Despite the fact that kratom has been sold in gas stations and corner stores, in its purest form it is a botanical substance – one that has been around for centuries and was once used medicinally. In Thailand, kratom is the third most commonly abused drug, and because of this, it is considered an illegal and controlled substance.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has labeled kratom a substance of concern, though it can still be legally purchased in almost every state. When it comes to addiction recovery, there is a lot of conversation surrounding kratom. Some mistakenly believe that because the drug is technically an “herb”, it poses no serious threat to those who have chosen to live lives of sobriety. The truth is, not only would be using kratom be considered a relapse, but it can be extremely dangerous to those who have struggled with opioid addictions in the past. Taking large amounts of kratom for an opioid-naive individual induces a high similar to prescription opioids.
Kratom and Opioid Addiction
What is now widely known as the Opioid Epidemic was officially declared a state of emergency in the US in 2017. Since then, prescription painkiller addiction and heroin addiction have claimed hundreds and thousands of lives nationwide. Those who have been abusing heroin for an extended period of time may be inclined to “taper off” of the drug, in attempts to get and stay clean. In doing this, they may replace the opioid narcotic with safer drugs like suboxone or methadone. Those without access to pharmaceutical intervention might opt for a drug like a kratom – one that is readily available and has effects that mimic a low-dose of heroin when taken in small amounts. In low doses, kratom has been known to increase alertness and stimulation, boost energy, and help with focus. In higher doses, however, it mimics the “high” produced by potent opioid narcotics.
Individuals who struggle with opioid addiction may believe that they can detox at home with the assistance of a drug like a kratom. The truth is, detoxing at home is extremely dangerous, and utilizing a substance like a kratom to help you “get clean” will only result in more damage down the road.
Kratom Addiction Overview
Not only is using kratom to help with symptoms of withdrawal is truly unwise (and potentially extremely dangerous), but the substance itself can be highly addictive. Dependence on the substance can occur if it is used regularly for a prolonged period of time. Opioid receptors within the brain will be affected, and the reward center will begin telling the central nervous system that kratom is necessary in order to function properly – the process is the exact same it is with the abuse of any other opioid narcotic.
If you are unsure as to whether or not you have developed a physical dependency on this specific drug (or any other chemical substance), there are several signs and symptoms to look for. These may include cravings (marked by an inexplicable need to use as well as a mental obsession), increased tolerance, fatigue, changes in mood, changes in sleep patterns, interpersonal problems, decreased motivation, and periods of withdrawal when the drug is not accessible. In short, kratom is addictive – if you believe you’re grappling with a physical or mental dependency, we at Recreate Life Counseling are available to help.
Recovery from Kratom Addiction
Sadly, many men and women who struggle with kratom addiction avoid reaching out for professional help because they mistakenly believe that kratom is not a “real drug”. Some people think that because it’s so widely accessible, and because it can be legally purchased from a lot of gas stations and corner stores, it can’t do any real harm.
In truth, kratom is extremely dangerous – especially for those who have struggled with opioid dependency in the past. Like other addictions, kratom addiction can be overcome with detox, inpatient treatment, and continuous aftercare. To learn about our program of recovery, please feel free to reach out today – we look forward to hearing from you soon.