Ibogaine is an experimental alternative treatment for substance addiction. It has been recognized as a drug that can vastly reduce the symptoms of drug withdrawals and may have the ability to interrupt pathways in the brain that have been conditioned to support a addiction. Large doses of ibogaine have been shown to temporarily eliminate substance-related cravings. Ibogaine is the active chemical in the African Tabernanthe iboga root that is used in traditional ceremonies and rituals in West African Bwiti religion. The root has strong, long lasting psychedelic qualities, including intense hallucinations and as such is a Schedule I drug in the United States. It should be noted that the drug does not have addictive qualities and is unlikely to be a popular recreational substance.
Ibogaine has been found to have therapeutic benefits for individuals who suffer from addiction, particularly opiate addiction. It has also been found to provide effective relief for people suffering methamphetamine, alcohol or cocaine addiction or obsessive compulsive disorders. Advocates of ibogaine suggest that the drug has an 80 percent success rate when opiate addicts are treated.
Ibogaine has benefits for treating addiction because of the way it acts on receptor systems. It has been found to reset the dopamine uptake pathways in the brain which then can help to stop conditioned responses to a drug. It is also believed that the drug changes habitual thought patterns and restores normal levels of neurochemistry. Additionally, the strong psychedelic qualities of the drug have benefits for individuals who have difficult psychological concerns that contribute to their drug abuse.
Ibogaine is an Experimental Treatment
Because ibogaine is an experimental treatment, it should never be used except by authorized and approved therapists. It must be taken with extreme care and caution and only be administered under strict medical supervision. There are very few approved ibogaine treatment centers in the world, but some are set up in Mexico, Australia and parts of Europe. Estimates suggest that the drug has a mortality rate of 1 in 300. A thorough medical evaluation should always be conducted prior to the treatment along with a psychiatric assessment. Individuals who have heart conditions, high blood pressure, are at risk of stroke or aneurysm, have liver or kidney disease or hypoglycemia should not use this drug. Additionally, people who have a history of psychological illness should avoid this using this substance.
Ibogaine has a number of serious side effects. These include severe nausea, vomiting, numbness of skin plus intense auditory and visual hallucinations which last up to 20 hours on a single dose. Users will often be immobilized during the experience and experience sleeplessness for a few days after ingestion. When under the influence, people may have anxiety, physical discomfort and intense emotional distortions which can be both comforting and scary.
One of the most significant effects of ibogaine is the psychological healing that the drug can provide to some people. The hallucinations that most people experience when under the influence of the drug typically include replays of life events, trauma, events that have lead to the addiction, people they are associated with and also reasons and causes of their addiction. Many people report finding answers to questions about themselves and their lives and that they have a deeper understanding of their place in the world and the reason for being. A new way of life and a new sense of self is often an important starting point for many people trying to break their addiction.
Ibogaine has benefits for resolving trauma, aggression, fear and grief. People will experience acute and critical insights into their problems in a non-confrontational and dream-like state. It is believed that the drug causes an awakened dream state where the conscious and unconscious are merged and current issues or situations are traced back to past events.
Many people will find that they undergo an intense emotional upheaval when under the influence of ibogaine. The drug can be tiring physically and emotionally because of the serious and all-encompassing nature of the hallucinations. People can be forced to face traumatic and upsetting events and memories that are blocking future development and change. The nature of this introspection is important for people with a substance addiction as they are often treating their emotions and problems with a drug. Treatment with this drug should also include psychotherapy in the period after the drug has been used to help a person comprehend and deal with the issues the drug has brought to a head.
With any treatment for substance abuse, individuals should always remember that there is no quick fix. Although this experimental alternative treatment appears to offer significant and impressive results, it is potentially dangerous and needs to be studied in further detail. Substance abuse occurs because of many different reasons and is contributed to by many things that need to be resolved entirely for a person to recover from the addiction. Ibogaine could possibly provide relief and a cure for some people, but not always.