Dissociative disorders have historically been enigmatic and often misunderstood. Encircling an array of symptoms ranging from memory lapses to complete loss of personal identity, this disorder can be debilitating which is why we provide some insights into their causes, symptoms, types, conventional as well as alternative treatment options.
One such treatment option that has been gaining traction has been the use of ibogaine treatments for dissociative disorders.
Ibogaine, a psychoactive alkaloid extracted from the root-bark of the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub native to West Africa, boasts unique properties in the way it not only opens up one’s subconscious, allowing the processing of past traumas, but also because of its neurologically healing properties.
But before we dive into its benefits, let’s take a better look at the nature of dissociative disorders.
Defining Dissociative Disorders
Dissociative Disorders are a mental health condition characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, memory, surroundings, identity, and emotions. These gaps in consciousness can cause individuals to lose touch with reality, making it difficult for them to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t.
Types and Symptoms
There are three main types of Dissociative Disorder: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Dissociative Amnesia, and Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, DID is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states. These personalities may have their own way of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self. A person with DID may feel like they have distinct personalities taking control at different times, and may experience memory loss (amnesia) related to these transitions.
Dissociative Amnesia: This involves an inability to recall important personal information, usually related to trauma or stress, which is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. It may be localized (a specific event or period), selective (certain aspects of an event), or generalized (loss of identity and life history).
Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder: People with this disorder feel detached from their thoughts, feelings, and body (depersonalization), or feel detached from their surroundings (derealization). It’s as if they are observing themselves and their life from the outside.
Dissociative Disorders typically stem from a complex interaction of factors. However, a common theme is the exposure to severe traumatic events or chronic childhood trauma, such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
The brain, in an attempt to cope with the intense pain, separates certain memories or mental processes from conscious thought. This might protect the individual initially but can develop into a dissociative pattern later in life.
Diagnosing a dissociative disorder is not always straightforward. A detailed clinical interview with a mental health professional is essential, and the use of standardized diagnostic tools such as the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) can be helpful.
The cornerstone of treatment for dissociative disorder is psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. Some of the most common therapeutic modalities include:
Types and Symptoms
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy helps patients recognize and change unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviors.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): A technique especially useful for trauma-related disorder, EMDR involves processing distressing memories to reduce their long-term effects
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT emphasizes the development of skills like mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.
Medication may also be used to manage symptoms of co-occurring disorders, like anxiety and depression, but there are no specific medications approved solely for the treatment of dissociative disorders
Ibogaine Treatment for Dissociative Disorders
With leading thinkers such as Bessel van der Kolk, Stephen Porges, and Gabor Maté in the field of trauma-informed therapies, it is becoming clearer that the roots of dissociative disorders lie in the body and mind’s inability to adequately process trauma, specifically repeated physical, emotional, or sexual abuse that adults may have experienced in childhood.
Types and Symptoms
In line with this, ibogaine operates in a multifaceted manner. It beneficially impacts both the brain’s neural pathways and the psychological aspects of the mind.
Ibogaine paves the way for the subconscious mind to surface, enabling the recall of traumatic life experiences which, when viewed from an objective and safe space, can help alleviate the need for many of the automatic defense mechanisms present in dissociative disorders.
Furthermore, it acts as a neurological reset for the brain by restoring the diminished levels of dopamine and stabilizing the brain’s natural production of this essential neurotransmitter.
Through the deep self-examination that ibogaine encourages, whether by way of induced visions or a period of intense self-contemplation, it bestows a fresh outlook and narrative for individuals who are prepared to venture into new pathways in their lives.
Contact us at Ibogaine Treatment UK (Iboga Root Sanctuary), and we will walk you through the process and help you discover if an ibogaine treatment can help in the treatment of any of the known dissociative disorders you might be experiencing.