effective in eliciting some degree of personality change, particularly as evidenced on the lst (Hs) and 3rd (Hy) scales. (46) Tables III and IV suggest that the regimen was also effective in eliciting this change in two other groups, the former drug user, and those who were only exposed to medicinal or prescription drugs. Of particular interest is the reduction in the 4th (Pd) scale. Sutker found that elevations on the 4th scale dominate the addict profile, and are particularly characteristic of the heroin addict, whether addicted or abstinent.
“While the reduction in 4th scale scores in Table III represents all participants in the regimen and Table IV represents all high scores, the @ubset of individuals with opiate and hallucinogen histories are shown in Table V [see below] and demonstrate even greater decreases in 4th scale scores. These regimen related Pd scale reductions suggest that former drug users may not be condemned to terminal sociopathy.”
1995 Russian Study: The psychometric reports of this present case study of 20 Narconon program students also correspond to statements made in the Conclusion of an important Russian case study done on 40 clean-up workers who underwent the Hubbard sauna detoxification after having been seriously damaged by radiation following the Chenobyl nuclear reactor explosion:
“The detoxification program devised by Hubbard possesses a powerful psychotherapeutic potential that has been associated with significant improvement in the general health of the participant. Increases in physical and mental endurance, activity level, and resistance against stress can be expected.”
A.F. Tsyb, E.M. Parshkov, J. Barnes, V.V. Yarzutkin, N.V. Vorontsov, V.I. Dedov,
1998 International Radiological Post-Emergency Response Issues Conference Washington, D.C., 9 – 11 September, 1998
(Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Co-sponsored by American Nuclear Society, Conference of Radiation Control Protectors, Defense Special Weapons Agency – Dept of Defense, Dept of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Center for Disease Control – Health and Human Services, Nuclear Regulatory Agency, US Dept of Agriculture. Organized in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.)
Pre- and Post-Sauna Detox Symptom Severity Change: As of the date of this paper, there have also been at least five published papers of studies of the Hubbard sauna detoxification program which included surveys pre- and post-sauna detox regarding changes in the severity of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms.[viii] These symptom severity charts roughly paralleled the personality gains charted by OCAs in this paper. One such survey was conducted on a group composed entirely of current or former drug users (mentioned earlier in this paper – 1995, “Reduction in Drug Residues,” Shields et al”. The symptom survey chart follows:
Discussion and Conclusions:
- The OCA self-reporting assessment form consistently describes that enrolling Narconon alcohol or other drug addicts are uncomfortable with self-image, anti-social towards others, and active about it.
- Notwithstanding age or extent of drug history, the great majority of Narconon students in this randomly selected sample who completed the sauna detoxification procedure reported improved personality change.
- The Narconon students reported in the same OCA, after completion of the Hubbard sauna detoxification step, improvement in reduced depression and anxiety (nervousness).
- 20 Narconon students from a sequential selection at one center all reported improved IQ test scores upon completion of the sauna detoxification procedure.
- Also, it was noteworthy that every methamphetamine case, despite the heaviness of drug history, showed considerable improvements on the self-scored questionnaire, even before having done the balance of the Narconon program. Narconon staff report that methamphetamine addicts after they complete the program experience no greater percentage of relapse than addicts with other drugs. Given the damage meth- amphetamine is known to cause the body and mind, this is optimistic news on the health and recovery front.
- These gains toward personal mental, emotional, and physical well-being, as self-reported by Narconon drug rehabilitation students from the Hubbard sauna detoxification program, suggest that nutritional supplementation, exercise, and reduction of the toxic body burden presents a viable alternative treatment to pharmacotherapy for alcohol and other drug addicts reporting depression and anxiety.
- It would be constructive to do other such studies, with control or comparison groups in other drug rehabilitation programs or addicts-in-recovery observed to be living drug-free, as perhaps in a controlled-living environment.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The author wishes to disclose that he held the position of corporate president of Narconon International, Inc. during the time he collected this data, wrote this paper, and presented it at conference. He did not work at the Narconon center from which the sample participants were selected, nor have personal administrative or technical control of that center. It is one of the functions of his position at the international office to collect scientific data on Narconon program results and to present them for public inspection and discourse. The paper is offered in that spirit.
