Ibogaine, ayahuasca and other psychedelics generate changes in brain activity that can help to facilitate recovery from addiction – as long as they are capitalised upon. In particular, greater serotonin regulation and the creation of more flexible patterns of cognition often leads to a period of greater emotional balance and an enhanced ability to resist cravings.
Known as the psychedelic afterglow, this effect can last for anything from a few days to three months after treatment, and it offers a vital window of opportunity to deal with key issues. Many people discover that it becomes possible to observe their thoughts and feelings with greater objectivity during this period, and can therefore gain new perspectives on their pain and trauma.
However, this effect won’t last forever and doesn’t always provide protection against the minefield of triggers that have to be encountered on a daily basis. For this reason, it is essential to spend some time away from one’s regular environment immediately after psychedelic treatment in order to experience the full benefit of the afterglow, deal with one’s issues and begin experiencing life from a whole new perspective. This will provide time to build up the tools that are necessary to cope with everyday life without becoming overwhelmed and relapsing. In contrast, simply returning to the stresses, crises and triggers that shaped one’s addiction in the first place will make it extremely difficult to fully integrate the psychedelic experience and establish a connection to one’s self.
Of course, even those who do spend some time away from home after their psychedelic treatment will eventually have to return, so it’s equally important to identify new ways of navigating one’s environment so that triggers can be eliminated. This can involve anything from getting rid of certain pieces of furniture or other objects that are associated with one’s drug using rituals, to taking up new hobbies and activities or cutting certain people out of one’s life.
Psychedelics are therefore not a cure for addiction, but can assist people in making certain changes that can bring about healing. This is something that indigenous communities worldwide have developed a deep understanding of, and use this wisdom to help people overcome their problems by attaching to new life paths. For example, Bwiti healing rituals involving iboga may result in the patient being given a new name and new responsibilities, and involve the participation of the entire community. This transform the patient’s relationships and day-to-day life, as they now have a more satisfying status within their village and are required to engage in more communal activities. This, in turn, generates greater self-esteem and a feeling of belonging, helping them to leave behind their previous life of isolation and pain.
In other words, healing occurs when plants like iboga, ayahuasca, peyote and others are used not simply for their mind-altering effects, but to bring about rites of passage that alter a person’s life forever. At the end of the day, psychedelics may generate a feel-good effect that lasts for a period of time, but the only way to truly recover from addiction is to convert this experience into an entirely new way of life. Without the ritual infrastructure available to indigenous communities, Westerners may find it more difficult to achieve this, which is why it’s vital to make the right preparations before undergoing psychedelic treatment for addiction. Simply using psychedelics without first learning how to integrate their effects in ways that are relevant to addiction is unlikely to lead to recovery.
To learn more about how to prepare for psychedelic treatment for addiction and bring about lasting recovery, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 7873 331 882.