Heroin addiction can be like a snake in the grass, sneaking up on a user before they realize it. The bad news is that once a heroin user becomes dependent they are faced with intense physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms include a flu-like sickness, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and intense cravings for the drug, just to name a few. While these symptoms are not life threatening, they are one of the main reasons people go back to using, as heroin is the only thing that will alleviate them.
Withdrawal and cravings are two of the major obstacles a person who is addicted to heroin have to overcome in order to get clean for good. Basically, even when heroin is causing negative consequences in a person’s life, the fear of the withdrawal associated with it keeps the addict stuck in a place where they feel like they need to keep using no matter what. And, if they manage to get through the sickness they have to deal with cravings that can occur for an extended period of time. For these reasons many heroin addicts need the help of a treatment center to kick the habit.
How Narconon Helps
The Narconon drug treatment program has been helping heroin addicts for more than 40 years. In comparison to other treatment programs Narconon is unique in its holistic approach, which is designed to not only treat the client’s addiction but also addresses specific areas that can cause them to trip up in sobriety. The following are five ways that the Narconon program handles heroin addiction:
1. Drug-free withdrawal – Narconon is drug-free program than never uses replacement drugs to assist in getting clients off of heroin. Instead the client is helped through the withdrawal process with the aid of nutritional supplements and light exercises administered by the withdrawal staff that help make the process as painless as possible.
2. Sauna detoxification – Once a Narconon client is through their initial withdrawal period they are ready to start the New Life Detoxification Program. Also known as the sauna program, this phase is designed to thoroughly detoxify the client and remove all residues that are stored in the body during their drug use. The sauna is a carefully monitored program of nutritional supplements, light exercise, and time spent in the sauna, which many clients say greatly reduce or completely alleviate all drug cravings.
3. Communication skills – In active addiction a heroin addict falls out of communication with themselves, their loved ones, and with their environment. Narconon uses simple communication drills to help an addict regain or improve their communication skills.
4. Life skills – A client at Narconon is seen as a student rather than a patient. Narconon students complete a series of life skills courses designed to help them live a drug-free life after graduating the program.
5. Comprehensive discharge planning – All Narconon graduates work with staff to make a workable plan they can follow in order to have the greatest chance of success of staying clean once they leave the program.
While Narconon has had a long-standing policy of its staff following up with program graduates in order to assist them in applying their new life skills after returning to their communities, they have recently released the results of a new Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) procedure they are using to standardize these results.
ROM uses surveys which are based on recommendations from SAMHSA and have been developed by outside research scientists. The results of these surveys are released in easy to read reports and show that for the time period of 2006-2007 over 70% of graduates had stayed clean after leaving the program based on reviews and outcome studies.