Kratom Abuse and Addiction

Kratom produces either a stimulant or a sedative feeling depending on the dosage taken.

What is Kratom?

Kratom abuse
Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are crushed and taken in tablet form, as kratom pills, or made into tea, or smoked. Kratom pills are addictive, and Kratom abuse has increased in the past decade in the United States.1
It’s not currently illegal, and it can be procured over the internet. It’s typically shipped in small pouches of green powder and may be marked “not safe for human consumption.”

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How Do People Use It?

Kratom can be taken in many different forms, but it’s mainly marketed to people in the United States as kratom pills, capsules, or extracts.

In Southeast Asia, Kratom is more commonly consumed as crushed and dried tea leaves or simply chewed. It can also be rolled and smoked on some occasions, and rarely it’s eaten as part of a person’s meal. Before it became widely recognized as a stimulant and a sedative, kratom was used in Southeast Asia for religious ceremonies, as an alternative to opium, and as a Kratom medication for various ailments.2

How Does It Affect the Brain?

Not enough research has been done on Kratom to understand how it interacts with the brain entirely, but it’s believed that it affects the opioid receptors in the brain.
In low doses, kratom pills cause a stimulant effect. Kratom causes an increase in energy levels, heightened alertness, and sociability. A compound in the leaves, Mitragynine, is responsible for this effect.

At higher doses, 7-hydroxymitragynine is the chemical responsible for the sedative effect that occurs. This causes pain relief, pleasure, sleepiness, and sedation and is sometimes marketed by those who sell Kratom as a “cure for anxiety.”3

Understanding Kratom Abuse

Kratom abuse occurs when people who use the drug develop a Kratom dependence. Because kratom side-effects are so different depending on the dosage taken, users may frequently change the dosage amount they ingest.

Eventually, this causes dependence because users begin to rely on kratom to feel a certain way, whether as a stimulant or a sedative.

With prolonged use, the user becomes accustomed to having a certain amount of the substance in their body, and they must continually increase the dosage to get the same result that they once did. This is what leads to kratom abuse and overdose.

Can a Person Overdose on Kratom?

Yes. There have been numerous kratom overdoses in the United States, although many of these deaths also had several other substances in their systems when they died.
In some kratom overdose cases, the overdose resulted from improperly packaged kratom that was laced with other substances.

There is some evidence that kratom can interfere with several prescription medications, which can cause severe interactions which can lead to a Kratom overdose and death. It’s crucial that people know these risks to consider the potential outcomes, especially when mixing both prescribed and recreational drugs.4

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom dependence becomes a concern when users rely on Kratom to elevate or lower their moods. Because it’s an opium-like substance, Kratom has the potential to be highly addictive.

Signs of Kratom Abuse & Addiction

Kratom abuse (ICD 10) is defined as a psychoactive substance dependence. Common kratom symptoms and signs of abuse include:
  • Health issues
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in behavior
  • Money or legal problems
  • Changes in physical appearance

If someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, it may be time to consult an intervention specialist.

Side-Effects and Risks of Kratom Abuse

Kratom produces several stimulant effects at low doses. While some may seem positive at first, several kratom side effects can interfere with daily life, such as:

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Heightened libido
  • Decreased appetite
  • Impaired coordination
One of the reasons that kratom pills are so dangerous is that the kratom feeling that it creates in those who take it at low dosage is considered desirable by many.
Some kratom symptoms, such as decreased appetite, heightened libido, and increased alertness, are often marketed as selling points.
In truth, though, these kratom symptoms are temporary, and a person can quickly build up a tolerance to them, which causes further kratom abuse as they increase their dosage in search of the “kratom feeling.”

Kratom’s Effects at Moderate to High Doses

Kratom abuse symptoms at high doses are much more severe and include:5
  • Seizures
  • Euphoria
  • Psychosis
  • Dysphoria
  • Constipation
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperpigmentation
At these high doses, kratom overdose becomes possible and more likely. These kratom side-effects can become dangerous due to the altered state of mind they cause in users.

Kratom Abuse Treatment Program

Kratom Abuse Treatment Program

Kratom addiction treatment and Kratom rehab are possible, but there is no specific method of treating kratom addiction. Because so little research has been done on how it affects the brain, medical professionals are still working to find the most effective treatment options.

Detoxification is the most effective primary step for treating a Kratom addiction. A detox center or a rehab center can help patients manage their withdrawal symptoms and can help make the process as comfortable as possible.

From there, further rehabilitation should include behavioral therapy as it’s effective with other forms of addiction and may be beneficial in helping patients learn coping mechanisms to stay sober.

Aftercare and Support Programs

Get help today for kratom abuse and addiction at a facility that is familiar with kratom pills, kratom side-effects, and kratom rehab. While general detox therapy will be beneficial, any type of detox is always more effective when the treatment facility understands the substance they’re treating. If you’re wondering what sort of treatment facility that may be, we are here to help.

Support from Concise Recovery

At the Concise Recovery addiction treatment center, we understand that you are more than your addiction. We see the person beyond the struggle. Alongside our passionate and professionally trained staff, we will ensure that, no matter the circumstance, you are given the tools to regain autonomy over your own life. We look forward to working with you and helping you find healthy coping mechanisms.