Something Wicked (p0rcelain_girl) wrote in ed_ucate,
Something Wicked

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Sort of an off-beat discussion topic, but I think it's interesting to consider.

I'm not sure if any of you have ever heard of the substance Ibogaine. Essentially, it's a plant extract that serves as a powerful hallucinogen. It is used in coming-of-age rituals among some African tribes and, in recent years, has been used in some drug clinics to treat severe heroin addiction. It's technically illegal in many countries and, when used, has to be administered by another party, as it's given in several increasing doses over the course of several hours.

What I find interesting is that in case study after case study, evidence is emerging to suggest that it's basically a very effective treatment for long-term and severe heroin addiction. I've researched dozens of accounts and the similar thread in each one seems to involve the user having a vision of his or her drug addiction and, as it is given an actual succinct shape, having the ability to expel it from themselves during hallucination. Physical withdrawal symptoms following the use of Igobaine are generally only about 5-15% what they would be without it, and methadone isn't generally employed (from what I've read) afterward, so it's almost like going cold-turkey following the trip itself and still only experiencing a small amount of withdrawal (as it's described in some reports, almost like having a cold or being sick in any other mundane way).

The relevance of this topic relates to other studies I know I've read in the past that suggest eating-disordered behavior, bulimia in particular, stimulates the same parts of the brain with the same chemicals that are released when a heroin addict receives a fix. While I know there are many chemical differences between substance addiction and eating disorders, I thought the similarity of all patients able to "push" their physical addictions from their minds sounded very similar to the manner in which many eating-disordered people embody their negative behaviors and thinking and attempt to expel them from themselves. Is it possible that, in some cases, Igobaine could be as useful for someone suffering from long-term bulimia or other eating disorders as it is for long-term heroin addicts? Do you think there's any correlation to be drawn at all?

I'm not suggesting that I feel one way or the other about it; I just thought it was interesting as a recovering bulimic (now 15 weeks pregnant with twins). A good link on Igobaine, complete with drug description, pictures, laws, and some first-hand accounts with the drug:

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