Psychedelics for addiction

I will begin by quoting Gabor Maté's definition of addiction;

Addiction is manifested in any behavior that a person craves, finds temporary relief or pleasure from, but which one suffers from negative consequences, and which one still has difficulty giving up.

Based on this definition, many people may recognize themselves. Addiction embraces much wider than drugs, with everything from food, work, internet use, porn, exercise, sex and gambling.

What is the cause of addiction?

Many believe that addiction is basically a choice. Others believe it is based on genetic predisposition, a kind of hereditary disease. Or that it is the drug / act itself that is so addictive in itself that one cannot stop. From these points of view, it is believed that "saying no", punishment or detoxification programs will work well. Sometimes it works, but the results often fail.

But what if addiction has nothing to do with a (conscious) choice and not a gene you inherited? If you look at what you know today about the development of the brain / personality in the early years of development, you can see that it takes quite a bit for people to feel that "something is missing" in everyday life. Many people feel that you become more vulnerable to addiction if you are in a delayed period of life. Stress, sadness, boredom, frustration, anger are all catalysts for addiction. If you look at the reasons why the person is moving away from their normal life in the first place, you might get closer to the heart of the problem. See a lecture by Gabor Maté that explains this in detail here.

So how and why can psychedelics work?

For many people it may seem counterintuitive to use drugs to stop using drugs. I believe that the relationship with the drug is what separates use and abuse. One can take all drugs (or take actions) with the intention of limiting the experience of life, or extending it. If it is to limit the experience of life, there is an underlying reason for this, that ordinary life is not good enough.

Looking at addiction as a natural reaction / adaptation to a lack of attachment to oneself and the world around one can also explain how psychedelics or altered states of consciousness can affect addiction. Psychedelics give many a temporary feeling of being connected and satisfied with themselves, while at the same time experiencing or seeing things in a new light. This gives you an opportunity to feel the extent to which you have actually adapted, which in turn shows that there are opportunities for change.

A special plant for addiction

All classic psychedelics work well against addiction, but there is also a special herbal medicine that has proven particularly effective against heavy intoxication, iboga. This is a traditional African herbal medicine that has psychedelic and dissociative properties but is not classified as classic psychedelics. The active ingredient in iboga, ibogain, is legal to use in treatment in some countries such as Canada and Mexico and has shown good results. One of the reasons for this is that opioid addicts also experience an end to their physical dependence in addition to the psychic. There are some providers of this worldwide, but it is important to do research. It costs from $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 for a treatment and not everyone fully delivers what they promise. There is a little guide to get you started here. It is also important to know that the physical stress of such treatment is greater than that of classical psychedelics, so it is extra important to have medical personnel on site.

More information about psychedelic therapy?