Over the last few years, kratom has become increasingly popular. Because of this, the cases of kratom abuse and even kratom addiction have dramatically increased as well.
This substance, derived from a plant native to Southeast Asia, is primarily known for its effects that can be both stimulating and sedative, depending on the dose taken.
While some use this drug primarily for its ability to alter your state of mind, others use it because they believe it has the ability to treat a variety of health conditions. Yet, kratom has not been scientifically proven to be a safe treatment for any medical condition at this time.
So, how serious can kratom addiction be, and how do you fight it?
Keep reading to find out.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a drug that can be naturally derived from a plant, fooling people into believing that it is completely safe. It is typically sold in the form of a powder but is then taken as a capsule or even made into tea.
One of the substances that can be found in a kratom leaf is known as mitragynine. It produces stimulating effects by interacting with the brain’s receptor systems. This can result in pleasurable, pain-relieving effects similar to those of opioids, especially when consumed in large doses.
Although it produces effects similar to those of an opioid, kratom is not yet classified as one. Researchers are still studying how it actually affects the body. However, since the research is inconclusive at this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved this herbal substance for use in any situation either.
Even though it has not been approved, people admit to using kratom to help with the management of withdrawal symptoms, opioid cravings, fatigue, mental illness, and pain. In 2020, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health was conducted, and the results stated that approximately 2,101,000 people over the age of 12 reported using kratom within the last 12 months.
Is Kratom Legal?
We could answer this question by simply saying “yes,” but it is not that simple in this case.
Because kratom is not yet considered an illegal drug and you don’t need a prescription to get it, people assume that the drug is safe.
Sometimes it is even advertised as an effective treatment for disorders such as anxiety or even diabetes. It has also been said to be extremely helpful for individuals struggling with opioid dependency because it can potentially help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.
However, there have not been any reliable studies or research providing us with any evidence that kratom can effectively treat anxiety, diabetes, or any other condition. Additionally, there has not been any research conducted to determine how it will interact with other medications. This could make the use of this substance extremely risky for you, especially if you take any other daily medications.
Although easily accessible in the US, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has named kratom a ‘drug of concern.’ Yet, it is not currently listed as a controlled substance, even though the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has also named it an ‘emerging drug of abuse.‘ Many countries around the world have either listed kratom as a controlled substance or banned its use altogether.
What are the Effects of Kratom?
Kratom products are available in various forms, which can make the effects of the drug difficult to predict. These effects can vary from person to person, as is the case with any other substance, and may depend on:
- Concentration/strength (Potency)
- How the drug is ingested
- What other medications, vitamins, supplements, or drugs you are taking
Kratom has been known to cause side effects similar to both stimulants and sedatives. The stimulant-like effects tend to include increased energy, rapid heart rate, and alertness, while the sedative-like effects include things like confusion, relaxation, and pain relief.
Some adverse effects that have also been reported include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, and dizziness. While these may be uncomfortable, they are typically mild.
In addition, there have been some reports of rare but serious adverse effects associated with kratom use. These may include seizures, tremors, high blood pressure, decreased breathing rate, nausea, vomiting, and liver impairment.
Because it has a half-life of approximately 24 hours, it takes about 5–6 days for this drug to be completely eliminated from your system. There are several factors that can influence the length of time that kratom can be detected in your body. These factors include:
Another significant factor that determines how long it takes a person’s body to metabolize and eliminate this drug is their overall health. Conditions such as liver or kidney impairments can slow down this process, especially if the drug is being taken in combination with any other drugs.
Although research is still underway to determine exactly how addictive kratom really is and how much an individual has to consume of it in order to experience withdrawal symptoms, it is very clear that the potential for kratom addiction is significant.
There are studies that suggest that an individual who uses kratom regularly will experience mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal if they stop using it. What is still unclear is the severity of the substance use disorder in relation to kratom use.
The main active components that make up this substance activate and engage with the same receptors in the brain that addictive drugs, like opioids, do. This tells us that there is a definite kratom addiction potential because the brain’s reward system is likely to be triggered every time a person takes the drug, encouraging continued use.
