Does Kratom Addiction Exist? Truths and Myths

What is kratom addiction? Learn about side effects, myths and truths surrounding kratom use and treatment at Concise Recovery.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom Addiction

Kratom is a plant-based substance taken for various reasons due to its calming or energizing effects based on the type. Kratom has many common names, including thang, ketum, or biak, and it is a tree native to southeast Asia. The leaves of the kratom plant contain more than 20 biologically active compounds. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitra-gynine (7-HMG) are the most potent constituents and have similar effects to opioid substances upon ingestion.1

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Is Kratom Legal?

Kratom use is currently legal in the United States, although none of its benefits are approved by the FDA.2 There are many safety concerns about kratom’s effects, and its uses, with the DEA seeking to enlist kratom as a controlled substance in 2016 due to its reported high substance abuse potential.3 Kratom is currently listed as a drug of concern by the DEA.

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom is used in various methods, from ingestion as compounded supplements, chewing the leaves, and brewing tea. Kratom has stimulant and pain-killing effects. It works through several biochemical pathways in the brain to elicit these effects. If someone abuses this substance, they could develop a high tolerance, potentially leading to addiction.

Potential Kratom Addiction Symptoms

Addiction is a medical phenomenon characterized by the inability of an individual to stop substance use or substance use-seeking behavior in the presence of negative physical and psychological symptoms due to substance use.4

If someone is struggling with a kratom dependency, there is the possibility that they will experience some physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical Addiction Symptoms

  • Increased energy
  • Breathing problems
  • Sedated appearance
  • Shaking or tremor

Psychological Addiction Symptoms

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Emotional detachment and outbursts
  • Oscillating moods
  • Increased tolerance to the substance

The severity of symptoms depends on the dosage being taken, if an individual is using kratom properly, the length of use, and individual differences.

How is Kratom Addiction Diagnosed?

As with all substance use disorders, kratom addiction can only be fully diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. Still, specific observable symptoms, signs, and side effects point to kratom addiction.

Kratom Side Effects

It is essential to note the side effects of kratom addiction. This can be seen through several effects occurring collectively. These include:5

Mood Effects

  • Calmness
  • Sense of well-being
  • Euphoria

Behavioral Effects

  • Talkativeness
  • Increased social behavior

Physical Effects

  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth

Psychological Effects

  • Psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased motivation
  • Anorexia

Myths and Truths About Kratom Use

There are several misconceptions revolving around kratom’s effects, and its use, and these include:

Myth 1: Kratom is Not Addictive

Similar to any substance, kratom can become addictive if someone is using it improperly and building a high tolerance. 

Myth 2: Kratom Overdose is Not Dangerous

Also like any type of substance use, it is possible to overdose when kratom is misused. An overdose may occur if kratom is mixed with other substances such as drugs or alcohol. Moreover, those who use kratom should be sure to purchase it from a safe and qualified source. Kratom overdose symptoms are often dangerous and can lead to severe complications.

Myth 3: Kratom Has No Side Effects

Kratom misuse is followed by several mild or severe side effects such as weight loss, dry mouth, chills, changes in urine, nausea, vomiting, hallucination, brain disease, seizures, etc.6

Myth 4: Kratom Is Safe to Use to Manage Opioid Addiction

Specific individuals use kratom to manage withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction detoxification. However, there is currently little scientific evidence that proves that kratom can be effectively used for opioid addiction or withdrawal symptoms. 

Kratom Detox and Withdrawal

A detox is the removal of a substance or toxin from the body. It is usually done through a carefully monitored process to ensure success and prevent the induction of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. A good detox is the first step in seeking care and getting over substance use disorder.

Kratom Detox Stages

Detoxification occurs in several stages, including:

  • Evaluation: This involves working with a medical professional for treatment planning and ascertaining the level of dependency and any other associated substance usage. This stage includes a series of processes such as blood tests and an overall risk assessment for how the detoxification process could be.
  • Stabilization: Ideally, stabilization follows after the detoxification process has begun. During this phase, medications may be given, depending on the withdrawal symptoms and severity.
  • Treatment Transition: Following a complete kratom detox and lessening of any withdrawal symptoms, a change will be made to a treatment plan for the substance use disorder.7

Kratom Withdrawal

If someone is using kratom improperly and developing a tolerance, withdrawal symptoms may occur when they stop using kratom. The timeline of kratom withdrawal depends on several factors, but it is mainly based on the level of substance dependence formed.

How Long Does Kratom Withdrawal Last?

There is no distinct timeline for how long kratom withdrawal lasts because this varies depending on the individual in question. On average, kratom withdrawal begins 24 hours after kratom substance use has been stopped. Kratom withdrawal may intensify in two to four days. It may start to subside after seven to ten days under expert care.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

During kratom-dependent substance use, dependence, or addiction, immediate cessation of kratom use may result in withdrawal symptoms. Typical kratom based substance use withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Tremors and jerky motions
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Extreme depression and mood swings
  • Irritability

Kratom Addiction Treatment

Kratom Addiction Treatment

Therapy for addiction is built around each patient’s individual preferences and can involve individual, group, or family counseling. There are several steps in a proper addiction treatment which include:

Detoxification

This involves the professionally supervised process and gradual removal of a substance in the body. It is done using expert care to prevent untoward effects or withdrawal symptoms due to substance use.

Inpatient

Inpatient or residential programs are often beneficial to  addiction treatment. Here, patients get to live at a healthcare facility and are offered expert care. Individuals recovering from substance use disorder receive medical care alongside psychological counseling in a healthy, supportive environment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment options help individuals who have an addiction receive care while still functioning properly in the real world. Individuals in outpatient therapies are encouraged to continue going to work or school. It is highly beneficial for individuals after inpatient care has been received to ensure long-term sobriety.

Learn About Treatment with Concise Recovery

Concise Recovery Center is a leading co-ed medical detox and addiction treatment center that caters to those seeking long-term addiction treatment. Concise Recovery Center works efficiently by providing sub-acute medical detoxification and addiction recovery services in a luxury-type environment for patients’ comfort throughout their entire recovery process. For more information, please get in touch with us today.