3 alternative therapy options for overcoming addiction
24th April 2019
24th April 2019
There are no quick fixes or shortcuts for "curing" an addiction. Fortunately, though, we have more alternative therapy options available for treating addiction than ever before. For those looking to break the cycle, there are options out there that are far safer than methadone and far more effective than going “cold turkey”. Let’s look at three addiction treatment options which have already helped thousands of individuals overcome addiction.
Iboga (ibogaine) is a psychoactive substance found in Tabernathe Iboga, a West African shrub. It has been used in the healing ceremonies and coming of age rituals of the African Bwiti religion for thousands of years. In small doses, Ibogaine acts as a mild stimulant, and in larger doses, it puts the user into a psychedelic state. Many people have found that when used in large doses it can significantly reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms and help with substance-related cravings.
The substance acts as an “addiction-interrupter”, by taking receptors in an addict’s brain back to pre-addiction levels and significantly reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. A Mexican study found that after a single treatment with Ibogaine, two-thirds of the heroin addicts treated went a month without relapsing, and 4 of the study’s 30 participants were still sober one year later. A Brazilian study which experimented with ibogaine treatment and psychotherapy on 75 individuals addicted to cocaine, crack, alcohol and cannabis found that the “results suggest that the use of ibogaine supervised by a physician and accompanied by psychotherapy can facilitate prolonged periods of abstinence, without the occurrence of fatalities or complications.”
Ibogaine use does have side-effects and risks, including ataxia, seizures, and heart complications such as arrhythmia. It would be irresponsible to recommend its use without the supervision of a medical professional. But as part of a treatment plan that includes psychotherapy and medical supervision, it is a powerful tool for those battling addiction issues.
Kambo is the secretion of an Amazonian frog which has been used in traditional Shamanistic ceremonies and medical procedures in Brazil and Peru. The substance is secreted by the frog to ward off predators, but medical practitioners obtain it by capturing the amphibian, tying it to sticks, tapping its head, and scraping it off the frog’s back with a stick before releasing the animal unharmed. Practitioners traditionally make small surface burns on the patient's arms or back, and apply a drop of the substance with a piece of bark or a stick. Kambo then makes its way into the user’s lymphatic system, resulting in an intense head-rush and, often, a bout of vomiting.
The active ingredients in Kambo are peptides, protein-like molecules that neurons in the brain use to communicate with each other. The peptides found in Kambo have shown potential for treatment of various diseases, including cancer, auto-immune disorders, and inflammation. The peptides in Kambo have been reported to help people suffering from depression, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and various mood disorders. They are extremely helpful with detoxification and are becoming more and more popular around the world. At Tabula Rasa Retreat, we find that Kambo is extremely effective at preparing our patients for addiction treatment and helping them to have the safest, smoothest, and best-integrated experience possible.
Addiction is often linked to an array of mental health problems, ranging from depression to PTSD. Many substance abusers begin down the road to addiction attempting to treat feelings and symptoms of mental illness with alcohol and drugs. A wide variety of holistic treatment options have become popular in recent years, and more and more treatment professionals are becoming convinced of their efficacy.
Meditation and mindfulness are two powerful techniques that recovering addicts can use reconfigure their brains in the aftermath of addiction. By adapting and reshaping neural networks through these forms of therapy, those in recovery can break harmful patterns of thought and behavior, and transition toward healthier modes of living. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga and massage are all proven to reduce levels of cortisol, a harmful stress-related hormone, boost the immune system, and increase levels of energy.
Equine therapy is another holistic practice which is growing in popularity. A recent article in Psych Central lists the benefits of the practice, which include building trust and fostering healthy relationships. Because horses are pack animals who are extremely sensitive to emotional cues, patients can learn to build relationships based on positivity and mutual trust.
Other forms of Holistic Therapy, such as Kundalini Yoga, breath-work, drumming, and light therapy can have extremely helpful impacts on well-being following the detox process. Maintaining a sober and healthy lifestyle requires those in recovery to rebuild themselves emotionally and spiritually, and techniques such as these can help individuals connect with themselves and others, while positively addressing their traumas and the roots of their addiction.
Some in the field, like the author of this piece in Psychology Today, would argue that holistic treatments are not evidence-based, and have not been proven to work on their own. But even the most avowed skeptics would admit that these practices “may be helpful so long as they are used as adjuncts to evidence-based practices.” This approach is the foundation upon which Iboga Tree Healing house is built.
Why alternative therapy is a foundational aspect of addiction treatment at Iboga Tree Healing House
We are firmly convinced that these alternative addiction treatment modalities can have profound beneficial effects on those in recovery. Indeed, we have seen their effects firsthand on countless clients. Iboga Tree Healing house bridges the gap between conventional and holistic therapies like 12-step, Smart recovery, CBT, and counseling. At Iboga Tree healing House, we strongly believe that these therapies can and should be used in tandem with traditional addiction treatment modalities to heal the addicted and prepare them for living healthy, positive and productive lives.