Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Who Turns to Amazonian Medicine for Treatment of Substance Use Disorder? Patient Characteristics at the Takiwasi Addiction Treatment Center


Berlowitz, Ilana; Walt, Heinrich; Ghasarian, Christian; O'Shaughnessy, David M; Mabit, Jacques; Rush, Brian; Martin-Soelch, Chantal (2020). Who Turns to Amazonian Medicine for Treatment of Substance Use Disorder? Patient Characteristics at the Takiwasi Addiction Treatment Center. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 81(4):416-425.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Complementary medicines are an emergent field in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) and include Amazonian medicines, such as ayahuasca. The aim of this multimodal cross-sectional study was to investigate characteristics of people who seek treatment for SUDs at an accredited healthcare facility that applies Amazonian medicines along with conventional psychotherapy.

METHOD

We collected clinical and sociodemographic data of consecutive admissions at the Takiwasi Addiction Treatment Center (Tarapoto, Peru) using structured questionnaires, interviews, and letters submitted upon program application describing motivation for treatment.

RESULTS

The sample of 50 male participants admitted between 2014 and 2016 was culturally heterogeneous, including patients from Peru (42%), other Latin American countries (34%), and North America/Europe (24%). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria indicated dependencies on cannabis (72%), alcohol (52%), cocaine/base paste (48%), and others; multiple substance use was common (84%). Self-reported depression and anxiety scores showed moderate elevation. Comparison of Addiction Severity Index composite scores to a large U.S. sample suggested somewhat more severe problems in the drug and psychiatric domains. Common motives for selecting the program included interest in Amazonian medicine, the Takiwasi concept of treatment, and unfavorable experiences with past treatments. Being motivated by family, a desire for self-transformation, and spiritual/existential motives were common themes for treatment initiation.

CONCLUSIONS

Our results suggest that the Amazonian medicine-based therapy attracts a diverse patient group not limited to regional residents and may be particularly appealing to more impaired SUD patients with a history of unsuccessful treatment. The sample's cultural diversity suggests an existing interest in such therapies among international SUD treatment-seeking patients. These findings are relevant in light of the need for improved SUD therapies and contribute to the emergent research literature on ayahuasca-based treatments.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Complementary medicines are an emergent field in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) and include Amazonian medicines, such as ayahuasca. The aim of this multimodal cross-sectional study was to investigate characteristics of people who seek treatment for SUDs at an accredited healthcare facility that applies Amazonian medicines along with conventional psychotherapy.

METHOD

We collected clinical and sociodemographic data of consecutive admissions at the Takiwasi Addiction Treatment Center (Tarapoto, Peru) using structured questionnaires, interviews, and letters submitted upon program application describing motivation for treatment.

RESULTS

The sample of 50 male participants admitted between 2014 and 2016 was culturally heterogeneous, including patients from Peru (42%), other Latin American countries (34%), and North America/Europe (24%). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria indicated dependencies on cannabis (72%), alcohol (52%), cocaine/base paste (48%), and others; multiple substance use was common (84%). Self-reported depression and anxiety scores showed moderate elevation. Comparison of Addiction Severity Index composite scores to a large U.S. sample suggested somewhat more severe problems in the drug and psychiatric domains. Common motives for selecting the program included interest in Amazonian medicine, the Takiwasi concept of treatment, and unfavorable experiences with past treatments. Being motivated by family, a desire for self-transformation, and spiritual/existential motives were common themes for treatment initiation.

CONCLUSIONS

Our results suggest that the Amazonian medicine-based therapy attracts a diverse patient group not limited to regional residents and may be particularly appealing to more impaired SUD patients with a history of unsuccessful treatment. The sample's cultural diversity suggests an existing interest in such therapies among international SUD treatment-seeking patients. These findings are relevant in light of the need for improved SUD therapies and contribute to the emergent research literature on ayahuasca-based treatments.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Dental Medicine > Clinic of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Life Sciences > Toxicology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 12:07
Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 15:10
Publisher:Alcohol Research Documentation, Inc.
ISSN:1937-1888
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2020.81.416
PubMed ID:32800077

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

Get full-text in a library