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October 17, 2022

Is Kratom Addictive?

A Potentially Addictive Substance

People often believe that if a substance is made from naturally occurring plants, is legal, or is widely available, it isn’t harmful or addictive. This isn’t the case, especially when it comes to kratom: the new “it” drug sweeping the United States.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a tree in Southeast Asia. People grind its leaves to make tablets, capsules, or extracts. They might also mix it into teas or chew the leaves. They do this to achieve various effects on their brains and behaviors. In fact, some people believe that this substance can help them fight opioid withdrawal.

In low doses, kratom acts as a stimulant. People often think it makes them more alert and gives them more physical energy. In higher doses, however, it acts as a sedative. Its use has become increasingly popular, prompting alarm among scientists and professionals who recognize its harmful properties. Despite these potential dangers, it is legal to possess this drug in most of the United States, including Florida (other than in Sarasota County).

While researchers are still working to understand the exact dangers of kratom, the side effects and possible withdrawal problems are real. The effects are not the same for everyone, and if someone experiences negative life changes due to its use, they should seek professional help immediately.

Kratom Side Effects

Kratom is not approved by the FDA. There aren’t enough rigorous scientific studies to justify its use as a treatment for fatigue, opium withdrawal, or other recognizable medical condition. However, experts do recognize the potentially harmful side effects of kratom, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Liver damage
  • Muscle pain
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures, comas, and death

Is Kratom Addictive?

The DEA has listed this substance as a “drug and chemical of concern,” and other organizations have declared that kratom is addictive. The compounds in this substance act on the same receptors in the brain as other drugs known to cause addiction. Some studies indicate that people who stop taking it have withdrawal symptoms.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR) helps healthcare professionals diagnose substance use disorders. Kratom use is not currently listed, but this could change as researchers dig deeper into its use and effects

If people continue to take this drug even after recognizing its negative consequences, they should seek treatment. That is a sign of a substance use disorder.

Kratom Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms from kratom are similar to those of opiates, including physical and psychological issues. People who stop taking it may have severe abdominal cramps, hot flashes, muscle aches, and vomiting. In extreme cases, they may even experience seizures.

Kratom withdrawal can also result in irritability, anxiety, depression, agitation, and mood changes. People who suffer these physical and psychological symptoms should seek help from experienced professionals who know how to help people fight their substance use and get back to their lives.

Get a Customized Treatment Plan

The scientific community needs more rigorous research to make final determinations on the harmful properties of kratom. But if you or a loved one are suffering because of your use of or withdrawal from the drug, contact Beach House. We will conduct a detailed assessment and create a customized treatment plan to get you back on track.