Is Kratom Addictive?
Kratom is an all-natural herb that has become popular in the United States in recent years as a way to soothe pain, anxiety, and opioid withdrawal. Some people also use it as a recreational drug. Kratom is not currently regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but it is banned in some states. Some medical professionals believe kratom may be addictive and potentially dangerous.
What Is Kratom, and Where Does it Come From?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree from the coffee family, native to Southeast Asia. The leaves of the kratom tree are traditionally used for their medicinal properties. Indigenous people in Southeast Asia have long used kratom for its stimulant effects. In low doses, kratom leaf powder can provide stimulating effects similar to coffee. In higher doses, it can produce sedative effects.
Why Do People Take Kratom?
People who take kratom for non-recreational purposes say it has certain health benefits. There is no clinical research to back up these reports, but some kratom users say kratom produces effects that:
- Relieve pain
- Treat diarrhea
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Increase energy levels
- Boost immunity
- Aid weight loss
Kratom can be addictive because it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, and when it wears off, users can feel depressed and anxious. Withdrawal from kratom can be severe, including symptoms such as muscle aches, diarrhea, and insomnia.
What Are the Risks of Kratom?
Several agencies in the U.S. and internationally have stated kratom products may be harmful. The FDA has not approved any uses for kratom and has advised consumers not to use these products because of possible adverse consequences.
There are some potential risks associated with using kratom, especially when it is used in large doses or for long periods of time. Some of the potential risks associated with kratom effects include:
- Liver damage
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
While deaths due to kratom are rare, they do happen.
What Are the Side Effects of Kratom?
The most common side effect of kratom is nausea, although this is typically only experienced when you take it in large doses. Other potential side effects of kratom include:
- Dry mouth
How Do You Take Kratom?
People who use kratom take it in a variety of ways, including:
- Swallowing kratom powder
- Mixing kratom powder with water or juice and drinking it
- Smoking dried kratom leaves
- Chewing on kratom leaves
Can You Be Addicted to Kratom?
While kratom is not typically considered to be highly addictive, research suggests there is a potential for abuse and dependence. Some people develop a tolerance to kratom and need to take higher doses to achieve the desired effects. Others find that they start using kratom more frequently or in larger amounts than they originally meant to.
More clinical research is required to confirm the potential for physical dependence on kratom, but many people experience kratom withdrawal symptoms and cravings when they quit using it. This is because kratom affects your brain in similar ways as other drugs.
What Are the Signs of Kratom Addiction?
The signs of kratom addiction may include:
- Taking larger doses of kratom than intended
- Using kratom more frequently than intended
- Secretive behavior
- Mood swings
- Lying about kratom use
- Using kratom to self-medicate mental health issues
- Mixing kratom with alcohol or other drugs
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take kratom
What Is Kratom Withdrawal Like?
Kratom binds to opioid receptors, so people can experience opioid withdrawal when they stop taking it. Kratom withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
Kratom withdrawal can last for several days or weeks. The severity of the symptoms depends on how much kratom you used and for how long.
Can You Overdose on Kratom?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on kratom. Symptoms of a kratom overdose may include:
- High blood pressure
- Slow heart rate
How to Treat Kratom Addiction
Kratom addiction treatment is similar to treatment for other substance use disorders. For successful addiction recovery from any substance, you must address the reasons why you’re abusing it. In a drug addiction treatment center, this happens through behavioral therapies and relapse-prevention training.
Recovery programs often include therapies and approaches like:
- Medical detox
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic approaches like yoga and fitness
- Experiential approaches like art therapy and psychodrama
- Trauma therapies like EMDR
Many symptoms of addiction are due to underlying mental health issues. Over half of people who’ve struggled with addictions have a co-occurring disorder like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Substance abuse becomes a way to self-medicate the symptoms of the mental health disorder. It’s important that substance abusers attend a dual diagnosis treatment program. These types of recovery programs provide both substance abuse and mental health treatment. Addressing the underlying issues behind your alcohol or drug abuse or dependence can lower your risk of relapse greatly.
Looking For Help?
If you’re worried about your kratom use or that of a loved one, call Vogue Recovery Center. We’ve helped thousands of people take back their lives from addiction. We can help you too.