Menu Close

Kratom Abuse

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Kratom is newer to America’s illicit drug scene than drugs like cocaine and marijuana, but its potency can’t
be dismissed.
Currently, it is legal for use in America. This is a green light to many who view “legal”
as meaning the same as “safe.”

However, the Drug Enforcement Agency has listed is as a drug of concern. Why? Adverse reactions to the drug have
been popping up all over the country. In 2013, a Colorado man was pronounced dead four days after suffering from a
grand mal seizure linked to his use of kratom, Fox 31 reports. Maybe that’s just one of the 43,982 drug-related overdose
deaths that occurred that year, per DrugWarFacts, but there’s plenty of margin for error when we consider how
many medical reports kratom isn’t reported in since it isn’t viewed as an illicit drug.

Kratom is actually a natural substance derived from the kratom tree. There are red-, white-, and green-veined
varieties of this plant. The red version is the easiest to come by and pretty potent. Thus, most abusers prefer this
type, but some people like the milder effects of the green-veined leaves or the allegedly more intense stimulant
effects of the white variety. All variants of the drug are easily available for purchase online, some even in pill
and capsule form for easy ingestion. This has sadly aided the development of a popular following for this drug.

Who Uses It?

Many who abuse kratom are in search of the effects it provides, such as:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Boosted sex drive
  • Increased physical strength
  • Outgoing and more social attitude

Some want to take advantage of the drug’s potency for weight loss purposes. In America, kratom is sold
in a dried and crushed form in many stores as a weight loss aid. Others prefer it for the high it

Since kratom is often used in an effort to boost mood, and it is believed to have medicinal properties
in certain cultures, it may be used by those with mental health issues in an effort to self-medicate.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of all people with one or more severe mental
health disorders are also substance abusers.

Kratom is more popular among younger people, too, probably because it is alike in nature to other
synthetic drugs that are more commonly abused by the same demographic.
PsychCentral notes 11.3
percent of 12th graders admitted to past-year use of synthetic marijuana in 2012.

Some people get hooked on kratom when trying to self-treat their opioid withdrawal symptoms, like diarrhea and
chronic pain. Other medicinal uses for the drug include the treatment of high blood pressure and major
depression —the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes 6.7 percent of Americans suffer from

The Dangerous Downside of Kratom Abuse

How Is It Abused?

Most often, kratom abusers chew the leaves of the plant in their natural state to get high. However, some may dry
and crush the leaves, folding them into blunts or smoking the substance in pipes. Others may prefer to steep the
leaves into a tea and drink the kratom-infused beverage.

Regardless of the method of ingestion, the effects are the same, though some believe raw consumption may be more
intense. Higher doses that exceed the typical maximum of 16 grams are more sedating than invigorating. Thus,
depending on the dose and frequency of such, a lower dose may feel more like a cocaine high while a larger one is
akin to the feeling of using heroin.

The Dangerous Downside of Kratom Abuse

Abusers of kratom are at risk of many common side effects that can stem from stimulants and diet aid products.
Kratom alone has not been reported as a direct cause of an overdose-related
as of yet; however, there have been reports of deaths in polydrug users where kratom was one of the
substances present. When a 21-year-old man from Dublin, Ireland, died, his autopsy revealed a mix of substances as
the cause of his respiratory-related death — one of those substances was kratom tea, The Fix reports. Individuals
who abuse multiple substances are predisposed to the highest level of risk.

Those who are trying to use kratom to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms are at heightened risk for adverse effects.
This method of self-treatment can and often does backfire, too. It did for one substance abuser who attempted to
medicate his opioid withdrawal symptoms with kratom and suffered from a tonic-clonic seizure as a result, a Journal of
publication notes.

The biggest potential risk that comes with kratom abuse is that we still don’t know much about it. The substance has
been studied very little, and both short- and long-term effects are still not fully understood. While insomnia and
constipation are milder effects, some kratom abusers end up with skin discoloration and even anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia affects around eight people for every 100,000 in America, Current Opinion in
reports, and many of them die as a result of their illness. Psychosis, hallucinations and
delusions are also commonly seen in people who abuse large amounts of kratom.

Treating Kratom Addiction

Man at doctor for drug abuseWhile efforts to deter kratom abuse have been made by
the Food and Drug Administration via a nationwide ban on the drug’s importation being passed in 2014, it still manages
to fly under the radar through regulation loopholes to makes its way into the states. If you’ve found yourself requiring
larger or more frequent doses of kratom to keep up with the desired effects you’ve become accustomed to, dependence is
already forming. Using it to avoid withdrawal, a lack of control over when or how much kratom you use, isolation from
social activities, and continued abuse of kratom despite its ill effects on your life are all additional signs of addiction.

Treatment for kratom addiction isn’t one size fits all. Those who have been abusing alcohol or other drugs in
conjunction with this plant-based stimulant will require a rehabilitation plan that is tailored to their needs. Addicts
who have been abusing kratom alone may be able to get through detox pretty comfortably with the addition of medication
to relieve side effects during that time.

Learn More

While in withdrawal, you can expect some of the following symptoms:

  • Aggressive mood
  • Hostile behavior
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms, especially in the extremities
  • Muscular pain

Most of these symptoms come and go within a week’s time, with the worst of them peaking around day two or three into
detox. Following this process, continued therapy and participation in support groups are both advisable. Beating
addiction doesn’t merely entail overcoming the physical dependency aspect. The tendency and desire to abuse a
substance don’t disappear with detox.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reports that addicts who seek continued
treatment within 30 days of finishing a detox program
will have increased protection against relapse and take 40 percent longer to do so, if they do at all. For this
reason, follow-up care can help to change the way you cope with triggers, and thus, help you avoid relapse.

Michael’s House is staffed with some of the best medical and addiction treatment
specialists in the nation. While kratom may be unfamiliar to most of the country, it isn’t to us.

Call today to discuss your treatment needs and how we can make sure kratom is nothing more than a part of your past.