Addiction is a condition resulting from a person consuming a substance or engaging in an activity that brings him/her pleasure where the continued use/act becomes uncontrollable and interferes with other responsibilities. Most people may not be aware that their behavior has become detrimental to themselves and to others.
Ibogaine as Treatment for Addiction
Addiction treatment programs are typically classified into several general types or modalities. Most start with detoxification and medically managed withdrawal. However, detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social and behavioral problems related to addiction and do not usually produce permanent behavioral changes needed for recovery. Detoxification is also often accompanied by potentially lethal side effects due to withdrawal and so is managed with medications in an inpatient or out-patient setting.
Treatment approaches and individual programs are continuously evolving and many programs do not fit into conventional classifications. One type of treatment that is being used for addiction is ibogaine. Ibogaine is an alkaloid derived from the root bark of a West African shrub Tabernanthe iboga. In small doses, it is a mild stimulant but induces a psychedelic state in larger doses. It has been used in ceremonies and initiations of the Bwiti religion in different parts of West Africa.
Clinical trials have shown that low doses of ibogaine administered over a few weeks can significantly lessen cravings for heroin and other drugs. But some undergoing ibogaine therapy has stated that a single treatment with a higher dose is just as effective as multiple doses. This makes ibogaine treatment costs considerably lower than traditional rehabilitation treatments that may cost around $30,000. Treatment costs for ibogaine, on the other hand, range from $2000 to $6500 depending on which clinic you go to. As stated by those undergoing the treatment, it gives instantaneous relief from their withdrawal symptoms and no cravings were felt over the next six months.
However, despite earlier research, ibogaine’s mechanism for action is still not understood. This is mainly due to lack of controlled human trials and some have recommended that future research should be done. Prospects for a painless withdrawal method make this treatment an attractive alternative. Since ibogaine disrupts substance associated disorders, it provides patients an upper hand on their road to recovery.