Dr. Martin Polanco
Ibogaine therapy for anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and the lives of those who suffer in all countries of the world. There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations.
They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behavior and relationships with others. Some mental disorders include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
There’s no single cause for mental disorders and multiple factors can contribute to the risk of developing a mental illness.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental illness. About half of the U.S. population will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life. Medication and talk therapy are useful for many people, but much needs to be done to help and sustain a healthy mental and emotional state of being. Recently the use of psychedelic therapy is proving very effective in treating mental disorders. More and more research is being done on the use of psychedelic therapy as a viable alternative to heal symptoms from various disorders.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and depressive disorders have distinct symptoms but they also overlap. For example someone with anxiety might experience depressive symptoms and someone with post-traumatic stress disorder might experience depression. Scientists note that the occurrence of these overlapping symptoms may infer that there are neurological similarities between the conditions.
Scientists are investigating what is happening in the brains of people with these disorders by analyzing brain scans. They searched for brain regions that were either more active or less active in the participants with mental health conditions than in the control group.
Researchers found that certain features of brain activity were consistent across mood disorders, PTSD and anxiety disorders. They found that people with these issues had less activity in the regions of the brain involved in emotional and cognitive control. These regions play an important role in stopping cognitive and behavioral processes and switching to new ones.
There is also a strong correlation in scientific literature between deficiencies in neurotransmitters and these disorders, and people often use psychiatric medication to try to restore the balance of dopamine and serotonin, often with negative side effects and little result.
Ibogaine therapy has been used in addiction treatment since the 1980's, and more recently in the treatment of anxiety, depression and PTSD. Research shows that ibogaine stimulates the growth of new neurons and promotes the brain’s ability to modify connections and rewire itself. The lack of brain activity in some regions of the brain of those suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD can be restored with the use of ibogaine. Ibogaine also helps in regulating dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which are affected by mood disorders, these chemicals are associated with mood-stabilizing, pleasure and feelings of well-being.
Ibogaine has healing effects on the psychological self, it helps to resolve trauma, aggression, fear and grief by helping people gain insight through visions and facilitating introspection.
Those suffering from PTSD experience symptoms like panic attacks, flashbacks, sleep disturbance, anxiety, anger, irritation and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, that are triggered when the brain is not able to deal with traumatic experiences and feelings. During an ibogaine experience the person with PTSD is able to ‘review’ past trauma and get insights on how past events affected their way of being, allowing the person to unblock feelings and facilitate the closure of unresolved emotional conflicts.
After the ibogaine administration the individual suffering from PTSD may release negative thoughts and experience less negative feelings, finding more inner peace. As part of the ibogaine effect there’s a state of ‘witnessing’ or being able to be an objective observer, which allows for greater self-awareness and for the individual to move forward with his/her life. It is important that after ibogaine the individual has a support group and coaching or therapy to integrate the psychedelic experience for the greatest benefit.