Kratom is a substance from a plant gaining popularity in the West as a natural alternative to opioids. However, it can also be addictive and cause serious health problems.
How can you tell if you or someone you love is addicted to kratom? And what are the best ways to treat kratom addiction?
What Is Kratom?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) belongs to the same family as coffee and gardenia.
It grows in Southeast Asia and Africa, where it has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine, but it has also gained popularity in the U.S. as a supplement for various purposes.
Some people use kratom for mood enhancement, fatigue reduction, pain relief, and opioid withdrawal symptoms. Kratom leaves can be chewed, brewed as tea, or processed into pills, powder form, extracts, and tinctures.
However, kratom isn’t harmless. It can cause addiction, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom can also have serious side effects and safety concerns, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, itching, seizures, hallucinations, liver damage, and cardiac problems.
Sometimes, kratom can cause death from overdose or interaction with other drugs or psychoactive substances.
Kratom Effects, Addiction, and Dangers
Kratom contains many different compounds, but the most importanes arnt oe mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which act on opioid receptors in the brain and body.
Depending on the dose and the strain, kratom can have different effects on the body and mind.
At low doses, it can have stimulant effects, such as increased energy and alertness
Opioid-like effects at higher doses, such as pain relief and euphoria
Sedative effects at even higher doses, such as drowsiness and sleepiness
Some studies have suggested that kratom may have some benefits for treating chronic pain, opioid use disorder, anxiety, and depression.
However, these studies are limited by small sample sizes, lack of control groups, and inconsistent methods. More research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of kratom for these conditions.
It’s also worth noting that neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved kratom for medical use.
Kratom is illegal in some countries and states and may have legal consequences for possession or use.
Due to a lack of regulations, the potency and quality of kratom products can also vary greatly, making it difficult to determine their quality and potency.
Available kratom products may be contaminated with other substances, such as bacteria, fungi, heavy metals, or synthetic opioids. Kratom products may also be mislabeled or misrepresented, making it difficult for consumers to know what they are getting or how much they are taking.
Kratom isn’t a safe or effective treatment for any condition.
There are safer and more effective ways to relieve pain, mental health issues, and opioid addiction.
If you are using kratom or thinking about it, talk to your doctor about the risks and alternatives.
Signs of Kratom Misuse and Addiction
While kratom isn’t classified as a traditional opioid, it contains compounds that can produce opioid-like effects, leading to the potential for drug dependence and addiction.
Here are some signs of kratom misuse and addiction:
Using kratom more often or in higher doses than intended
An overwhelming urge to use kratom even when inappropriate.
Spending a lot of time, money, or energy on obtaining, using, or recovering from kratom
Neglecting other responsibilities or interests because of kratom use
Experiencing problems at work, school, or home because of kratom use
Continuing to use kratom despite negative consequences or health risks
Trying to quit or reduce kratom use but failing
Experiencing kratom withdrawal symptoms when stopping or lowering kratom use
Understanding Kratom Withdrawal
Kratom withdrawal syndrome is a real and challenging experience that individuals may face when discontinuing kratom use.
For some, kratom withdrawal symptoms can be intense and overwhelming, making it difficult to go through the process alone. Others may experience more manageable moderate withdrawal symptoms that still require support and coping strategies.
While kratom withdrawal may not be as intense as opioid withdrawal, it can still be challenging.
During this period, seeking professional help and guidance can provide the necessary support to navigate the symptoms and ensure a safer and more comfortable transition to a kratom-free state.
Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Kratom withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the amount, frequency, and duration of kratom use. Here are common kratom withdrawal symptoms:
Anxiety, depression, irritability, or mood swings
Insomnia, fatigue, or restlessness
Muscle aches, cramps, or spasms
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
Hot flashes, sweating, or chills
Runny nose, watery eyes, or sneezing
Headache, dizziness, or blurred vision
Cravings for kratom or other opioids
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Kratom withdrawal timeline can also vary depending on metabolism, genetics, and health conditions.
