Treatment for Kratom Addiction

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While the kratom plant has been around for ages, use of kratom has only become popular in America within the last decade. Kratom is not recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medicinal uses. However, people consume this herbal substance for its stimulating, sedating, and pain-relieving effects.1 Kratom is also used by people withdrawing and recovering from opioid addiction.1 However, addiction to kratom can occur also.2 Kratom addiction treatment can help you overcome a dependence on this substance and avoid it potentially harmful side effects.

In This Article:

How Kratom Addiction Develops

Kratom pills that can sometimes require kratom addiction treatment

Heavy use of kratom, or mixing kratom with other drugs, can cause harmful side effects and require kratom addiction treatment.

Cocaine and heroin both come from plants that are processed from their original, non-harmful states to a highly addictive form. The same is true for kratom.3

Leaves of the kratom plant contain compounds that interact with opioid receptors in the brain.2 This explains why kratom has the potential for misuse and addiction. 2 At high doses, kratom can cause hallucinations, confusion, and delusions.4 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists kratom as a “drug of concern,” and the FDA advises people not to use kratom because of its risks of abuse, dependence, and addiction.4,5

Like all other addictions, kratom dependence begins in the brain.6 When kratom reaches your brain, the effects flood the reward center, releasing higher amounts of dopamine than your brain can naturally produce, resulting in feeling of euphoria. Any substance that alters the brain’s structure has potential for both physical and psychological dependence and addiction.2

Signs of kratom addiction include:7,8

  • Using a higher dosage of the substance over time to achieve the same desired effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, diarrhea, irritability, and runny nose when you try to stop taking kratom
  • Using kratom more than once a day
  • Constant preoccupation with obtaining and using kratom

Kratom addiction not only results in physical and psychological dependence; it can also cause harmful side effects, including liver damage, respiratory depression, seizures, and coma.7 This is especially true if kratom interacts with other medications or illicit drugs you are using. Kratom has been identified as a growing cause of overdose death in the U.S., most often when interacting with other drugs or medications.7

The best way to overcome a kratom addiction is with the help of an addiction specialist who can address your specific symptoms. An assessment may determine you need kratom rehab, starting with detox.

Kratom Side Effects and Addiction Signs

Kratom Overdose Treatment

Overdosing on kratom is not as common as with other substances such as heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, or other opioid drugs. However, kratom overdose can still occur and cause harmful effects, including death. Most often, kratom overdoses happen when kratom is combined with other drugs such as heroin, alcohol, cocaine, fentanyl, benzodiazepines, morphine, and prescription opioids.7

Signs of kratom overdose include:4,7

  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Listlessness
  • Inability to be roused from a restful state
  • Extreme nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Fever and flu-like symptoms

As with opioid overdoses, administration of naloxone is recommended in kratom overdose treatment and has proven effective for this purpose.9,10 Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. If you are concerned about possibly overdosing on kratom, naloxone is available for home use as a nasal spray. In some states, it may be purchased over the counter; elsewhere, a prescription is required. Talk with your primary care doctor if you would like to have naloxone available in case of an overdose. Make sure you and anyone else who may administer naloxone knows how to use it.

If an overdose does occur, call 911 for emergency medical care. Even if you use naloxone for kratom overdose treatment, medical care is still necessary.

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Detox Treatment for Kratom

Detox treatment can help ease withdrawal symptoms when you stop using kratom. Withdrawal symptoms may include:11

  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle aches, pains, or spasms
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems
  • Irritability
  • Increase in mood disorders like depression or anxiety
  • Cravings or urges to use kratom again

People who are less dependent on kratom may not need a detox. For others, a medically supervised detox will ensure a safe, more comfortable withdrawal. Medical specialists can prescribe medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms.6 Withdrawal from kratom is treated much like withdrawal from opioid drugs. Medications such as buprenorphine or methadone can treat withdrawal symptoms and help to minimize cravings.7

Following detox, you can extend your treatment by receiving rehabilitation services that will teach you how to avoid substance use in the future. Options for kratom addiction treatment include inpatient rehab, residential treatment, and outpatient programs.12

Kratom Treatment Programs

The following types of kratom addiction treatment can you help you achieve successful recovery from substance use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse report, the longer you stay in treatment, the higher your chances of staying sober.12

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab offers you a place to stay, in a hospital environment, away from temptations and triggers so that you can focus on healing. Medical staff can provide you medication to address withdrawal symptoms and evaluate you for other medical or mental health issues connected to your kratom use. You can also participate in educational classes to learn how kratom affects the body and why you developed a kratom use disorder.12

Kratom addiction treatment methods include cognitive behavior therapy and other types of counseling. Behavioral therapy can help you learn to change your thought patterns to function positively in life free of your addiction.

