Is Kratom Addictive?

Is Kratom Addictive

The short answer is Yes! 

First, what is Kratom and why should you care? Kratom is a plant derivative of Mitragyna speciose. This is an evergreen tree in the coffee plant family that grows in the wild in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Malaysia. Like other plant and herbal derivatives, people incorrectly assume that since it comes from a plant and is “natural,” it should be safe. With Kratom, this can be a dangerous assumption. 

The Truth About Kratom

Kratom stimulates the opiate receptors in the brain. This is the same mechanism of action that opioids have. Because of this fact, Kratom exposes its users to the same set of problems.

These problems include:

  • Dependence
  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal 
  • Potential for Abuse

Other reported problems include:

  • Salmonella infection
  • Seizures
  • Liver Failure
  • Death

Why Are People Turning to Kratom?

Why do some people choose to use Kratom? There are a few reasons. Kratom has been marketed as a recreational substance and–at low doses–it can create a sense of euphoria. It is also variously touted as a mood stabilizer, a painkiller, an addiction treatment, and as a withdrawal management tool. It comes in capsule, powder, and extract forms, and can be ingested either in food or as a tea. It is quite bitter and unpleasant by itself.

Kratom has become increasingly accessible in the US in recent years. It can be bought online or at local tobacco and herbal shops. Some books trumpet its “miraculous” properties and suggest how to use it to detox off opiates. 

An Unregulated and Dangerous Substance

However, remember that the Kratom market is completely unregulated. Furthermore, the FDA has issued several warnings and reports on the dangers of Kratom. It is NOT an FDA-approved substance and there aren’t controlled scientific studies on its safety or efficacy. Instead, there are multiple reports about its many dangers.

Like street drugs, there are no meaningful government controls or quality inspections that ensure that the product being sold is actually safe or is even Kratom.

Kratom is Not a Withdrawal Management Tool

Sadly, when a person tries using Kratom to get through the withdrawal symptoms of other opioids, they can end up dependent on both opiates and Kratom. 

There are only three FDA-approved medications for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD.) These Medication-Assisted Treatments (or MAT) are: Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone. Unlike the first 2 medications, Naltrexone is a non-addictive opioid blocker (opioid antagonist) that reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol, and can block highs.

Detox Off Kratom at the Coleman Institute

Dr. Peter Coleman and his team of experienced addiction professionals have successfully detoxed multiple patients off of Kratom. Since Kratom functions in the brain the same way that opiates do, the Coleman Method® works quite well in getting patients through the detox process quickly, safely, and relatively comfortably. At the end of a Kratom detox with us, patients receive 6 months of Naltrexone therapy and case management services to help them navigate the challenges of early recovery and get into long-term recovery. 

Our team works closely with patients (and family members, if desired) to develop a personalized treatment plan that will work best for them. Our entire focus is on helping people get into long-term recovery from dependence on alcohol or opioids—including substances like Kratom or poppy seed tea. Schedule a callback to learn more.

Deborah Reich, MD

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