Guest Article - Aeden Smith
The reality of addiction is ugly, frightening, and it’s closer to each and every one of us than we think. Opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions in this country, even to the point of being a national emergency, and it isn’t slowing down. There seems to be no permanent release from this self-designed prison of drug use and enabling, and it’s starting to show.
The face of opioid addiction isn’t relegated to the homeless addict covered in track marks, or the masked gunman robing the pharmacy. It has touched our friends, our parents, our children, and our loved ones from every walk of life. Addiction is changing, and it’s time that our treatment options were, too.
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a lesser-known treatment option that has been proven to be effective for treating opiate and heroin addiction. It’s a psychedelic derivative from African plants found in the Apocynaceae family that actually acts as an opioid agonist. This means that is binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, and can interrupt the action of addictive opioids. Ibogaine renews neurological structures in the brain to the way they were before the addiction, thus “resetting” the brain.
Ibogaine’s strong psychedelic properties, combined with an ability to help a person disassociate temporarily, have been amazingly effective in breaking the hold of dangerous and addictive drugs.
Why is Ibogaine Important?
It’s apparent that traditional treatment options and rehabilitation programs are failing on a large and very deadly scale. According to the Centre for Disease control, well over 183,000 people have died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2015. This number has grown drastically over the last two years, and will continue to grow without more effective methods of intervention.
Professionals have tried throwing more chemicals at a problem that revolves around chemical dependency. If this sounds strangely useless and illogical—that’s because it often is.
Addiction to opiates and heroin brings with it a severe risk of overdose. This places an incredibly high price on the effectiveness of treatment. Drugs like Suboxone and Methadone have provided a type of crutch for those who need to stop using illegal substances.
But these drugs don’t necessarily free the addict from their chemical love affair with opioids. They simply replace an illegal opioid with a legally prescribed one. And with Methadone having one of the highest overdose rates, it can be a dangerous option.
Ibogaine treatment has the potential to stop opioid dependence when used correctly in conjunction with other natural treatment methods. It can also open addicts up to new personal insight that can help lead to long-term success.
Studies In Ibogaine Treatment
These claims haven’t been made without serious scientific backing. Ibogaine has been extensively studied and tested in areas where its use is both legal and encouraged for the treatment of addiction. It has been proven particularly effective when combating the terrible symptoms of opioid withdrawals.
Withdrawals from opioids are among some of the most physically and mentally brutal in the world. Even a matter of hours without an opioid can begin the withdrawal process. Many of us associate the cold sweats along with uncontrollable shaking as the primary tells for someone ‘coming down’ off of drugs. These are far from the only unpleasant things that they can expect to experience.
Extreme nausea accompanied by vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers, uncontrollable movements, and even seizures can start as soon as opioid levels begin dropping within the body. These withdrawals have been known to lead to death in cases of severe dependency. The fear of going through these withdrawals is part of what motivates some drug users to continue using.
Ibogaine has been administered in therapeutic doses during different parts of the withdrawal process. In every level of withdrawal, Ibogaine has been shown to significantly decrease the discomfort and symptoms of the subject.
According to the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, “It has been shown to decrease the self-administration of stimulants, opiates and alcohol, as well as to significantly reduce the withdrawal symptoms from opiates after a single administration.”
What this means is that after only one Ibogaine administration—addicts were reporting results! Ibogaine able to do something that no other drug has ever been able to do, it frees the individual of their addiction while easing the symptoms of withdrawal.
Numbers Don’t Lie
In other tests performed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, up to 50% of addicts treated with Ibogaine were able to maintain their sobriety at one year after treatment stopped. Compared to a relapse rate of up to 90% by those who were treated with things like Suboxone and traditional methods these results are very promising.
However, with so little scientific study, Ibogaine still needs further testing to understand how effective it could be on a larger scale.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Addiction?
Scientists all over the world who have become familiar with the use of Ibogaine for addiction continue to lobby for more widespread Ibogaine treatment options (learn more at Experience Ibogaine treatment) Ibogaine shows real potential and value as a possible solution to current opioid epidemic.
It’s imperative that we seek more alternative treatment options for those who deserve a better life. Addiction doesn’t have to define the person—the key is helping addicts move forward in whatever ways work best for them.