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Kratom Drug Addiction

    Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects. It is not currently an illegal substance and people suffering from Kratom Drug Addiction can easily order it on the internet. It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets labeled “not for human consumption.” It is also sometimes sold as an extract or gum, states the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the piece ‘Kratom DrugFacts’. 

    Most people take kratom as a pill, capsule, or extract. Some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as tea. Sometimes the leaves are smoked or eaten in food.

    Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. Two compounds in kratom leaves (mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxy mitragynine) interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. Mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects. When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects. [1] 

    In low doses, kratom has a stimulant effect, resulting in increased energy, talkativeness, and less need for sleep. Higher doses of kratom are said to have an effect similar to morphine, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NY OASAS) reports, by working on opioid receptors and some of the brain’s chemical messengers related to emotional regulation and pleasure. [2]

    Kratom abuse appears to be on the rise in the United States, as the Journal of Addictive Diseases [3] reports on increased poison control center calls. In America, kratom is often marketed as a nutritional or dietary supplement. Negative reactions to the toxicity of the drug prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban its import in 2014. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) [4] lists kratom as a “drug of concern” in the United States.

    Kratom Drug Addiction
    Most people take kratom as a pill, capsule, or extract. Some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as a tea. Sometimes the leaves are smoked or eaten in food.

    Although the drug is not currently under federal control, it is still considered a possibly dangerous drug of abuse with the potential for dependence and addiction with prolonged and regular use. [5] 

    So the answer to the question “can you get addicted to Kratom?” is yes, people take Kratom for the stimulating sensations, the pleasant effects Kratom produces, this sensation is similar and associated with opioids or other stimulants with risks of producing hallucinations and psychosis

    How Addictive is Kratom?

    When a person takes a mind-altering drug such as kratom, the brain’s natural chemistry is changed. Some of the chemical messengers produced in the brain and sent throughout the body may be stimulated, depressed, or not absorbed properly. 

    Opioids, and likely kratom as well, fill opioid receptors in the brain and along the central nervous system, which can create a kind of backlog of some of the neurotransmitters involved in how a person feels pleasure. This can cause a rush of euphoria, or “high.”

    With regular interference, the brain’s chemistry is altered to expect kratom’s presence. These chemical messengers may not be produced or moved throughout the central nervous system in their normal fashion. A drug dependence is then formed. [5]

    Kratom Drug Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms 

    According to the American Addiction Centers, Kratom Drug withdrawal symptoms may be similar to withdrawal symptoms from opioids and include: [5]

    • A runny nose
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or bone pain
    • Nausea 
    • Constipation 
    • Hostility 
    • Aggression 
    • Tremors 
    • Psychotic symptoms: confusion, delirium, or hallucinations. 

    Anxiety, insomnia, and depression may be common psychological side effects of kratom withdrawal, as the brain’s pleasure and reward processing centers struggle to regain a natural balance without the drug.

    Drug dependence may be increased with higher doses, a longer time abusing the drug, polydrug abuse, an underlying mental health or medical condition, history of substance abuse and/or addiction, genetic contributors, and chronic stress or other environmental factors. Drug dependence is not the same as addiction, although when a person battles drug addiction, dependence is likely a symptom of the disease as are withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings when the drug is removed.

    Kratom Drug Addiction Effects of Use

    According to Healthline.com, in the piece ‘How to Recognize and Treat Kratom Addiction’, medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., Kratom has different effects at low and high doses. At low doses, kratom has energizing (stimulant) effects. At high doses, it can have pain-relieving (analgesic) and sleep-inducing (sedative) effects.

    Side effects are divided into four categories: Mood, Behavioral, Physical and Psychological. The specifics about each type of side effect are listed below. [6]

    Mood:

    • Calmness
    • Sense of well-being
    • Euphoria

    Behavioral:

    • Talkativeness
    • Increased social behavior

    Physical:

    • Pain relief
    • Increased energy
    • Increased libido
    • Sleepiness
    • Constipation
    • Dry mouth
    • Increased urination
    • Itching
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Sweating
    • Sensitivity to sunburn

    Psychological:

    • Increased motivation
    • Increased alertness
    • Psychosis

    Kratom Drug Overdose

    It is possible for a person to overdose out of Kratom Drug consumption, and even die from it. There have been multiple reports of deaths in people who had ingested kratom, but most have involved other substances. A 2019 paper analyzing data from the National Poison Data System found that between 2011-2017 there were 11 deaths associated with kratom exposure. 

    Nine of the 11 deaths reported in this study involved kratom plus other drugs and medicines, such as diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), alcohol, caffeine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and cocaine. Two deaths were reported following exposure from kratom alone with no other reported substances. [7] (Post et al, 2019. Clinical Toxicology).

    In 2017, the FDA identified at least 44 deaths related to kratom, with at least one case investigated as possible use of pure kratom. The FDA reports note that many of the kratom-associated deaths appeared to have resulted from adulterated products or taking kratom with other potent substances, including illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, gabapentin, and over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup. [8] FDA

    Also, there have been some reports of kratom packaged as dietary supplements or dietary ingredients that were laced with other compounds that caused deaths. People should check with their health care providers about the safety of mixing kratom with other medicines. [1]

    Kratom Drug Addiction
    There have been multiple reports of deaths in people who had ingested kratom, but most have involved other substances. A 2019 paper analyzing data from the National Poison Data System found that between 2011-2017 there were 11 deaths associated with kratom exposure. 

    Kratom Drug Detox

    Detoxification (detox) is a process aimed at helping you stop taking a drug as safely and as quickly as possible.

    According to SAMHSA, detox has three main steps: [7]

    1. Evaluation: involves measuring the amount of the substance in the bloodstream and screening for other health conditions.
    2. Stabilization: refers to the transition from using drugs or experiencing withdrawal to becoming substance-free. Medication is sometimes used to help stabilization.
    3. Pretreatment: This stage involves preparing to start an addiction treatment program. It sometimes requires a person to commit themselves to a treatment plan.

    Kratom Drug Addiction Treatment

    Treatment begins once detox ends. The goal of treatment is to help you lead a healthy, drug-free life. Treatment may also address related health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. There are numerous treatment options available. Most of the time, people use more than one. Common treatments for Kratom Drug Addiction include therapy sessions and medications.

    Therapy

    Therapy is conducted by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or addictions counselor. You can do it on your own, with your family, or in a group. 

    There are many different types of therapy. Behavioral therapy refers to all forms of therapy aimed at helping you identify and change self-destructive attitudes and behaviors, particularly those that lead to drug use. A therapist can work with you to help you cope with cravings, avoid drugs, and prevent relapse.

    Therapy can be intensive during the first weeks and months of treatment. Later, you might transition to seeing a therapist on a less frequent basis.

    Medication

    Research has yet to identify the best medications for kratom addiction. Dihydrocodeine and lofexidine (Lucemyra) are typically used to treat opioid withdrawal. They’ve also been used to treat kratom withdrawal. [6]

    The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) suggests that treatment for kratom withdrawal and addiction can also include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs. [8]

    Drug Addiction Help in California, Reclaim your life back

    Kratom Drug Addiction is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up Treatment Center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Kratom Drug Addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

    Sources

    [1] ‘Kratom DrugFacts’ – National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov)

    [2] New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NY OASAS) – (Oasas.ny.gov)

    [3] Journal of Addictive Diseases 

    [4] The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – (Dea.gov/

    [5] Post et al, 2019. Clinical Toxicology

    [6] U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – (Fda.gov)