What No One Tells You About Ibogaine Treatment

Updated: Jul 4, 2018

Ibogaine treatment can be a life-changing experience, but it’s certainly no walk in the park. In particular, the so-called “grey day” that many people encounter shortly after emerging from their visionary journey can be very uncomfortable. Being prepared for this stage of the ibogaine experience, and knowing how to deal with it, can make a huge difference to the long-term outcome of a treatment.

Catherine Leathem, who runs the Harambe iboga treatment centre in Spain with her husband Bilal, says that “ibogaine takes away withdrawals, but you have to go through some challenges if you want to get the most out of it. The thing that people tend to find the most difficult is that you don’t sleep for several days after taking ibogaine, even though you’re completely exhausted.”

This lack of sleep, combined with the physical and mental fatigue that most people experience after taking ibogaine, can cause negative thoughts and feelings to come to the fore. As a result, it is common to feel quite low and somewhat agitated for a while, but the ability to accept these feelings without becoming unsettled by them is often an indication of a person’s readiness to overcome addiction.

“Addiction is all about trying to take away pain, so when people hear that ibogaine wipes out withdrawals, they sometimes see it as an easy way out of that particular pain,” says Leathem. “But then the grey day hits, and while it’s nothing compared to opioid withdrawals, people often struggle to accept it and start looking for an easy way out. Sometimes they will demand comfort food like ice cream or chocolate, or even start asking for drugs as they just don’t want to have to go through any discomfort.”

“But the key is to just be with that discomfort while it is there and recognise that it will pass.”

This sentiment is ultimately what ibogaine treatment is all about. It should never be seen as a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ or an escape from withdrawals, but as a rite of passage that can lead to a profound transformation of one’s entire way of being. For this to occur, however, it is essential to develop the right intentionality prior to treatment: one must approach with a commitment to opening oneself up to the full experience of life, accepting both joy and pain as part of what it means to be alive. On the other hand, to approach treatment in the hope that ibogaine will simply remove all pain from one’s life is a recipe for failure. After all, this mindset is indicative of a continuing refusal to tolerate the full range of experiences that life has to offer, and a need to continue self-medicating in order to escape pain.

For guidance on how to prepare mentally for ibogaine treatment and ensure the best possible recovery from addiction, contact us at info@ibogainecounselling.org or call us on +44 7873 331 882 or +44 7535 618 189.