What Is Kratom? Are You Addicted to It?
Kratom is not a well known substance but is gaining popularity for its psychotropic properties and as an herbal remedy for easing cravings associated with opioid or alcohol addiction. The kratom tree is found in Southeast Asia and Africa, and its leaves can be chewed, brewed into teas, or turned into powders or extracts. Kratom has similar effects to opioids and, like opioids, can have dangerous side effects and lead to dependence and addiction.
Why Is Kratom Dangerous?
Kratom is a natural substance and legal in the U.S., so many people expect that it is safe to use. However, kratom affects the brain and central nervous system much in the same way stimulants and opioids do. When kratom is used, several things can occur:
- The brain produces a slight level of sedation, which creates a calming effect
- The central nervous system stops feeling pain as intensely
- Neurotransmitters that produce feelings of pleasure and trigger the reward system are released
- A boost of energy is possible
- Some people feel more social or want to interact with others
Because kratom triggers the reward center of the brain, long-term or heavy use of it can lead to dependence and drug-seeking behavior. There are possible negative effects of kratom use:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Some people have reported psychosis as well, a type of mental health breakdown that can lead to long-term complications without treatment.
It is possible to overdose on kratom, but other substances are typically involved. Mixing kratom with illicit drugs, benzos, opioids, or alcohol can increase the risk of an overdose or other severe complications.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Kratom does carry a potential for addiction, much like opioids. With long-term or heavy kratom use, tolerance can develop, causing the person to continue to seek out more of the drug to feel the same type of intense pleasure and relaxation.
Dependence can also form. Dependence occurs when a person feels cravings or withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using kratom. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle aches (sometimes bone aches)
- Emotional changes and imbalances
Addiction to kratom may not be obvious. A person may simply want to keep using it for the benefits it may offer, such as pain relief. More so, as a natural substance, many perceive it to be safe enough to use for any needs. Yet if you feel withdrawal symptoms or cravings when you stop using it, that’s an indication that you may need addiction treatment.
How to Get Treatment for Kratom Addiction
Like any other addiction, treatment revolves around breaking dependence, which means working to remove the substance through the body and then giving the brain time to heal.
The level of treatment required depends on the severity of the addiction and whether other substances are involved. For some people, drug detox is a necessary first step.
Many others need to work through addiction and dual diagnosis treatment as a way to battle the presence of underlying mental health conditions. This may include getting help for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety. Because many people seek out kratom as a way to alleviate chronic pain, alternative treatments of the pain may also be beneficial.
Therapy for Kratom Addiction
There are many therapies that can help men and women using kratom. That may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
If you believe you are in need of treatment for kratom addiction, reach out to our team at Victory Addiction Recovery Center today. Our comprehensive addiction treatment program in Lafayette, LA, is ready to support you as you break your dependence and begin a life of lasting sobriety.
Share This Post: