Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

Is Kratom Addictive?

Like other drugs with opioid-like effects, kratom might cause users to feel physical and physiological withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Most users online have reported that kratom is not addictive. However, scientifically, the chance of kratom addiction still exists as with most other substances like coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and even sugar. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • hostility
  • aggression
  • emotional changes
  • runny nose
  • jerky movements

How to Treat Kratom Addiction

Treatment options for addiction depend on several factors, including the type of addictive disorder, the length and severity of use, and its effects on the individual. When it comes to kratom, luckily there have been no cases where patients develop physical complications related to the addiction such as liver disease with alcohol addiction or respiratory issues in the case of nicotine addiction.

Some people seeking treatment have found behavioral therapy to be helpful. Behavioral approaches focus on 5 core areas:

  • helping engage people in drug abuse treatment
  • providing incentives for them to remain abstinent
  • modifying their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse
  • increasing their life skills to handle stressful circumstances
  • combatting against environmental cues that may trigger an intense craving for drugs and prompt a cycle of compulsive abuse

Is Kratom Valuable as a Medicine?

In recent years, people have used kratom as an herbal alternative to medical treatment in attempts to control withdrawal symptoms and cravings caused by addiction to opioids or to other addictive substances such as alcohol. To put this in perspective, a 2016 petition on WhiteHouse.gov to keep it legal has more than 118,000 signatures. And when the DEA planned to temporarily remove access to kratom for the American population, they received more than 23,000 public comments during a 6-week period, in which 99.1% voted in favor of kratom.

However, since there is no scientific evidence that kratom is effective or safe for this purpose, further research is needed. Until then, companies must refrain from making medical claims regarding kratom.

Can a Person Overdose on Kratom?

There have been multiple reports of death related to kratom, but most have involved other substances.

A 2019 paper analyzing data from the National Poison Data System found that between 2011-2017 there were 11 deaths associated with kratom exposure. Nine of the 11 deaths reported in this study involved kratom plus other drugs and medicines. For instance, diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), alcohol, caffeine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and cocaine.

In 2017, the FDA identified 44 deaths related to kratom. However, once again, only one case investigated was linked to pure kratom usage. 43 of the possible 44 cases involve subjects who were found to be on multiple other potent substances at the time of death. This includes illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, gabapentin, and over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup.

Check the Quality Before You Buy KratomĀ 

Despite virtually zero death reports related to pure kratom usage, there have been some death reports involving kratom packaged as dietary supplements or ingredients that were mixed with other compounds. People should check with their health care providers about the safety of mixing kratom with other medicines.

Given the possibility of adulterated kratom, people should perform due diligence on shops before they buy kratom. In general, they want to select a shop with a strong customer base and capable of offering product samples prior to purchase.


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