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  • Writer's pictureDr. Harold Pierre

Kratom Addiction: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Jan 11


Kratom Addiction and Treatment Options


In 2016, I had no idea what kratom was. That all changed when the a patient called and reported becoming addicted to kratom. Since then, I've treated many cases of kratom addiction. Addiction to kratom is underreported since it's not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and it is not controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. I want to shed some light on kratom so that you can learn the effects of kratom use and help you find treatment for kratom addiction.


What is Kratom?


Kratom is from a tropical tree called Mitragyna speciosa. The tree is native to Southeast Asia. Kratom has been used for hundreds of years there by the indigenous people. They use it as medicine and also to feel good. Now kratom is becoming popular in America too.


There are many chemicals found in kratom leaves. But, the main kratom compounds are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These chemicals act on the brain like opioids do. At low doses, kratom gives stimulant effects. At higher doses, it makes people feel euphoric and relaxed like opioids.

Kratom leaves presented as capsules

People ingest kratom by chewing the raw leaves. They also drink it as tea, take capsules, tablets or use powders. Effects


start in 5-10 minutes. They last 2-5 hours. Doses of kratom range from 1-5 grams. At 1-2 grams, kratom boosts energy. At 3-5 grams, it relieves pain and makes people feel chilled out. More than 5 grams is not recommended because it can cause seizures and death.


In the U.S., people use kratom to feel good, get energy, manage pain, and ease opioid withdrawal. But regular user can become dependent because the risk of developing an addiction is high. They can have withdrawal symptoms when they stop.


While traditional use in Asia was okay, uncontrolled use of strong commercial kratom products in the U.S. may need regulation. More research is still required on the long-term effects and safety of chronic kratom use.


Effects of Kratom Use


The main active compounds in kratom leaves are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Kratom compounds activate opioid receptors in the brain. This is what produces kratom’s effects, including potential for drug addiction.


In small doses, kratom acts as a stimulant. In larger doses, it has an opioid-like effect of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief. With regular use over time, your body can become dependent on these compounds, making it challenging to stop using kratom.


Is Kratom Addictive?


Kratom has high potential for addiction. In the US, people use kratom to manage pain and opioid withdrawal. Quite often, people believe kratom is safe because it is natural. But it's the effects of kratom that can lead to issues similar to opioid addiction.

Some key facts about the addictive potential of kratom:

  • Kratom activates the brain’s opioid receptors much like opioid painkillers. This can lead to dependence and addiction.

  • Withdrawal symptoms are possible with heavy kratom use over an extended period of time.

  • Long-term kratom use can result in cravings, difficulty stopping, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms on cessation.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified kratom compounds as opioids with potential for abuse and addiction.

  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists kratom as a drug of concern due to its addiction potential.

So while kratom is not a true opiate since it is not derived from the opium poppy plant, it does carry risks of dependence, tolerance, and addiction similar to opioid drugs. Heavy users of kratom experience withdrawal symptoms. Kratom's stimulant effects also has some negative health effects which will be listed below.


Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal


There are symptoms associated with kratom use that people often overlook. People who use kratom report uncomfortable sickness that tend to happen within weeks of regular use. These include:

  • Muscle aches

  • Insomnia and sleep disruption

  • Feeling restless or anxious

  • Really wanting kratom

  • Runny nose and watery eyes

  • Hot and cold flashes

  • Nausea, throwing up, diarrhea

  • High blood pressure

Symptoms are worst 2-4 days after stopping kratom. They get better within a week usually. But cravings and anxiety can last longer. These are kratom withdrawal and the severity depends on the person and how much kratom they used.


What is kratom addiction?


Addiction means being unable to control kratom use. It leads to bad effects on life. Addicts take more kratom to get the same feeling. This is called tolerance. If they try to quit, they get sick. This sickness is withdrawal.

Signs of kratom addiction include:

  • Strong cravings for kratom

  • Using it even if it causes money or relationship problems

  • Avoiding people to take kratom

  • Driving or using kratom unsafely

  • Taking more kratom to get the same effect

  • Feeling sick if trying to stop

Tolerance


Addicts need more kratom to feel the same effects. They take bigger doses or use it more often.


Withdrawal


Addicts feel sick if they can't take kratom. They get symptoms like muscle aches, anxiety, runny nose, and poor sleep.


Loss of Control


Addicts take more kratom than planned. They try unsuccessfully to cut back or quit. They spend a lot of time using, thinking of using, or recovering from use.


Life Disruption


Kratom use causes issues with work, school, money, relationships, or the law. But people keep using anyway.


Cravings


Addicts feel strong urges to use kratom. They use it in risky situations like before driving.


Risky Use


Addicts use kratom in unsafe ways or when pregnant. They keep using despite physical or mental health problems.

If you notice some of these addiction signs in yourself or a loved one, you likely need treatment.


