In recent years, the pharmaceutical approach to treating mental health issues has grown significantly and now is a multi-billion dollar business. The first line treatment for depression, anxiety disorders and numerous other psychological disorders is now pharmaceutical.
Since these are mainly therapies which address symptoms, the roots of the problems are rarely discovered and treated. One reason for this is the materialist view of Western science. The current neuroscientific paradigm sees consciousness as a product of chemical and electrical processes in the brain and body, which is why mental afflictions are often reduced to neurophysiological dysfunctions and treated accordingly.
A purely pharmacological/materialist treatment disregards the spiritual or existential nature of mental problems. Medicines are prescribed on the basis of a neurotransmitter imbalance, usually within the dopamine and serotonin circuits.
Although Iboga/Ibogaine has similar effects on neurochemical imbalances in the brain as some of the prescription pharmaceuticals (eg, SSRI-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), Ibogaine also has a very deep spiritual component, which has been successful in combating depression, anxiety and the like. This spiritual component is considered by most patients to be a crucial part of their healing.
The effects achieved here are described as much more profound and longer-term than those of the conventional psycho-pharmaceuticals – and often only require a single treatment. One of the reasons for this is the psychedelic effect which helps to solve unprocessed trauma as well as unconscious emotional conflicts and blockages.
Many Iboga initiates begin to change their life habits after their initiation experience. They work on their diet, meditate, do more exercise and say goodbye to unfavourable habits and emotional ballast.
It is said that Iboga/Ibogaine, by revealing spiritual worlds, “breaks open the head”. Western psychiatry tends to downplay these direct forms of spiritual experience as primitive “animist” beliefs. In the worst case, the visions and experiences of initiates are pathologised and dismissed as delusions.
However, there are different approaches to unifying seemingly opposing views into an integrative whole. Transpersonal psychology is one of the pioneering disciplines in this field. In the meantime, there are many psychiatrists and psychologists who understand the existence of a spiritual dimension to healing and work with different alternative reality models.
Given the experience of a radical opening of consciousness can easily overwhelm the patient, therapeutic aftercare should be carefully planned when treating mental illness. The experience of initiation is very demanding both physically and mentally.
Regardless of whether Iboga/ibogaine is taken for personal / spiritual development, or for dealing with a mental problem, the consumption of the powder is only the beginning. The experience has to be integrated – a process that can last for days, weeks or even months depending on the patient.
Iboga/Ibogaine treatment is not a “high-speed psychotherapy” that miraculously solves all personal problems in a few hours. However, it can open up new perspectives and show ways to deal with what were viewed previously as insurmountable personal problems.
Integrating lessons learned during the Iboga/Ibogaine experience remains the responsibility of the patient. Especially when dealing with mental issues such as depression or social anxiety, Iboga/Ibogaine can release a flood of suppressed emotions and trauma that are difficult to deal with without professional help. The release of previously suppressed components of the personality can continue for a long time after the more obvious effects of the Iboga/Ibogaine has lapsed. It is therefore strongly recommended to include an open-minded psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist in the treatment plan.