Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Kratom Addiction

Widespread use of kratom, a plant-derived substance, continues to grow. Kratom can come in different forms: It may be found as the dried leaf from the Mitragyna speciosa plant, or get processed into a green powder or resin. The leaves may be chewed, smoked or made into tea. The powder or resin can be ingested or smoked.

People who use kratom often do so because of the substance’s stimulant and euphoric effects. Depending on the dose of Kratom, it can have effects similar to stimulants or opioids. Low doses of kratom might cause the user to feel more energy and less fatigue, while higher doses tend to cause euphoria and sedation similar to that experienced with opioid use.

Kratom dependence and addiction are not well understood, but someone who is addicted may show the following signs:

  • Decreased performance at school or work
  • Frequent use of kratom
  • Social withdrawal
  • Associating more often with other kratom users
  • Increased desire and effort to obtain more kratom, often at the expense of other obligations
  • Being secretive or defensive about kratom use
  • Inability to feel “normal” without kratom

Side Effects of Kratom

Kratom, like any drug, has certain side effects associated with its use. Some of the effects are more common with either low or high doses of the drug.

Side effects associated with high doses (about 5 grams to 15 grams) include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Mental fog

Side effects associated with lower doses  (about 1 gram to 5 grams) include:

  • Decreased coordination
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Itching
  • Decreased appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Urinating more frequently

Long-Term Side Effects of Kratom Use

The long-term use of kratom can be associated with the development of tremors, seizures and psychotic episodes, along with decreased food intake and weight loss. Addiction is also a possibility with the prolonged use of kratom. People who are addicted to, or dependent on, Kratom may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it, especially in people who frequently use large doses. These symptoms can be similar to those seen with opioid withdrawal. Common symptoms of kratom withdrawal are restlessness, skin flushing, muscle spasms, nervousness, lack of appetite, sleep difficulty and pain.

Signs of Kratom Abuse

When a person uses kratom frequently, cravings for it can become overwhelming. A person may go through kratom withdrawal if they stop using it and may become aggressive or hostile when kratom isn’t readily available. If a person feels like they need kratom to function “normally,” the potential for addiction to develop exists.

Signs that someone is abusing kratom include:

  • Hiding evidence of kratom use from others
  • Changes in personality
  • Spending more and more time acquiring kratom, having an effect on social interaction and work or school
  • Spending more time using kratom, alone or with other users
  • Continued use despite negative effects on their life or health
  • Feeling unable to quit using kratom

If you suspect someone close to you is abusing kratom, it’s important that you help them find appropriate treatment options. Kratom withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.

Choosing a professional rehab treatment center like The Recovery Village can be beneficial to people looking to address their substance addiction, detox and go through withdrawal symptoms in a safe, supportive environment. Contact The Recovery Village and begin your healthier future today.

Sources:

  1. Warner, ML., et al. “The pharmacology and toxicology of kratom: from traditional herb to drug of abuse.” International Journal of Legal Medicine, January 2016. Accessed March 17, 2019.
  2. Singh, D., et al. “Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependence, withdrawal symptoms and craving in regular users.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, June 2014. Accessed March 17, 2019.
  3. Suhaimi, FW., et al. “Neurobiology of Kratom and its main alkaloid mitragynine.” Brain Research Bulletin, September 2016. Accessed March 17, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.