Kratom Addiction Treatment

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that hold compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects.  Most people take kratom as a pill, capsule, or extract.  [1]  Some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as tea.  Sometimes the leaves are smoked or eaten in food.  Kratom’s effects are comparable to those of opioid drugs like morphine and heroin.  Although kratom has been used as a treatment for opioid addiction, it can be addictive and may lead to relapse.  Learn more about kratom addiction here.

Kratom is not currently a banned substance and has been easy to order on the internet.  It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets marked “not for human consumption.”  It is also sometimes sold as an extract or gum.

Kratom, a nearly unknown herb among physicians in the western world, is advertised on the internet as an alternative to opioid analgesics, a potential treatment for opioid withdrawal, and a “legal high” with the least addiction potential.

Physicians in the United States should be informed of the growing availability and misuse of kratom and the herb’s potential adverse health effects, with particular awareness of kratom’s toxicity, addictive potential, and linked withdrawal syndrome.  [2]

 Kratom's chemical properties cause it to bind to opioid receptors. Because of this, it has been promoted as a potential cure for opiate addicts. The idea is that kratom, a "mild" drug, can help wean people off these "harder" drugs. Unfortunately, Kratom addiction may occur as well.
Kratom’s chemical properties cause it to bind to opioid receptors. Because of this, it has been promoted as a potential cure for opiate addicts. The idea is that kratom, a “mild” drug, can help wean people off these “harder” drugs. Unfortunately, kratom addiction may occur as well.

Effects Of Kratom 

Kratom can cause effects alike to both opioids and stimulants.  Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine, and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and diminished pain, mainly when users consume large amounts of the plant.  However, mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects.  As a result, users describe heightened energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation when kratom is taken in small amounts.  However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes severe side effects.

Mitragyna speciosa takes effect after five to 10 minutes, and its effects last two to five hours.  The results of kratom become stronger as the quantity taken increases.  In animals, kratom appears to be more potent than morphine. [3]

Side Effects Of Kratom

At low doses, kratom has energizing (stimulant) effects.  At high doses, it can have pain-relieving (analgesic) and sleep-inducing (sedative) effects.

Specific Side Effects Are Listed Below:

Physical:

  • Pain Relief
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Libido
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Dry Mouth
  • Increased Urination
  • Itching
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to Sunburn

Behavioral:

  • Talkativeness
  • Increased Social Behavior

Mood:

  • Calmness
  • Sense of Well-Being
  • Euphoria

Psychological:

  • Increased Motivation
  • Increased Alertness
  • Psychosis

Ovedose Cases Of Kratom 

There have been multiple reports of deaths in people who had ingested kratom, but most have involved other substances.  A 2019 paper analyzing data from the National Poison Data System found that between 2011-2017 there were 11 deaths correlated with kratom exposure.  Nine of the 11 deaths reported in this study involved kratom plus other drugs and medications, such as diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), alcohol, caffeine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and cocaine.  Two deaths were reported following exposure from kratom alone with no other registered substances.

In 2017, the FDA identified at least 44 deaths linked to kratom, with at least one case investigating pure kratom’s potential use.  The FDA reports note that many of the kratom-associated deaths looked to have resulted from contaminated products or taking kratom with other potent substances;  including illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol;  gabapentin, and over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup.  Also, some reports of kratom packaged as dietary supplements or dietary ingredients that were laced with other compounds that caused deaths.  People should check with their health care providers about the safety of blending kratom with other medications.  [4]

Kratom Addiction

Like other drugs with opioid-like effects, kratom might cause dependency, implying users will feel physical withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue taking the drug.  Unfortunately, some users have reported becoming addicted to kratom.

Signs Of Substance Addiction

  • Changes in Mood:  Mood swings, anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Changes in Behavior:  Acting secretive, aggressive, or violent
  • Changes in Physical Appearance:  Red eyes, weight loss or weight gain, poor hygiene
  • Health Issues:  Reduction of energy, fatigue, chronic illnesses related to drug use
  • Changes in Social Activities:  Withdrawal from friends or family, relationship problems, new friendships with identified drug users
  • Poor School or Work Performance:  A decline in grades or work performance, loss of a job, disinterest in school or work, skipping school, or work frequently
  • Money or Legal Problems:  Asking for money without a reasonable explanation, stealing money from friends or family members, being arrested
 Years of Kratom use has been shown to produce insomnia, dry mouth, skin darkening, weight loss, anorexia, frequent urination, and constipation. Provided that, Kratom addiction may cause harsh withdrawal.
Years of Kratom use has been shown to produce insomnia, dry mouth, skin darkening, weight loss, anorexia, frequent urination, and constipation. Provided that, Kratom addiction may cause harsh withdrawal.

Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Muscle Throbbings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Emotional Fluctuations
  • Runny Nose
  • Jerky Movements

Kratom Addiction Treatment

There are no particular medical treatments for kratom addiction.  Some people exploring treatment have found behavioral therapy to be effective.  Scientists need more research to ascertain how effective this treatment option is.

The first step is recognizing any misunderstandings you may have about drug use and addiction.  Remember that drug use alters the structure and chemistry of the brain, making it unlikely to stop taking the drug.

You might be thinking of staging an intervention with other family members or friends.  While intervention may drive your loved one to seek help for an addiction, there are no guarantees.  Confrontation-style interventions can have the opposite effect, leading to anger, mistrust, or isolation.  Sometimes a simple communication is a better option.  Be ready for every outcome.  Your loved one might deny having an addiction or a problem at all or refuse to seek help.  If that occurs, seek out additional resources or find a support group for family members or friends living with addiction.

We Level Up Dual Diagnosis & Kratom Addiction Treatment

Behavioral therapies and medications have not been tested for the treatment of dependence or kratom addiction.  Therefore, health care providers should screen clients for potential co-occurring mental health conditions or dual-diagnosis.

Addiction is a chronic illness because it is not a passing condition like a wound that will heal by itself.  So, if you have concerns about your use of kratom, you can never endure this illness alone. 

To reiterate, it is progressive, and you are prone to relapse conditions.  So if you are troubled, this is the time to seek help.

 In small doses, kratom causes stimulant effects – increased alertness, stamina, and sociability. More significant amounts produce sedative effects. Regular use typically results in weight loss, fatigue, and other potential health risks. We Level Up Medical Detox Center will help you breakaway from this Kratom addiction.
In small doses, kratom causes stimulant effects – increased alertness, stamina, and sociability. More significant amounts produce sedative effects. Regular use typically results in weight loss, fatigue, and other potential health risks. We Level Up Medical Detox Center will help you break away from this kratom addiction.

It’s never too late to stop taking a drug because it is wrecking your life.  Firstly, your kratom rehab center can help you cease taking the drug and sustain a drug-free lifestyle.  In addition, there are many options for people who want to discontinue using kratom, so it is crucial to get help as soon as possible.

Recovering from kratom addiction can be challenging, but a drug-free life is feasible.  Call We Level Up NJ today to have a confidential treatment referral and to begin admission.

Sources:

[1,4] Kratom DrugFacts – National Institute On Drug Abuse

[2] What is Kratom Addiction – We Level Up

[3] A Case Report of Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal – National Center for Biotechnology Information