The plant-based drug kratom has been used for centuries in Asia for its ability to produce effects including enhanced mood, energy, and decreasing health problems for those who use it. It can also trigger the onset of extreme euphoria and sedation. Regardless of the fact that it has been able to be consumed safely in small amounts, kratom is a mind and mood-altering substance that possesses the potential for abuse.
In recent years, kratom has become popular in the United States, often appearing in powder or capsule form. As kratom abuse has become more common in the U.S., fuelled in part by a lack of legislation regarding this drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has taken steps to reclassify its legal status.
Many warnings have been provided by government and health officials regarding the numerous dangers of kratom abuse; however, certain experts have noted that it may have value when employed as part of an effective treatment program. For example, some research scientists have noted that kratom may have potential to help those dependent on opioids end said dependency, as kratom does not contain opioids, but interacts with the same receptors in the brain that opioids do.
One issue that is clear is that kratom abuse can lead to a myriad of problems. If you or a loved one has developed a problem related to the abuse of or addiction to kratom, please reach out to Timberline Knolls. Our team of professionals is dedicated to helping you or a loved one obtain the appropriate skills needed to keep from abusing this dangerous substance again.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that kratom use is increasing in the United States. The number of calls to the CDC regarding kratom increased from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015, most of which were from medical personnel.
These calls were regarding exposure to kratom with a combination of other substances of abuse including ethanol, benzodiazepines, acetaminophen, narcotics, and other botanicals. With the increased use of kratom, more education and research is needed in order to help provide the correct information to the public regarding the risks of kratom abuse.
Causes and Risk Factors for Kratom Abuse
The causes and risk factors for developing an addiction to kratom can include environmental and genetic factors, including the following:
Genetic: Experts agree that there are specific genes that run throughout families that can make one more likely to experience addiction. For example, if a close relative such as a parent or a sibling has battled with addiction firsthand, that individual is more likely to suffer similar struggles, including abuse/addiction to kratom.
Environmental: If an individual socializes with others who abuse drugs and/or alcohol, especially in the formative years, he or she can begin viewing this type of negative behavior as normal and acceptable, making it more likely for him or her to start abusing substances like kratom.
- Being around other people who abuse kratom or other substances
- Ease of access to kratom
- Family history of substance abuse and addiction
- Having an impulsive temperament
- Beginning to abuse substances at an early age
- Suffering from an untreated mental health condition
Signs and Symptoms of Kratom Abuse
The signs and symptoms that you or someone you love has developed a kratom addiction will vary based on the frequency of the use, how much of it is being consumed, and the length of time that it has been abused. Below are some symptoms typical of someone who is abusing kratom:
- Failing to uphold personal responsibilities due to the use of kratom
- Preferring to use kratom over engaging in once enjoyable activities
- Using kratom despite knowing that its caused problems within one’s life
- Using kratom when its physically hazardous to do so
- Spending a great deal of time trying to get, use, and recover from the use of kratom
- Wanting to stop using kratom, but being unable to do so
- Trying but being unsuccessful at stopping one’s use of kratom
- Using kratom in greater amounts and over a longer period of time than intended
- Tolerance for kratom
- Experiencing withdrawal when not able to abuse kratom or when trying to stop using this drug
- Increased energy (when taken in smaller doses)
- Sedation (when taken in larger doses)
- Cravings for kratom
- Emotional detachment from others
- Depressed mood
- Oscillating moods
- Emotional outbursts
Effects of Kratom Abuse
Similar to any other kind of substance use disorder, when a kratom addiction is not treated, many consequences can begin to impact the user. As kratom begins to become the main priority in a user’s life, all other responsibilities that he or she once held can be neglected. However, by receiving treatment for a kratom addiction at a facility such as Timberline Knolls, the upsetting possibilities listed below can be prevented or overcome:
- Job loss or financial hardship
- Conflict in important relationships with friends and family
- Legal problems
- Sleep loss or irregular sleep habits
- Rapid and unpredictable mood swings
- Increased propensity to engage in risk-taking behaviors
- Damages to one’s physical health such as unintended weight loss
- Lack of interest in personal hygiene
In many cases, someone who is abusing Kratom or other mood or mind-altering substances does so in an effort to self-medicate pain caused by a neglected mental health condition. Therefore, an individual who is abusing this dangerous substance might also be struggling with one or more of the following co-occurring disorders:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Tobacco use disorder
- Other substance use disorders
Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose
Effects of kratom withdrawal: Someone who suddenly stops or decreases the amount of kratom that he or she is abusing can begin suffering painful symptoms of withdrawal that can range from slightly uncomfortable to all-out distressing. No two people will ever experience the exact same withdrawal, however some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal can include the following:
- Muscle and bone aches
- Uncharacteristic aggression
- Runny nose
- Difficulty feeling pleasure
- Uncontrollable jerky movements
- Kratom cravings
- Psychotic episodes including hallucinations, confusion, and delusions in rare cases
Effects of kratom overdose: When someone consumes more kratom than his or he body can process, the result can be significant damage and danger. While there aren’t sole kratom overdoses documented just yet, if this substance has been laced with other drugs, consuming too much can pose a medical emergency. If you or someone who love has been abusing kratom and starts to show any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate