How to Identify and Treat a Kratom Addiction

kratom addiction

Justin Orden July 3, 2021

Studies show that over 15 million Americans are currently using Kratom, and that number might actually be much higher. Kratom is often billed as a safe alternative to Opioid drugs or a “natural high”; however, those statements couldn’t be further from the truth. Kratom is a dangerous drug, and Kratom addiction could be affecting someone you care about right now. 

The problem is, recognizing substance abuse, especially with Kratom, isn’t always easy to identify. We are here to help, though, with this simple guide on identifying and treating Kratom addiction. 

Let’s get started. 

What Is Kratom?

Also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to countries like Thailand, Bali, Borneo, and more throughout Southeastern Asia. Kratom is grown all through the region in the wild and on farms.

The Kratom leaves are harvested and then dried and cured before being ground into a fine powder and sold wholesale to Kratom purveyors. The leaves of the tree contain powerful Alkaloids that produce the effects of Kratom. For centuries people in the region have used and abused the leaves of Kratom, and currently, it is banned in certain native countries such as Thailand because of its addictive qualities. 

Kratom comes in many forms and is readily available across the United States in gas stations and holistic stores. Unfortunately, the legality of Kratom often leads users to the incorrect assumption that Kratom is safe to use and non-addictive, leading to a cycle of abuse and addiction. 

What Are the Effects of Kratom?

Kratom produces varied effects, but it is often referred to as an alternative for Opioids because of the similar effects the plant produces. Some common negative effects from Kratom use include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Anger/Irritability 
  • Sleeplessness 
  • Twitching
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion
  • Seizure 
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Constipation 
  • Hallucinations 

These symptoms and more are often reported by long-term Kratom abusers. The trouble with Kratom addiction is the positive effects that Kratom has initially on users, including feelings of euphoria, mild sedation, and energizing feelings. These initial “highs” give way to extreme lows and lead Kratom users down a slippery slope of addiction as they try desperately to achieve the perceived “high” from the plant. 

Why You Should Be Concerned

As we said earlier, Kratom proponents praise the plant as a natural alternative to Opioids and even boast that it can be used to treat addiction. However, this type of thinking is dangerous and could be potentially deadly.

Studies from the CDC recently revealed postmortem toxicology on overdose deaths, with 152 people testing positive for Kratom in their system and 7 people testing positive for only Kratom. So, the science shows…Kratom is linked to overdose. While it is true that Kratom is not an Opioid, it should be understood that the plant has Opioid-like effects on the body and brain because of its unique chemical makeup. 

Kratom contains over forty different Alkaloids, two of which, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are strong antagonists for the Opioid-receptors in the brain. Unfortunately, these Alkaloids make Kratom have highly addictive properties similar to Opioids like Morphine. Another issue with Kratom is its complete lack of regulation in the United States.

Kratom on its own is dangerous. However, it is often tainted with harmful adulterants like fillers, binders, and synthetic materials that have been known to cause deaths. In addition, according to the FDA, on several occasions, Kratom has been found to contain heavy metals and bacteria like Salmonella.

Signs of Kratom Addiction 

Kratom addiction can be hard to narrow down, especially because it is often used in conjunction with other drugs, including Opioids. Additionally, drug tests do not usually test for Kratom, so specialized testing is required to determine if a person is using Kratom. Some signs of addiction might include the following:

  • Agitation 
  • Mood/Behavior Changes
  • Changes in Appearance or Weight
  • Sleep Disturbances 
  • Trembling 
  • Psychotic Episodes 

These are just a few of the signs some you know might be addicted to Kratom. In many cases, people addicted to Kratom will use the drug in secret to hide their addiction from loved ones. In addition, they might become agitated or angry if they have not used or cannot gain access to Kratom. 

Kratom is legal in almost every state in the United States, so it is readily available to anyone who would like to purchase it. In states where it is illegal, a person could still get access to Kratom by purchasing it online. The ease of access makes Kratom addiction even more troubling. 

Kratom is often sold as a finely ground power, but it is also sold in capsule, tincture, beverage, and extract form. Keep an eye out for green powdery residue on bottles and countertops, as that could be an indicator of Kratom use. 

Treating Kratom Addiction 

If someone you love is addicted to Kratom, getting help with the addiction is their only chance at a full recovery. Kratom dependence is treated much like any other Opioid addiction and generally begins with a medically supervised detoxification. After detox, an outpatient treatment program is highly recommended for at least three months. 

During treatment for substance abuse, a person will work with medical professionals to uncover the underlying reasons for their addiction, such as depression. No two people with addictions are the same, so it is important to be patient while treating Kratom addiction and not to expect the same results for everyone. Behavioral modification therapy, Psychiatric counseling, and support groups are all key practices to avoid relapse

Get Help Today 

If you or someone you love is suffering from Kratom addiction, there is hope! At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, our dedicated staff is committed to helping patients through their recovery in a safe and hospitable environment. So, contact us today, and we will help you on your road to recovery! 

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