While experiences differ, here’s a general overview of the stages:
1. Early Symptoms (6-12 hours): Early withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, anxiety, cravings, and irritability may emerge.
2. Peak (2-3 days): Physical and mental symptoms intensify, including nausea, sweating, tremors, and mood swings.
3. Subsiding (5-7 days): Kratom withdrawal symptoms lessen in severity, but mood disturbances and cravings might persist.
4. Resolution (1-2 weeks): Most physical symptoms diminish, although psychological symptoms like anxiety and cravings might linger.
5. Post-Acute (Weeks to months): Some individuals experience lingering mood swings, irritability, severe depression, or occasional cravings.
Kratom Addiction Treatment Options
You are not alone if you are struggling with kratom misuse or addiction. Kratom addiction treatment options can help you overcome dependence and restore your health and well-being.
Here are some of the most common and effective ways to overcome kratom addiction and achieve recovery.
The first step in treating addiction is to detoxify from the substance and eliminate it from your system. This can be done in different settings, depending on the severity of your kratom addiction and your personal preferences.
Inpatient Detox takes place in a specialized facility, where you are monitored by medical professionals 24/7.
This medical detox is the safest and most comfortable way to detox from kratom, as you will receive medication and support to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications.
Outpatient Detox is a type of medical detox that occurs at home or in another setting outside of a facility. You will still receive medication and guidance from a doctor or a counselor. Still, you will have more freedom and flexibility in your schedule.
Outpatient detox may suit you if you have a mild to moderate kratom addiction, a strong support system, and no underlying medical conditions or mental disorders.
Counseling and Behavioral Therapies
Detoxification alone isn’t enough to treat drug addiction, as it does not address the underlying causes and triggers that fuel your substance use disorder.
To achieve long-term recovery, you must participate in counseling and therapy sessions to help you understand and change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to kratom.
Individual therapy involves a one-on-one session with a licensed therapist who will help you explore your personal history, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and develop coping skills to prevent relapse.
It can also help you deal with co-occurring mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, or trauma, that may contribute to your kratom addiction.
Group therapy is a session with a therapist and others who share similar experiences with kratom addiction. It can provide peer support, feedback, and encouragement and help you learn from others’ successes and challenges.
Group therapy can also help you develop social skills and build healthy relationships essential for recovery.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of addiction treatment that combines medication and behavioral therapies to treat opioid addiction, including kratom addiction.
MAT can help reduce the risk of kratom overdose, withdrawal symptoms, and cravings and improve your mood, functioning, and quality of life.
Opioid agonists are medications that activate the same receptors in the brain as opioids but with less intensity.
They can help replace kratom and prevent withdrawal symptoms without producing euphoria or intoxication. Some examples of opioid agonists are methadone and buprenorphine.
Other medications that may treat kratom addiction are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticonvulsants.
These medications can help address kratom withdrawal’s physical and psychological effects, such as pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.
Holistic approaches are complementary treatments that focus on the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
They can enhance the effectiveness of conventional addiction treatments by improving your overall health and well-being. Some examples of holistic approaches are:
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation involve physical poses, breathing exercises, and mental focus.
They can help you relax, reduce stress, increase awareness, and cultivate mindfulness. Yoga and meditation can also improve physical fitness, flexibility, balance, and posture.
Nutritional counseling is a service that provides you with information and guidance on how to eat healthy and balanced. It can help restore your nutritional status, boost your immune system, prevent deficiencies, and manage weight.
Nutritional counseling can also help you avoid foods that may trigger cravings or worsen withdrawal symptoms.
Recovery and Maintenance for Kratom Addiction
You may benefit from professional treatment and ongoing support if you struggle with kratom dependence or addiction. Here are some strategies to help you recover and maintain your sobriety.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
Relapse is a common challenge for people recovering from substance use disorder. To prevent relapse, you need to identify your triggers, cope with cravings, and have a plan for high-risk situations.
