Does Ibogaine Treatment Work for Addiction?

What is Ibogaine?

Ibogaine is a psychoactive substance which causes hallucinogenic effects. It is found in plant roots of the Igoba bush in the Apocynaceae family in West Africa and has traditionally been used for tribal initiation ceremonies in Gabon and Cameroon. In recent years it has gained popularity as a supposed reliever of withdrawal symptoms from opiate drugs, heroin, cocaine and alcohol.

How is Ibogaine Supposed to Treat Withdrawal Symptoms?

Although there has been little and inconclusive research into ibogaine treatment, due to the drug being illegal in many countries, treatment centers using it advertise its effectiveness in treating addiction to opioid drugs like heroin.

Ibogaine is often described as “resetting” brain functions related to drug use. Ibogaine is said to be an opioid antagonist: it binds with opiate receptors in the brain, interacts with serotonin and dopamine levels and disrupts cravings and opiate withdrawal symptoms. It is thus claimed to return these receptors to a “pre-addicted” state.

Effects of Ibogaine

Ibogaine effects vary according to the dosage ingested. The Guardian reports that its effects vary from mild “aphrodisiac effects” and “a mellow euphoric trip” to visions, “deep spiritual experiences” and “high levels of analytical mental activity”.

We strongly discourage people from using ibogaine to treat alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms as it is not an evidence-based treatment for drug addiction and its results are ineffective. A trip on ibogaine does not tackle the underlying causes of the addiction. Ibogaine consumption can cause dangerous side effects and even death. There have been recorded deaths linked to ibogaine consumption in the UK.

The Legal Status of Ibogaine

Ibogaine is currently banned in the United States, Norway, Belgium and Switzerland. In the UK it is classified as an unlicensed, experimental medicine which is legal to possess but illegal to distribute. A handful of countries have approved the use of ibogaine as a prescription medication, these include Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa. Although it remains unregulated and unlicensed in most other countries, it is still freely available online.

Adverse Effects and Risks of Taking Ibogaine

The health risks of using ibogaine are quite well-documented:

  • Loss of muscle control
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in blood pressure and pulse
  • Serious strain on the heart, leading to heart arrhythmias and eventually heart attacks. Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors should avoid ibogaine.
  • Exposure to dangerous situations: there are some very unscrupulous ibogaine dealers and supposed ‘supervisors’ that are preying on addicts’ desperation
  • As ibogaine is a mind-altering hallucinogenic substance, it can cause disturbing hallucinations, serious mood disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD.

Ibogaine Treatment Centers

Ibogaine has been used as a complementary treatment for drug addiction in a many centers around the world, such as Canada, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa and Italy, where it is either legal, unregulated or can be prescribed by a licensed medical professional, and is subject to certain conditions.

Despite this, there is a lack of proper research of its effects and its use has been associated with serious side effects and even death. The treatment centers using it have no comprehensive research studies or outcome results to support their claims of ibogaine as a miracle treatment for drug addiction and most only sustain their claims through video testimonials.

The Evidence-Based Alternative to Ibogaine

At Castle Craig Rehab we provide an evidence-based treatment programme for the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addiction that has been carefully constructed over 30 years of experience in treating addictions. We are committed to evidence-based addiction treatment and we follow the latest research in our sector.

Detox is medically managed, under 24/7 supervision and each patient has their own detoxification plan, tailored to their needs. We make detox as comfortable and safe as possible. Our team is made up of highly trained, qualified therapists, nurses and doctors, led by a Consultant Psychiatrist.

We treat the patient holistically, ensuring the recovery of both their physical and emotional health. No substance like ibogaine could address the long-term patterns of thought and behavior that are specific to the illness of addiction. We use specialist therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy, trauma therapy, grief therapy to treat underlying conditions that ibogaine cannot address: e.g. PTSD, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc.

Our residential rehab programme consists of medical care, alcohol and drugs detox, specialist and complementary addiction therapies. Patients attend individual and group psychotherapy to explore and uncover the root causes of their addiction.

Our treatment model is based on a 12-Step approach, combining medically managed treatment with a 12-Step programme. We treat alcohol and drug addiction as a primary, chronic illness and complete abstinence is a prerequisite for long-lasting recovery.

We give great importance to the discharge planning, whereby each patient receives a personalised two-year supervised aftercare plan. This includes weekly aftercare group sessions, referral back to their GP and other medical professionals involved in their recovery, contact within their local 12-step support groups and recommendations of local recovery coaches.

Contact Us for Safe Rehab Treatment

If you are looking for rehab for opiate and opioid drugs, cocaine, alcohol and other drugs, contact us. Our admission team is happy to provide all necessary information about our programme, which includes safe management of drugs withdrawal symptoms.