Ibogaine extracted from the root of the Iboga shrub in West Africa is being considered as a way to help treat alcohol and drug abuse. Ibogaine is an alkaloid with psychedelic and anti-addictive properties that many people pursue when traveling or trying to overcome past traumas. There have been varying stories about what Ibogaine actually does or how it helps people process their “inner demons”. As a psychedelic drug, when utilized in a safe and responsible setting, many recovering addicts claim to experience “breakthroughs” of insight into the roots of an addictive pattern. But can Ibogaine actually cure addiction in any way?
The main question asked regarding Ibogaine is, is this a cure for personal addictions? And the main to-the-point answer is:
No, Ibogaine does not cure addiction.
It has, however, notably helped some people through the addiction treatment process. Small doses of Ibogaine are known for eliminating withdrawal symptoms. It also induces therapeutic hallucinations with the presence of a therapist or a trained guide. The patient has to have the intention to quit, and of course, proper aftercare needs to be established for Ibogaine to be successful.
Ibogaine can be rather controversial. It’s important to know that Ibogaine (or psychoactive substances in general) are not for everyone. You need to make sure it’s a valid treatment option for you before seeking an addiction treatment center or retreat that offers it. Those seeking addiction treatments or those who are curious about how Ibogaine helps with substance abuse have come to the right place.
How Ibogaine Helps Treat Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal
Using opiates, alcohol, nicotine, and psychostimulants might feel good at first, which leads most people to continue using it. But even after only a few uses, the brain receptors become accustomed to wanting more. This is when tolerance starts to build. It no longer matters how a substance might make a user feel because now it is a growing biological addiction, as well as a psychological want.
What many may not realize is that addiction is a disease not only because it harms the body, but because it also affects neurological receptors in the brain. These receptors inside the mind drive addiction and tell the body that it needs opiates, alcohol, nicotine, or psychostimulants to feel back to normal.
So when users try to overcome an addiction, their bodies make it more difficult to quit regardless of the person’s intention. This is called withdrawal.
Symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal are:
- Overpowering cravings for drugs or alcohol
- Cold sweats
- Muscle and joint pain
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme hunger
- Difficulty thinking clearly
Ibogaine metabolizes in the body as Noribogaine. Noribogaine is a type of serotonin reuptake inhibitor that also binds to opioid receptors. It’s a compound that resets the brain back to its pre-addictive state and prevents overdose. Forty-five minutes after the dose is administered very little of the listed withdrawal symptoms will be experienced due to the effect Noribogaine has on such neurological receptors.
Noribogaine turns off the neurological receptors that crave more drugs or alcohol for months. Addicts have a better chance at becoming clean and staying sober because they no longer have to withstand unbearable withdrawal symptoms while they detox.
Psychedelic Effects of Ibogaine
As Ibogaine turns off the withdrawal process, it often induces a psychedelic state. This state is said to have a therapeutic effect that can help patients gain insight into their lives– as well as their addiction. Sometimes, the process of undergoing a psychedelic experience with the aim of confronting addiction head-on can deliver positive results. Other times, it can leave an individual confused, scared, or exhausted.
During clinical trials of what some doctors call Ibogaine Therapy, patients describe their psychoactive experience as a waking dream that extends four to six hours. The dream state without a loss of consciousness is called a lucid dream. This state produces brain waves with the same characteristic of REM sleep.
Within this waking dream state, people often see visions of the past and replays of life events that led to addiction. These visions are called closed-eye visuals. They are intense and vivid, but other than that the visuals depend entirely on the individual. These visions sometimes assist the patient in conquering fear and negative emotions that may drive their habits. Many visuals also explore mental health issues and behavioral patterns that relate to addictions and other psychological problems.
Patients undergoing Ibogaine treatment are encouraged to explore any ideas and emotions the visuals evoke. After the effects wear off, people still remember what they went through, and some immediately feel changed.
