Can Ibogaine Clinics Treat Alcoholism?

Addiction treatment

Most of the news stories you’ll see about ibogaine clinics talk about how this “miracle drug” can be used to treat very serious drug problems, from opiate addictions to cocaine addictions. These hard drugs are notoriously difficult to kick, and any treatment program that claims to cure them is sure to raise a lot of attention.

But what about other addictions, such as alcoholism? While alcohol addiction is often perceived as less “serious” than other hard drugs, it’s also much more devastatingly common. A 2014 survey suggests that over 130 million Americans consume alcohol on a regular basis, and this addictive substance can lead to fatal health issues as well as impaired driving on the roads. Many former alcoholics face a lifetime of recovery; the mantra “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” is key to many 12-step programs encouraging people to abstain from drinking, even if cravings persist.

Ibogaine therapy involves the use of a psychedelic drug that is said to eliminate addicts’ cravings and desires for any kind of drug. If it works for methadone and methamphetamines, would it also work for alcohol?

While the drug is still mostly experimental (and illegal in the United States), studies so far suggest that it can be effective for reducing up to 98% of opiate withdrawal symptoms, as well as significant reductions in cravings for stimulants and alcohol.

Most alcoholics in recovery are taught that they are never free from addiction, that the temptation may always haunt them. But what if ibogaine could eliminate those cravings, and make the lure of alcohol a non-issue for former addicts?

Since the drug’s legal status makes it incredibly difficult for researchers to conduct further trials and studies, it may be a long time before we know the answers for sure. However, many people have already taken a leap of faith and traveled to ibogaine clinics in Mexico, South America, or parts of Europe in an attempt to quell their cravings for good.

Some U.S. health experts warn that there aren’t yet enough long-term studies to analyze the lasting effects of the treatment. But others still say that this is too promising a cure to ignore. The future of ibogaine may be up in the air, but one thing’s for sure: America’s drinking problem isn’t going anywhere.

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