Understanding Drug Addiction


Kratom is a substance that can cause addiction. Millions of Americans are struggling with addiction. It is not a choice. Addicts need support, not shame. Genetics and environment shape brains differently. Some are more prone to addiction. Trauma and mental illness often come first. They try to self-medicate pain. Drugs alter the reward center. Cravings and withdrawal result. Use increases to chase the high. Tolerance builds, needing more drugs. Lying hides growing problems. Work and relationships suffer. Guilt and despair set in. Self-worth plummets. Getting clean feels impossible. Fear of detox stops them. Shame prevents asking for help. Stigma calls them immoral.


But addiction is a disease. Dopamine pathways are hijacked. Drugs become all-consuming. Recovery takes time, support, and relapse prevention. Behavioral therapy helps change habits. Medication assists with cravings. Support groups provide a community. Healing past trauma is key. Addicts need empathy, not judgment. Change is possible with patience and care. Recovery is a lifelong process. Their journey matters more than past mistakes. With compassion, we can make a difference.

Mitragynina speciosa or Kratom leaves with powder product in white ceramic bowl and water from the extracts of the kratom leaves. Supplement kratom green capsules

Kratom Addiction Treatment Options


Overcoming addiction is a process, but professional treatment and support makes recovery possible. Kratom addiction is similar to treatment for opioid abuse. Treatment options for kratom addiction include:


Addiction Treatment Centers


Medically-Supervised Detox

Stopping kratom use suddenly can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. At a detox center, trained medical staff provide 24/7 supervision and medications to ease withdrawal and cravings. This makes detox safer and more comfortable.


Inpatient Rehab

A residential rehab facility offers intensive treatment while living full-time at the center. Individual and group counseling aim to get to the root causes of addiction. Healthy coping skills are taught to prevent relapse. 30-90 day programs may be recommended.


Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient programs offer addiction treatment while the person lives at home. Services can include counseling, therapy, 12-step programs, medication management, and relapse prevention skills. Flexible daytime and evening options are available.


Individual Counseling

One-on-one counseling helps identify triggers, develop a relapse prevention plan, and make lifestyle changes to support recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy are commonly used.


Group Counseling

Group therapy allows sharing with others facing similar struggles. Peer support can be very powerful. Group therapy options include 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and general group counseling sessions.


Medications

Prescription medications may help control withdrawal symptoms and kratom cravings during detox and recovery:

  • Buprenorphine to bind to opioid receptors, reducing cravings and withdrawal.

  • Naltrexone to further block opioid receptor action and reduce likelihood of relapse.

  • Anti-anxiety meds, sleep aids, and anti-nausea meds to ease specific withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment should be tailored to the individual's needs. A combination of medically-supervised detox, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention is often most effective. Call a treatment center to learn more about choosing the right kratom addiction recovery program.


Finding a Treatment Center for Kratom Addiction


Man greeting the sun. Successful therapy

Seeking help is the first step towards recovery from kratom addiction. To find treatment options:

  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. This free, confidential service can assist you 24/7 in locating treatment.

  • Check the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services locator. Search for kratom addiction treatment programs by location, type of care offered, payment options, and other filters.

  • Contact local kratom addiction treatment centers. Ask questions, learn about their programs and success rates, and see if they accept your insurance coverage.

  • Consider inpatient rehab for intensive treatment, especially if outpatient programs have not been successful. 30-90 day residential programs focus fully on recovery away from triggers.

  • Look into medically-supervised detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms before starting substance abuse counseling and therapy.

  • Look for a Suboxone Doctor near you with experience treating kratom addiction.

Do not let cost concerns stop you from seeking help - many treatment centers work with insurance providers or offer financing options. There are programs to fit every budget.


I am Here to Help


If you searched “Suboxone Clinic Near Me” or “Suboxone Doctor Near Me” and found me, I believe you found the best clinic for Suboxone services in the Tulsa area . I lead a team with decades of experience, and a commitment to providing you with comfort, care, and respect as you navigate this challenging time in your life. We also make treatment super convenient with hours of operation that extend from 0800 AM to 0900 PM, 7 days a week through scheduled appointments, accept most insurances, making addiction treatment accessible to practically all who call. I am waiting for your call.


Bottom Line for Treatment for Kratom Addiction


Kratom may seem harmless, but long-term use can lead to dependence and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms, cravings, building tolerance, and life disruption indicate when kratom use has become unhealthy. Professional treatment combined with support and healthy lifestyle changes can overcome addiction.


If you recognize kratom addiction in yourself or someone you care about, reach out for help today. A treatment center can guide you through detox, counseling, building relapse prevention skills, and learning to enjoy life in recovery. Call now to take the first step, 918-518-1636.


About the author:

Dr. Harold Pierre is a board-certified anesthesiologist and addiction medicine specialist with over 20 years of experience. He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Board of Preventive Medicine.


This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician or another qualified medical professional. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.



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