Is Kratom Addictive?

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom, a substance that comes from an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, is commonly sold as a supplement to increase energy and create mild euphoria. Its use is becoming increasingly popular, especially for enhancing mood or treating minor aches and pains. Many people who use it daily to cope with anxiety and stress. But although it’s marketed as safe and natural, the truth is that kratom’s effects are very similar to those of opioids. And it’s equally addictive.

Ultimately, kratom dependency can come to feel inescapable. But the good news is that with the right addiction treatment and support, it’s entirely possible to overcome. In fact, at The Sanctuary, we believe that your healing journey can allow you to realize yourself in ways you never thought possible.

Learn more about kratom, its effects, and how we can help below.

Kratom Addiction Testimonial

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom comes in several forms, with the most popular being capsules and extracts. It doesn’t require refinement, and the leaves can be chewed directly or ground into a powder. Sometimes, it’s added to food or brewed as a tea. Some companies even sell kratom gum and other edible products.

The appeal of kratom comes from its ability to have psychotropic effects on the brain from its two most potent compounds, 7-a-hydroxy mitragynine, and mitragynine. When taken in any form, these compounds react with the opioid receptors in the brain, causing mind-altering effects.

Side effects of kratom can include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Increased urination

In severe cases, symptoms of psychosis have been reported.

Like many drugs that start out as popular substances to relieve problems, kratom can become addictive. Kratom is also commonly used as a way to self-medicate conditions like anxiety, depression and chronic pain, and even manage opioid withdrawals. And this, unfortunately, leads many unsuspecting people on a path towards addiction.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public safety announcement on kratom in 2017, stating that rising usage in the midst of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. was cause for concern. The statement warns users about the potentially harmful side effects and the addictive nature of the substance. Further reports from the FDA and news outlets estimated around 44 deaths directly related to kratom since 2011. These include both pure kratom and kratom mixed with other potentially harmful substances. By 2019, the number had increased to at least 91 kratom-related deaths between 2016 and 2017 alone. In 2018, kratom products were also linked to a salmonella outbreak that infected almost 200 people.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies kratom as a “drug of concern.” Several countries like Denmark, France, Germany, and Ireland have banned it, making it unavailable for legal consumption. Even its countries of origin in Southeast Asia implement bans on kratom in local and regional communities. In the U.S. kratom is also illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin. Additionally, some individual counties in states like Florida and California have banned its use, while other states approve it for medical treatment.

Myths About Kratom Use

It’s a Safe Alternative to Prescription or Over-the-Counter Drugs

Over the past five to ten years, there’s been a significant increase in kratom usage. Manufacturers often market the substance as a holistic substitute for over-the-counter drugs. In this way, it holds major appeal for those who wish to stop their dependence on pharmaceuticals. But just because kratom originally comes from a plant does not mean it’s safe. “It’s like any other industry,” says a former Sanctuary client. “The natural supply can’t meet the natural demand. So people are starting to put fillers like arsenic in it. I’ve seen some people buy the capsules or take the extracts and then have the worst stomach problems. They have to go to the doctor, and the doctor will put them on Suboxone, which is another opiate.”

It Can Help You Quit Using Opioids

Many people believe that kratom can treat other forms of addiction. In fact, some people even start using it as a way to reduce their use of other drugs like heroin or opioids.

Currently, there’s no evidence to support that kratom can successfully treat opioid addiction. According to Mayo Clinic, “Kratom is promoted as an aid in overcoming withdrawal from opioid medications, but research suggests that it leads to more health problems than it solves.” However, this doesn’t stop people who are desperately seeking relief from opioid addiction from trying this route. Unfortunately, the reality is that kratom withdrawals are severe and very similar to opioid withdrawals. As such, those who attempt to use kratom for this purpose often find themselves swapping one addiction for another, drawing out a painful experience. One former Sanctuary client speaks to this phenomenon:

“I think there are a few people out there who truly don’t realize the impact that kratom has and the danger that it poses for addiction. The majority of manufacturers and sellers who are purposefully peddling this as a safe, natural alternative to heroin and opiates. And they know exactly what they’re doing. This is highly addictive, very dangerous, and can end up in a world of hurt.”

It’s a Non-addictive Pain Reliever

Another myth about kratom is that it can safely treat pain. But since tolerance to kratom builds so quickly, this pain relief is often short-lived. Instead, users find themselves struggling with a crippling dependency that only makes things worse.

What Symptoms Will I Have if I Stop Using Kratom?

Making the decision to stop using kratom is a very important first step. However, if you’ve developed a physical dependency, this may be difficult to achieve on your own. Kratom withdrawals can entail symptoms such as:

  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme irritability
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Emotional changes
  • Jerky movements
  • Runny nose

If necessary, medically supervised detox can help you manage these symptoms and get through the withdrawal period safely before beginning inpatient addiction treatment. If you’re unsure if you’ll require professional detox, our admissions team can help you determine the best course of action for your circumstances.

How Can I Stop Using Kratom?

If you’re currently using kratom and are looking to stop, plenty of options can help guide you through the recovery process. At The Sanctuary, we know that finding the right treatment option can seem impossible — especially if you’ve tried quitting before without success. Our holistic healing journey focuses on treating all aspects of your being, rather than just surface-level issues. We don’t believe that addiction is a life sentence. Rather, we know that people can fully recover from being controlled by substances like kratom because we see our clients do so regularly. Our treatment process facilitates a deep dive into your inward journey and empowers you to redesign your life.

Holistically Healing From Addiction to Kratom

“Holistic” refers to an approach that addresses all aspects of the self. Most conventional rehabs focus on managing symptoms. But our approach to healing weaves together cutting-edge science and alternative healing modalities for a complete, in-depth treatment experience. This incorporates mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of care to help you not only stop using kratom but return to wholeness. We customize treatment plans for each individual client based on a thorough assessment of their unique needs.

If you’re having difficulty quitting kratom on your own, now is a good time to reach out for help. The Sanctuary’s holistic addiction treatment program can help you heal the wounds underlying your addiction so you can not only get sober but live your best, most authentic life. Our helpful admissions team is here to answer any questions you have, connect you with resources, and help you start your journey to being well. Contact us today.