Some strategies include:
Avoiding places, people, and things that remind you of kratom use
Practicing healthy lifestyle habits such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep
Seeking alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, or acupuncture
Learning to manage stress, emotions, and negative thoughts
Seeking help from a therapist or counselor when needed
Support Groups and Community
Recovering from kratom addiction can be lonely and isolating. You may feel misunderstood, judged, or ashamed by others who do not understand your situation.
That’s why finding a support group and community that can offer you empathy, encouragement, and accountability is important. Some options include:
12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.)
Non-12-step programs such as SMART Recovery or Refuge Recovery
Online forums, chat rooms, or social media groups for substance use disorder recovery
Local or online meetings, workshops, or events related to drug and alcohol dependence recovery
Aftercare planning is creating a long-term plan for your recovery after completing a treatment program. It involves setting goals, monitoring progress, and addressing challenges that may arise along the way.
Some components of aftercare planning include:
Continuing therapy or counseling sessions
Following up with medical appointments and medications
Enrolling in educational or vocational programs
Finding hobbies or interests that give you joy and fulfillment
Volunteering or giving back to your community
Family and Social Support
Family and social support are essential for your recovery and well-being. They can provide love, care, and comfort during difficult times.
They can also help you cope with stress, celebrate your achievements, and hold you accountable for your actions.
Rehab for Kratom Addiction Treatment
Different types of rehab programs can help you overcome kratom addiction, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are some of the most common ones:
Residential Treatment Centers
Residential treatment centers offer a program where you stay at a rehab facility for some time, usually between 28 and 90 days.
You receive 24/7 care and support from medical and mental health professionals and others in recovery. You also participate in various behavioral or alternative therapies and activities that help you address the root causes of your addiction, learn coping skills, and prepare for life after rehab.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
At PHPs, people with substance use disorder attend treatment at a rehab facility several hours a day, usually five to seven days a week.
They receive similar services as in residential treatment, but they can go home or to a sober living environment at night. This can be a good option if they need intensive care but also have some stability and support at home.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
IOP is a program where you attend treatment sessions at a rehab facility for a few hours daily, usually three to five days a week.
Clients here receive services similar to PHP but with less frequency and intensity. This can be a good option if you have a mild to moderate addiction, completed a higher level of care, and need ongoing support.
Ready to Overcome Kratom Addiction? Get the Support You Need at NuView Treatment Center
At NuView Treatment Center, we understand the challenges of breaking free from substance abuse. That’s why our experienced team is here to help you break free from the cycle of dependence and regain your well-being.
We offer evidence-based treatment programs tailored to your unique needs, combining medical expertise, counseling, and holistic approaches.
Reclaim your life and start your journey to recovery with NuView Treatment Center. Contact us today to take the first step towards a healthier, addiction-free future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kratom Addiction Treatme
Can Kratom Cause Depression or Anxiety?
Excessive Kratom use may lead to mood changes, including depression or anxiety.
What Is Kratom Used for Medically?
People use kratom for pain relief and managing opioid withdrawal in some traditional settings, but its medical use is not well-established. In the U.S., it's not lawfully marketed as drug products, herbal supplements, or food additives.
Is Kratom Considered a Dietary Supplement or a Controlled Substance?
Kratom is not considered a dietary supplement or an FDA-approved medication. It is regulated under the Controlled Substances Act in some states and countries due to its potential for abuse.
Is It Safe to Take Kratom While Breastfeeding?
It's not safe to take kratom while breastfeeding. Remember to consult medical professionals before making any decisions.
Does Kratom Cause Respiratory Depression?
High doses of kratom can lead to respiratory depression, a potentially dangerous condition involving slowed breathing.
Are There Fda-Approved Medications for Treating Kratom Addiction?
There is no FDA-approved medication specifically for treating kratom addiction. However, medications approved for opioid addiction, such as buprenorphine and methadone, might be considered.
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