[i] Clear Body Clear Mind, L. Ron Hubbard, 1990.
[ii] Some of the sauna detoxification studies from this period include:
* “Assessment of antioxidative and phagocytic status of organism during detoxification of persons contaminated with radionuclides in territories of Briansk”, Zhaparkhanova RS, Surinov BP, Isaeva VG, Sazhenin GI, Parshkov EM. Proceedings: 2nd International Detoxification Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, Sept 1997
* “Body burden reductions of PCBS, PBBs and chlorinated pesticides in human subjects,” Schnare DW, Ben M, Shields MG. Ambio, Vol. 13. No 5/6. 1984 (Published by Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4313080
* “Chemical exposures at the World Trade Center: Use of the Hubbard sauna detoxification regimen to improve the health status of New York City rescue workers exposed to toxicants,” Cecchini MA, Root DE, Rachunow JR, Gelb PM. The Townsend Letter, 2006 Apr #273:57-65
* “Detoxification in Obninsk – An Overview,” Zhaparkhanova et al. Proceedings: 2nd International Detoxification Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, Sept 1997
* “Diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting subclinical signs and symptoms of exposure to chemicals which bioaccumulate in human tissue,” Root DE, Katzin DB, Schnare DW. Proceedings of the National Conference on Hazardous Wastes and Environmental Emergencies. URL: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.497.4725
* “Dynamics of the main systems of the body in the course and after the detoxification program,” Parshkov E, Sokolov V, Proshin A, Doroshchenko V, Barnes J, Gaiman S. Presented at: The Third International Conference on Chemical Contamination and Human Detoxification, Hunter College, New York, NY, Sept 22-23, 2005
* “Evaluation of a detoxification regimen for fat-stored xenobiotics,” Schnare DW, Denk G, Shields M, Brunton S, Med Hypotheses. 1982 Sep;9(3):265-82. URL: Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7144634
* “Human contamination and detoxification: Medical response to an expanding global problem,” Wisner RM, Shields M, Curtis DL, Beckmann SL. Proceedings: UN Man and his Biosphere & the USSR Academy of Sciences Committee (Oct 19, 1989)
* “Improvement in perception of transcutaneous nerve stimulation following detoxification in firefighters exposed to PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs,” Shields M, Beckmann SL, Cassidy-Brinn G. Clinical Ecology, Vol. 6(2):47-50, 1989.
[iii] “Reduction in drug residues: Applications in drug rehabilitation,” Shields M, Beckmann S, Tennant F, Wisner RM, Presented at: 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (San Diego, 1995)
[iv] Proceedings: International Conference on Chemical Contamination and Human Detoxification, Dec 1995, pgs 8 – 11
[v] op. cit. Hubbard, pages 3 – 5.
[vi] “Evaluation of a detoxification regimen for fat-stored xenobiotics,” Schnare DW, Denk G, Shields M, Brunton S, Med Hypotheses. 1982 Sep;9(3):265-82. URL: Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7144634
[vii] Ibid, Schnare et al.
[viii] * op. cit. Evaluation of a detoxification regimen for fat-stored xenobiotics, Schnare et al.
* “Diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting subclinical signs and symptoms
of exposure to chemicals which bioaccumulate in human tissue.” Root DE, Katzin DB, Schnare DW, Proceedings of the National Conference on Hazardous Wastes and Environmental Emergencies. URL: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.497.4725
* “Neurotoxicity and toxic body burdens: Relationship and treatment potentials”, Wisner RM, Root DE, Shields M, Beckmann SL. Proceedings: International Conference on Peripheral Nerve Toxicity, Proceedings edited by K. Hashimoto, Kanazawa, pp. 49-50, June, 1993.
* op. cit. Reduction in drug residues, Schnare et al.
* Chemical exposures at the World Trade Center: Use of the Hubbard sauna detoxifi cation regimen to improve the health status of New York City rescue workers exposed to toxicants. Cecchini MA, Root DE, Rachunow JR, Gelb PM. The Townsend Letter, 2006 Apr #273:57-65 URL: http://www.townsendletter.com/Dec2006/chemexp1206.htm