Side Effects of Ibogaine
Clinical supervision with the use of Ibogaine therapy in the treatment of addiction is highly recommended. The lack of research on Ibogaine and its effects on the body means self-treatment is discouraged.
The positive side effects of Ibogaine treatment include:
- Spiritual and personal insight
- Mood lift
- Closed eye visuals
- Open eye visuals
- A physical “purge” of toxins
- A decrease in painful withdrawal symptoms
- Greater sexual desire
On the other hand, the adverse potential side effects of Ibogaine include:
- Heart failure
- Difficulty with coordination
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Dangerous situations if the person providing Ibogaine is NOT a trusted source
These symptoms may last four to twenty-four hours. Ibogaine may be given by enema to avoid vomiting because that causes loss of the medication dose if taken orally. Psychiatric medications are given with Ibogaine treatment to offset any of the adverse side effects.
Most of these effects vary depending on dosage, so discuss concerns with the medical professional that will be administering Ibogaine treatments. These side effects may seem harmful, but under supervision, the risk of succumbing to any of these effects is not likely.
The Varying Results – Does Ibogaine Cure Addiction?
In some clinical trials, Ibogaine treatment resulted in many individuals being able to make adaptive changes to their lifestyle once they gained insight into the cause of their addiction through closed eye visuals. They also reported an improvement in mood and anxiety symptoms, making it easier to quit alcohol and opioid addiction.
Many testimonials regarding Ibogaine mention that after a few days, they experienced the following:
- Feeling as if a fog has been lifted (clear-headedness).
- Feeling distanced from their addiction.
- Knowing they no longer will use.
- Feeling healthier and happier.
- Wanting to make amends with people they had forgotten about.
- Ready to start living their lives to the fullest.
Afterward, many patients felt free from their addiction. Patients have little to no cravings and a new outlook on life after Ibogaine therapy. Additional Ibogaine treatments have been needed at a lower dosage for some individuals to feel the psychological effects more strongly.
Intent is Key
Patients that seek out an Ibogaine treatment without the intent to quit will not be successful. This medicine brings out deep-rooted feelings and experiences during the process, so it will be easy to tell if there is no intent to quit drugs or alcohol.
Obviously, Ibogaine is not a quick-fix solution that can magically make someone fully healed. Whether or not it’s probable that Ibogaine cures addiction is still up for debate and study. There’s no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to addiction recovery! However, we enjoy opening a discussion for relevant topics in the drug and alcohol addiction world, and Ibogaine is growing in popularity.
The Importance of Aftercare
After Ibogaine treatment, patients should begin counseling and enter into a support group. Therapy will allow you to explore any triggers, trauma, or relationships in your life that could cause you to go back to your addiction.
Aftercare is an essential step in the recovery process when using Ibogaine. You have to continue treating an addiction, even after withdrawal symptoms are gone, to reduce the risk of relapse prevention. Addiction is a lifelong process which is why it’s crucial to remember Ibogaine isn’t a face or an instant cure. It’s simply something that has helped certain individuals find clarity and a new perspective in their recovery from harsh substances like meth, heroin, or other drugs.
There may have been a lot to take in while reading this article. Here is a brief recap of the main points to remember regarding Ibogaine treatment:
- Ibogaine is not a cure-all.
- It potentially helps treat addiction by eliminating withdrawal symptoms.
- The psychoactive properties of Ibogaine induce closed-eye hallucinations that may help patients gain objective insights on their addiction, their past, and their overall worldview.
Aftercare is an essential part of any recovery process, including support and medical assistance if necessary. You have to continue to get into the deep-rooted aspects of who you are and why you felt the need to use in the first place to avoid relapse. Those who do not have genuine intentions of getting clean will likely not be successful long-term.
Ibogaine might not be an instant cure-all, but with more research and clinical trials, it could one day help save countless lives from the pitfalls of addiction and accidental overdose.
If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 855-953-1345