People have been dealing with addiction for decades, and for just as many of the patients have been relapsing.
The inability to adjust treatment to every patient and the poor durability of the detox phase are only some of the many reasons for which traditional treatment and detox are losing popularity. Patients looking for longer-lasting detox results and a better chance for a sober living have been checking the natural alternative. Ibogaine treatment is one of them, and the results are impressive.
With science relying on numbers, it’s understandable why so many professionals are interested in the numbers before including ibogaine in their protocols.
What are the success rates for traditional treatment?
Traditional rehab centers boast to have anything from 30 to 90% success rate. However, some of the critics say that the success rate for conventional rehab is in reality under 30%. The 30% success rate refers to the patients who were able to complete the whole rehabilitation program. The success rate relative to all people who enroll in a program is even lower.
Lance Dodes, the author of “The Sober Truth,” thinks that the conventional rehab and alcoholics anonymous model success rate is only around 10%, which is incredibly low. A significant number of traditional treatment centers use the 12-step programs in the United States, which may be the culprit for the high rates of relapse in patients with addiction.
Why is ibogaine efficient for addiction treatment?
Ibogaine is a psychoactive drug generating hallucinogenic effects resembling those of LSD or psilocybin. Even if the drug may cause short-term side effects such as anxiety, it has been recognized for its role in addiction treatment.
More and more studies in the Western world look into ibogaine’s abilities to treat addiction, especially methamphetamine, opioids, and even cocaine.
Made from a plant from the African rainforest, ibogaine can adjust the brain chemistry of a patient who would otherwise present severe withdrawal symptoms. When taking ibogaine, the patient doesn’t have the withdrawal symptoms.
For now, some scientists believe that ibogaine is only interrupting the withdrawing, without putting an end to it. However, studies are ongoing, and more studies need to be developed for better understanding. But in ibogaine clinics, the effects are well known, and protocols are already in place for the various types of patients.
What’s the mechanism of ibogaine’s efficiency?
Many professionals define addiction as a chronic disease because of the long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward centers. When a patient takes ibogaine, it is turned into a compound (noribogaine) which aims the regions impacted by the addictive behaviors and drug-seeking behaviors. Noribogaine will make connections between the areas, and help the brain restructure itself to a state similar to the state before the addiction.
For many, ibogaine will alleviate the withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of cravings, which is more similar to detox and not stopping the addiction. Even if ibogaine is efficient, the ibogaine treatment is just a step to take for complete recovery from addiction.
What are the success numbers for ibogaine treatment?
Some of the medical professionals utilizing ibogaine for patients with methamphetamine addiction reported 50-80% success rates. However, the risk of later relapse and long-lasting recovery depends a lot on whether the patients also follow a rehabilitation treatment after the ibogaine treatment.
The number of studies on ibogaine’s efficiency isn’t very high, and research is developed as we speak. However, the reviews so far are very encouraging in terms of ibogaine’s efficiency for addiction treatment.
One of the first studies on ibogaine was developed in 1983, revealing that several sessions would be necessary for better efficiency. The study showed that four sessions of ibogaine treatment would help a patient remain sober for three years. A single ibogaine treatment would be useful for just six months, give or take.
At the end of the 90s, a study was made on 33 patients with heroin addiction who received ibogaine. Twenty-five of these patients didn’t present any withdrawal symptoms nor cravings 24 hours later. One of the patients died, but it was probably because of the cardiac risks associated with ibogaine treatment.
A later study in 2000 was done on 27 patients with cocaine and opioid addiction. They received just one dose (500-800mg) of ibogaine, reporting significant reduction of the cravings and alleviated symptoms later on. The effects lasted for 30 days, as the patients were still in rehab. The patients’ self-reporting and the lack of a control group are to mention, but the authors concluded that the results had to lead to further research.
MAPS also developed a preliminary observational study, revealing that ibogaine may reduce the risk of relapse for two months after receiving it. Thirty patients were involved in the study, which used the self-reporting to gathering the information. There was no control group, either.
In 2014, a retrospective study in Brazil led to even more encouraging results. The study took a look at 75 former drug addicts who utilized ibogaine to control the addiction. An impressive 61% of these patients were abstinent, and most of them didn’t use drugs for at least five months after the treatment.
Many professionals think that just one single dose of ibogaine helps patients handle withdrawal symptoms. They also assume that a single dose of ibogaine may help patients live a sober life for almost 12 months after ibogaine treatment. Two recent studies sustain these beliefs. The results show that ibogaine has an impressive pharmacological effect on opiate withdrawal. One study was conducted on 15 patients in new Zealand, and the other one was in Mexico, with 30 patients participating in the study.
The anecdotal reports have to be checked as well, as patients react differently when taking ibogaine. Some noted that they felt like seeing their lives from outside, which helped them understand the severe effects of their addiction. The new perspective on their lives pushed the patients to change their lives completely.
A doctor noted a 70-80% success rate with efficient aftercare. He also highlighted that people with a meth addiction who received ibogaine treatment but came back to the same environment where they abused methadone, relapsed later in 90% of the cases. The emotional connection and visual cues are very significant for people struggling with methamphetamine addiction, especially compared to people with opioid dependence.
When patients have ibogaine treatment, there’s a 20-50% rate of abstinence after one year, and patients with opioid dependence are also included. For a better understanding of the impressive efficiency of ibogaine, you should know that suboxone treatment for opioid dependency only has an 8.6% success rate from the moment the patient no longer needs to take it.
Keep in mind that ibogaine may not give results for everyone. A 2012 study on patients with opioid dependence revealed that 80% of them relapsed after six months after receiving ibogaine for once. Only 20% of them remained sober for more than six months, whereas 13% of the patients had a drug-free life for more than a year. However, the participants who relapsed took fewer opioid drugs compared to the past amounts.
Instead of a conclusion
It’s evident that ibogaine is very efficient for many people, but it should always take place under medical supervision as part of comprehensive addiction treatment. The rehab facility should have well-trained personnel who is ready to act if something goes wrong.
Ibogaine significantly reduces and may even eliminate the withdrawal symptoms. However, the efficiency depends on many factors, with aftercare and comprehensive addiction treatment as fundamental for success.
The treatment should also be developed with therapists, medical professionals, counselors, and other professionals in the rehabilitation domain. Addiction is a complicated condition, and the treatment should address all of its aspects. It’s what ensures a better rate of success.