You can also join therapy groups that discuss ways to overcome cravings, recognize triggers, and avoid the people, places, and things that make you want to use kratom. Some groups are led by mental health and addiction specialists, while others are peer-run. Twelve-step groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other recovery support groups provide peer support which is proven to help individuals maintain sobriety.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment for kratom rehab occurs in a non-hospital environment, but you still have 24-hour care to meet your medical needs. It is like living in a home environment with all the services of a hospital.12

There are typically two types of residential treatment, short-term and long-term. Often referred to as a therapeutic community, the length of stay can range from a few weeks to months, depending on your needs.

Residential treatment provides therapeutic activities to help you transition back into society with improved mental and physical health. Working one-on-one with a mental health and addiction counselor will help you understand yourself better as you build skills to stay sober in the future. Counseling such as dialectical behavioral therapy teaches techniques for stress management, relaxation, and mindfulness.

Along with structured therapy groups, 12-step activities and individual counseling, residential kratom rehab also can provide employment assistance and facilitate support services for when you return home.

Both residential and inpatient programs for kratom addiction treatment are followed by outpatient counseling.

Intensive Outpatient Counseling

Following inpatient or residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment can provide the next stage of kratom rehab. Or, depending on your needs, you may be able to start this stage of treatment directly after completing your detox.

Intensive outpatient treatment allows you to receive multiple avenues of support as you transition back into your home environment. Services include group therapy sessions, facilitated by an addiction specialist, on certain days of the week. On other days, you can attend individual counseling, support groups for mental health issues, if needed, and 12-step meetings.12 You also can continue to receive medication.

Eventually, you will not need intensive services and can step down to individual outpatient counseling.

Individual Outpatient Counseling

Individual outpatient counseling involves meeting with a therapist once or twice per week until you feel confident in your ability to maintain your sobriety.

In outpatient counseling, different types of behavioral therapy are used to keep you on track with your recovery goals. It is also recommended that you continue attending recovery support groups outside of counseling.13

In both intensive and individual outpatient counseling, you can also receive family therapy. Family therapy provides the opportunity for your loved ones to learn how they can support you in recovery.13

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When it comes to recovering from addiction, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment program. You kratom addiction treatment program should take account of your individual needs, personality, and preferences.

A personalized treatment plan will consider the following:13

  • Age
  • Sex and gender preferences
  • Religious or non-religious preferences
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety
  • Other medical conditions
  • Preference for supplemental holistic therapies such as yoga or art therapy

You can also explore treatment options that specialize in serving individuals of a particular background. For example, veterans may choose to be with other veterans; business professionals may want to be in a program that caters to executives. A variety of 12-step groups cater to different audiences.

For more information about kratom addiction treatment and to find kratom rehab that meets your needs, call (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?) .

References:

  1. Bath, R., Bucholz, T., Buros, A.F., Singh, D., Smith, K.E., Veltri, C.A., & Grundmann, O. (2020). Self-reported Health Diagnoses and Demographic Correlates With Kratom Use: Results from an Online Survey. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 14(3), 244-253.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Kratom DrugFacts.
  3. Veeresham, C. (2012). Natural products derived from plants as a source of drugs. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research. Oct-Dec; 3(4): 200–201.
  4. S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Kratom – Drugs of Concern.
  5. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019). FDA and Kratom.
  6. Eastlack, S.C., Cornett, E.M., & Kaye, A.D. (2020). Kratom Pharmacology, Clinical Implications, and Outlook. A Comprehensive Review. Pain and Therapy. June; 9(1): 55–­­69.
  7. Veltri, C., & Grundmann, O. (2019). Current perspectives on the impact of Kratom use. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 10, 23-31.
  8. Cinosi, E., Martinotti, G., Simonato, P., Singh, D., Demetrovics, Z., Roman-Urrestarazu, A., Bersani, F. S., Vicknasingam, B., Piazzon, G., Li, J. H., Yu, W. J., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Farkas, J., Di Giannantonio, M., & Corazza, O. (2015). Following “the Roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries. BioMed Research International.
  9. Overbeed, D.L., Abraham, J., & Munzer, B.W. (2019). Kratom (Mitragynine) Ingestion Requiring Naloxone Reversal. Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine, 3(1), 24-26.
  10. Goldin, D., Salani, D., & Mckay, M. (2019). Kratom: Implications for Health Care Providers. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 57(12), 15–20.
  11. Tavakoli, H. R., Buchholz, A. C., Kabir, I. K., Deb, A., & Gayk, J. N. (2016). Kratom: A New Product in an Expanding Substance Abuse Market. Federal Practitioner, 33(11), 32–36.
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Types of Treatment Programs.
  13. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Chapter 3: Approaches to Therapy.

the Take-Away

Kratom addiction treatment may vary according to your needs but will likely include withdrawal management, medication, and counseling.