What is Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal Effects?
Kratom is a psychotropic substance acquired from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree by the same name, native to Southeast Asia.
It can be taken in pill form, by chewing the leaves, brewing tea from the leaves, smoking the leaves, or eating the leaves with food.
Kratom contains multiple components, including psychoactive alkaloids responsible for its opioid-like effects.
Currently, little data exists on the drug’s therapeutic capacities or relative safety, since comparatively little research has been done into its effects in the long and short-term.
In February 2018, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) released a statement that there was no evidence kratom was safe or effective in the treatment of any condition.
Still, it is used both recreationally and for management of chronic pain. In 2014, the FDA banned the inclusion of kratom in dietary supplements due to adverse side effects.
Kratom Withdrawal and Side Effects
Due to its combination of opioid and stimulant-like effects, Kratom is used as a pain reliever, mood enhancer, and treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction.
Though now illegal or controlled in many places such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Myanmar, it has been traditionally used to increase appetite and sexual desire.
It has also traditionally been used to treat gastrointestinal issues and cough, in addition to being used as a local anaesthetic.
Side effects of kratom depend on dosage and frequency of use, and can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
Is Kratom Addictive?
Long-term continued use of Kratom can lead to dependence or addiction, because users may experience kratom withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue using it.
While the literature is somewhat divided on whether or not using the substance in any form poses a risk to respiratory functioning, in 2016 the FDA listed inhibited respiratory functioning as a potential danger associated with its use.
Chronic kratom use has also been linked to liver damage, though the direct link between its use and liver damage remains unknown. Much of the drug’s pharmacology is under-researched, and thus not yet thoroughly understood.
Kratom Use in the United States
Between 2010 and 2015, approximately 600 calls were made to poison control centers regarding kratom poisoning. From 2014 to 2016, approximately 15 related deaths were reported.
In 2014, Kratom was marketed in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. In August of 2016, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) announced its intention to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug of the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has:
- A high potential for abuse
- No current accepted medical use in treatment in the US, and
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision
This announcement was met with backlash from Americans who used the drug to mitigate chronic pain or treat opioid and alcohol dependence.
Approximately 140,000 people signed an online petition rejecting the possibility of this classification, and while the DEA initially decided not to heed the signatures, in October 2016, the notice of intent was withdrawn.
As of March 2018, kratom is illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Kratom Addiction and Treatment
Kratom use in the United States is not as widespread as that of opioids or other addictive substances, but it can still become problematic for many people, as evidenced by the number of emergency room calls throughout the country.
Kratom addiction follows patterns similar to opioids, and as such, treatment follows the same path, beginning with supervised detox to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
After detox, recovery treatment continues with a 30 to 90-day program that is individualized for each person based on their needs and behavioral patterns, while identifying the underlying causes of their misuse.
At Alo House, we understand that each person is unique, and we provide a custom-designed treatment plan that best suits their individual needs for successful recovery.
Our non 12 step rehab program uses evidence-based therapies to treat various forms of substance use addiction, including opioids and others like kratom. Some of the proven treatment meodalities we offer include:
- Cognitive Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Relapse Prevention Therapy
Our “connection, not control” philosophy is the essence of our Compassionate Care Model of addiction treatment that empowers our clients to thrive in recovery.
To learn more about our detox and addiction treatment programs in southern California, call us toll-free at (888) 478-5705.