Abusing kratom can affect several areas of your life, including your behavior, physical health, cognitive function, and psychosocial health. Some of the more common kratom addiction signs can include:
- Being more talkative than usual
- Behaving violently or aggressively
- Preferring the use of kratom over some activities you used to enjoy
- Spending the majority of your time obtaining and using kratom
- Increasing your dose or frequency as time goes on
- Being unable to stop using even if you want to
- Respiratory issues
- Withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug
- Increased amounts of energy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Significant weight changes
- Decreased libido
- Cravings for kratom
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
If you’re experiencing several of these signs of addiction to kratom, it is important that you speak with your physician and discuss the best way to overcome your substance use disorder.
Although the terms ‘addiction’ and ‘dependency’ are often used interchangeably, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. In fact, dependency is one of the many parts of addiction that make it difficult to stop using.
When we are looking at the scale that measures the severity of substance use, there are different stages people typically go through. During the early stages, frequent use of kratom is best described as ‘abuse.’
However, once you abuse the drug for prolonged periods of time, you begin to build up a tolerance that requires you to either increase the dosage or frequency of use in order to achieve the same effects. Eventually, a dependence disorder develops, and it becomes increasingly difficult to stop using kratom due to withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom Addiction Treatment
Because kratom has not been extensively studied, there are currently no approved kratom addiction treatments. In some cases, your physician may suggest certain medications or therapies to help reduce withdrawal symptoms, but further research is needed to evaluate additional (and effective) treatment options.
Your best bet for seeking kratom addiction help would be to reach out to a professional clinic that has the knowledge and experience to help you overcome your dependency, along with a proven track record.
Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Once you have become addicted to or dependent on a substance, your body will experience a reaction once the substance has been eliminated. This type of reaction is known as withdrawal, and there are many uncomfortable symptoms associated with it.
These symptoms may include:
- Cravings for kratom
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches
- Aggressive behavior
The symptoms of withdrawal and their severity can vary from person to person and depend on the amount, frequency, and length of time that you have been using kratom. Typically, the more kratom your body is used to, the more severe your symptoms will be.
At this time, it is unknown how much kratom is safe to consume because of the lack of research on this substance. However, overdosing on it has been known to cause psychosis, seizures, and—in some cases—even death.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did confirm that kratom was involved in at least 15 deaths in the U.S from 2014 to 2016. Since then, this drug has continued to grow in popularity, use, abuse, and addiction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study on kratom use and overdose. In order to conduct their study, they used information gathered from previous calls to poison control regarding kratom use.
From 2010 to 2015, the number of calls made to the poison control hotline regarding this substance increased from 26 to 263. More than 40% of these calls involved serious or life-threatening cases of a kratom overdose.
The symptoms that these individuals were experiencing included:
- Increased heart rate
How to Reduce the Risk of Kratom Relapse
A relapse happens when you return to drug use after attempting to quit using the drug, and it is a potential risk for anyone who has struggled or is still struggling with addiction.
This can be a significant roadblock on your journey to recovery, but it is not unavoidable.
In order to avoid the risk of kratom relapse, it is crucial to address the problem correctly the first time. Proper and proven medical treatment to address your kratom dependency can ensure success without the fear of relapse.
ANR Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiod use disorder involving kratom or any opioid, we encourage you to contact us here at the ANR Clinic. We pride ourselves on using modern medicine to return your brain to its pre-addiction state.
This method of opioid addiction treatment is called Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) and was developed by Dr. Andre Waismann. Over the last 30 years, he has helped more than 24,000 people conquer their opioid use without the dreaded cravings or withdrawal symptoms.
The procedure typically lasts up to 36 hours. Once you’re admitted to one of the ANR centers, you’ll get a complete medical evaluation and get sedated for approximately 4 hours. Team of anesthesiologists and critical care staff will monitor your body as it goes through the withdrawals, repair the endorphin-receptor balance and fine-tune it, helping you start your kratom recovery in an easier and less stressful way.
If you’re considering kratom use to help relieve symptoms of any medical conditions that you are currently experiencing, it is important that you understand all of the risks associated with its use. It may be ‘natural’ and legal, but that doesn’t necessarily make it safe—kratom can be just as dangerous and addictive as any opioid.
Having this in mind, here is a summary of what we learned today:
- Kratom can act as either a stimulant or a sedative, primarily depending on the amount taken.
- While it is not clear exactly how addictive kratom can be, it is clear that it can lead to withdrawal and overdose.
ANR Clinic is here to help you return to your pre-addiction state with its modern technology and experience.