Opiate drugs are highly addictive and even prescribed at times if alcohol is very easy to access and cheap. Opiate addiction is a severe condition, affecting more than 27 million people in the world. Only in the United States, more than 11 million people misuse opioids, and more than 100 people die every day from opiate abuse.
However, the problem with opiate and opioids abuse is global, and many people go from using to abusing opiates and opioids. As both opiates and opioids are highly addictive, addiction treatment is complicated. The withdrawal symptoms are very hard for the patients and are defined as the main reason people avoid going to rehab.
What should one know about opiate detox?
The typical opiate detox is a medical process by which the addictive abilities cleanse the body of opiates. The primary purpose of opiate detox is to reduce the withdrawal symptoms so that the patients may continue their addiction treatment.
People reach for opiates and opioids for many reasons, and people end up with opioid addiction as doctors can prescribe them for managing pain. The opiates and opioid receptors in the brain are powerful enough for blocking pain, generating feelings of euphoria and calmness. They’re incredibly powerful, rewiring the brain and causing it to adjust to their presence. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time until the user won’t be able to function unless he/she takes the opiates/opioids.
When people end up struggling with opiates or opioid addiction, stopping the use of opiates will cause severe symptoms after 6-12 hours of quitting the substances. The symptoms of withdrawal can be challenging to handle by the patient. The severity of these symptoms depends a lot on the severity of the addiction, but here are the most common withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps
- Tension in muscles
Opiate detox is supposed to reduce the severity of symptoms while keeping the patients safe throughout the withdrawal process. The risk for patients to experience seizures or hallucinations is rather high. A reliable detox would reduce the risk of relapsing, placing the patients in a better mental phase than before the treatment.
However, the risk of relapse is still high, and medical detox doesn’t lead to the long-lasting results that patients aim for. Alternative therapies had to be created, and somehow ibogaine appeared along the way.
What’s to say about ibogaine in a few words?
Just like many other natural remedies, ibogaine is also coming from an African plant. It’s a psychoactive alkaloid that appears naturally in the iboga plant. However, low concentrations of ibogaine have been detected in the rest of iboga, together with various indole alkaloids from the same category.
Why is ibogaine efficient in opiate detox?
Initially, ibogaine was used to address opioid dependency and became a reliable tool in the treatment of alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine addiction. Ibogaine is capable of blocking the addiction, alleviating, and even eliminating the withdrawal symptoms in opiate detox. To some extent, ibogaine works as nicotine patches that smokers use when quitting smoking.
It’s important to mention that there are only anecdotal studies on people who switched from traditional treatment to ibogaine treatment for opiate or opioids addiction.
The more scientists study the effects of ibogaine throughout the detox phase, the more data they collect. New findings revealed that ibogaine might interrupt opiate and opioids addiction. As opiates and opioids kill people worldwide, any method giving positive results is worth further research.
It was noted that people experience fewer cravings and even don’t present withdrawal symptoms after taking ibogaine. Forty-eight hours after taking ibogaine, almost 80% of the patients didn’t present withdrawal symptoms.
It’s because ibogaine can stop the neurocircuitry of opiates and opioids while generating amazing psychological experiences. As a matter of fact, ibogaine is so strong that it eliminates the physical symptoms of withdrawal, but it also lowers the cravings for opiates. Unlike any other medical tool, ibogaine works on both the physical and the psychological level of opiate addiction. All other therapeutic agents for opiate addiction will treat only the physical level or only the psychological aspects of opiate addiction. For a better understanding, methadone addresses the physical elements, whereas naltrexone controls the psychological symptoms such as cravings. Apart from ibogaine, there is no other substance at the moment capable of controlling the physical and mental symptoms.
Let’s also mention that ibogaine will also generate a dream-like condition due to its psychedelic nature. Many of the patients taking ibogaine reported experiencing autobiographical trips. They watched their life like it was a movie, with them observing it from the outside. Patients got to find out the deep roots of their addiction, the traumas that made them abuse. Once they faced the deep causes of their addiction, they also got to discover the solutions for healing.
The side effects
Some instant side effects are noted for some patients right after taking ibogaine. Inability to control the muscle movements, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting was observed in some patients. The risk of heartbeat irregularities is also essential to mention, with people ending with cardiac arrest and even death. However, the fatality rate for ibogaine is low, and only 1 in 400 people may die.
Why isn’t ibogaine widely available for addiction treatment?
Anecdotal reports were noted in the 60s, highlighting the efficiency of ibogaine for addiction treatment, especially in opiate and opioid abuse. In the 70s, the United States government placed ibogaine in the Schedule I category. Therefore, research on ibogaine’s abilities for drug addiction treatment became challenging to undergo.
Ibogaine is one of the several psychedelic substances that are considered illegal in the U.S., despite its promising results. Even if the evidence has come mainly from anecdotal reports or studies with no group control, there is still enough proof to expand the use of ibogaine for opiate and opioids detox.
Like with any other psychedelic substance, the risk of misuse and abuse of ibogaine is very high. Even if there is a constant effort on the professionals’ part, there’s still a long road to take before ibogaine becomes widely available for addiction treatment.
What’s the conclusion?
The illegality of ibogaine in many countries slows down the research, despite the positive results. However, it goes without saying the ibogaine is a reliable tool for people in opiate and opioids detox. As it’s a potent substance, ibogaine should only be taken at safe rehab centers, where medical professionals and nurses can act if something goes wrong.
The risk for side effects isn’t null, and people with a cardiac condition may end up with cardiac arrest and even death when taking ibogaine.
It’s also important to mention that the path to recovery is long, and detox with ibogaine is just the first step to take. Patients still have to complete comprehensive addiction treatment and even avoid the environment where the addiction was born. Taking ibogaine will eliminate the withdrawal symptoms for six months, but people may still relapse if they only take ibogaine and don’t follow an addiction treatment program. It’s the same if they return to the place where the addiction was born.