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  • Writer's pictureDr. Martin Polanco

What is the success rate of an ibogaine treatment?

In the last decade ibogaine has shown its amazing potential qualities for the treatment of addiction to substances like opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol and other drugs. Research shows that ibogaine interrupts the process of addiction by getting rid of withdrawal symptoms and stopping cravings. Ibogaine brings back into balance the brain chemistry that has been affected and damaged by the substance abuse, by rewiring the brain and releasing dopamine and serotonin - the feel good chemicals.

The long-term use of a substance changes the reward centers of the brain. The healing effects of ibogaine are not only happening during the ibogaine experience but also weeks and months afterwards. Ibogaine is stored in the fat and the liver in the form of nor-ibogaine, fatty tissues slowly release it into the body allowing for a long-lasting healing effect. Nor-ibogaine targets areas of the brain affected during substance abuse and addictive behaviors. Ibogaine and nor-ibogaine rewires the brain structures to a state similar to before addiction was triggered.

While ibogaine can stop withdrawal and prevent cravings, the process is more like a detox than an ending to addiction. The person may not feel the need for the drug physically, still psychologically and emotionally there might be triggers and tendencies that need to be changed to stop the addiction and prevent relapse.

The success of an ibogaine treatment depends largely on planning for long-term recovery, whether entering a rehabilitation program, aftercare program and continuing therapy and group meetings.

Medical professionals who have used ibogaine for methamphetamine addiction, report that 50-80 percent of success rates for those who attend aftercare and rehabilitation programs. For the treatment of opioid addiction, ibogaine has a success rate of 20-50 percent after a one-year follow up point. In comparison, Suboxone treatment for opioid addiction has a success rate of 8.6 percent.

The success rate of 50-80 percent for those recovering from meth addiction was achieved when they received proper aftercare. Though when the person went back to their environment where they abused meth, the relapse rate was 90 percent after an ibogaine treatment.

The importance of aftercare, rehabilitation programs, therapy and group meetings should be part of the planning for an ibogaine treatment, clinics must address this with each of their clients for a successful recovery from addiction.

Ibogaine treatment may be effective for most people, though it may not work for everyone. A study in 2012 showed that people with an opioid addiction would relapse 80 percent of the time within the first 6 months, with only one ibogaine treatment; 20 percent stayed abstinent for more than six months but less than one year; and 13 percent successfully stayed addiction free after a year or more. This study did not include the aftercare and rehabilitation programs only the one time ibogaine treatment.

Studies are being conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to track the long-term efficacy of ibogaine assisted detoxification for opiate addiction.

Some preliminary results show that between 20% to 50 % of the clients remained free from the use of the substance for at least 12 months. Some of the factors influencing the results were the follow-up from clinics and plans for continuing care.

Ibogaine acts as an “interrupter” of the dependence and abuse to substances, it detoxifies the body and brain, bringing back into balance the chemicals in the body, a sense of wellbeing. For successful recovery it’s important the person is in an environment conducive to healing, to recovery and abstinence. At Crossroads we provide pre/post aftercare support and work with our clients to help them plan their recovery after ibogaine.

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