Is Kratom Physically Addictive?

Is Kratom Physically Addictive?

This entry was posted in addiction on by .

Kratom has become a popular substance that provides narcotic effects but is not classified as illegal in the United States yet. Because of this, many people don’t ask themselves if kratom is physically addictive because the assumption is that it must be safe to consume. Kratom has the potential to be dangerous and even deadly, making it worth it for individuals and their loved ones to learn more about it. This includes knowing if kratom is physically addictive. 

What is Kratom?

Kratom comes from the leaves of a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. When ingested, kratom causes a psychotropic reaction, which classifies it as a mind-altering substance. Kratom can be consumed by taking a pill, brewing it in a tea, mixing it into food, or smoking it. Because kratom is not an illegal drug in the U.S., many people believe it to be risk-free and are not concerned with any potential damage it might do. Many countries have outlawed the purchase and possession of kratom, while the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers it a “drug of concern”. 

Kratom is often sold over the internet, in the form of a green powder, an extract, or gum. Advertising typically describes it as a dietary or herbal supplement. Because the production and packaging of kratom are not monitored by any agency, there is a risk of the product being contaminated or containing unexpected filler items that may be dangerous or even deadly. Kratom sometimes goes by street names such as thang, thom, ketum, biak, and kakuam.

Using Kratom is Often Associated with Other Drugs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2011-2017, the National Poison Center received over 1,800 calls related to exposure to kratom. The State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) indicated that during the period from July 2016 to December 2017, of the 27,338 overdose deaths reported, 152 of those who died had kratom in their system at the time of death. Kratom-involvement was cited as the cause of death for 91 of these cases, with a total of seven who died testing positive solely for kratom. 

The same report also states that in about eight out of ten deaths that were classified as either kratom-positive or kratom-involved, the person had a noted history of substance misuse.  Almost all of the individuals who overdosed tested positive for multiple substances in their systems. The most frequently found substance found included fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, followed by heroin, benzodiazepines, prescription opioids, and cocaine.

Is Kratom Physically Addictive?

Not many definitive studies about the potential addictiveness of kratom have been done, but the risk of becoming dependent on it does exist. Many people who take it do so to enjoy responses similar to the ones they get from using opioids, which produce false sensations of pleasure and euphoria. When the body becomes reliant on narcotics such as those in the opioid family for those sensations, it often begins to fail to be able to produce them naturally. 

When this happens, a person who has become dependent on or addicted to drugs like kratom can be made so uncomfortable by the withdrawal symptoms that occur when they do not use those drugs that they immediately return to using them. Kratom itself is sometimes used to treat opioid addiction but can become part of the problem when a person becomes reliant on it.

Signs That Kratom is Physically Addictive

When a person becomes physically addicted to kratom, common side effects may occur. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Being very talkative
  • Increased sex drive
  • Euphoric state of mind
  • Obsession with acquiring and using the drug
  • Increased energy levels
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Being delusional
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Usage of other dangerous narcotics

Withdrawal Symptoms When Kratom is Physically Addictive

When a person who is addicted to kratom stops taking it, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. Which ones and how long they last depend on the severity of the addiction, but common ones include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscular pain
  • Body aches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Jerking arm and leg movements
  • Tremors 
  • Aggressiveness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug

The withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person stops taking kratom are similar to those experienced when detoxing from opioids but generally don’t last as long. Withdrawal symptoms typically start within 12 to 48 hours of the last dosage of the drug and last from three to five days. The emotional symptoms and the cravings often last a week or more after the other symptoms have subsided.

Kratom Addiction Treatment in Phoenix

Realizing that you may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be scary when you don’t know where to turn for help. Continuum Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Our holistic treatment programs treat you as an individual and help you learn to embrace recovery.

If you would like to speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly staff, we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Contact Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix now and get started on the road to recovery.