Addiction is a global issue that encompasses all strata of society – not just stigmatised and marginal groups. The challenges of modern life push many people into unhealthy behaviour patterns, especially using pharmaceuticals and drugs.
In terms of solutions, withdrawal is less a challenge than the long period of abstinence subsequently required.
The brain’s reward system – also called the mesolimbic system – is a key factor in relapse. Artificial stimuli produced by recreational drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine, alcohol and heroin are many times stronger than endogenous neurotransmitter signalling, leading in severe cases to an apparently irreversible stunting of dopamine neurons. The latest research shows how the production of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) after consumption of Ibogaine stimulates the growth of new dopamine neuronal pathways, which helps addicts to relearn to be happy without the help of these very strong artificial stimuli.
Although scientific research has come up with various theories about the neurological processes involved with addiction, their full interactions are only partially known.
The addictive-interruption effect of Ibogaine is based on a mix of neuropharmacological signal cascades which is not yet fully understood. But beside the neuropharmacological effect of the plant, the spiritual component is explicitly emphasised by many Iboga initiates. A common experience during the experience is to return to situations which triggered the addiction, confronting demons or deepest fears, or encountering an guardian angel.
There is no known substance that detoxifies as quickly and sustainably from opiates and opioid-based addiction as effective as Iboga/Ibogaine.
However, Iboga/Ibogaine can only be a catalyst for change, not a permanent solution. The popular belief during the pioneer days of the Ibogaine movement – that liberation from drug addiction only takes one trip – is only found in the rarest cases.
Long-term abstinence from drugs requires complementary measures: a change in lifestyle and friends, therapy, meditation, yoga or exercise etc. Ibogaine-based detox has little success if the patient returns to their previous living conditions. A successful Ibogaine treatment must be carefully planned, with the post-treatment phase in particular filled with meaningful activity and a program of change. That said, the Ibogaine treatment itself can lead to dramatic changes in behaviour, thanks to the often profound insights gathered during the trip.
The European Iboga Forum 2017 will explore the idea of a holistic long-term Ibogaine treatment programme. A new study shows how the likelihood of long-term abstinence is increased by repeated Ibogaine treatments.