Kratom is an extract made from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa plant. The substance is sold in America as an herbal remedy for many common health issues. According to Cureus, “In the United States, [kratom] is typically formulated into powders or marketed as a concentrated energy shot in convenience stores like gas stations and tobacco shops.” Kratom is unregulated and may be combined with other substances with the potential for addiction. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab treats individuals experiencing kratom addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Why Do People Use Kratom?

Kratom has been a popular alternative remedy in Malaysia for several hundred years. Many cultures consider kratom a traditional remedy. In recent years, companies in the United States have marketed kratom as an herbal substance capable of treating everything from anxiety to chronic pain. Due to the unregulated nature of the substance, people who misuse kratom have no way of knowing precisely what they are consuming. Kratom-based products are largely ineffective for most health issues and may cause severe side effects, complications, or addiction.

Individuals use kratom for many health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Persistent cough
  • Diarrhea and other bowel issues
  • Weight management

No scientific evidence exists to support kratom as a safe and effective alternative treatment for any of the conditions listed above. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “The FDA has not approved Kratom for any medical use. In addition, DEA has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.”

Currently, there are no federal laws against kratom use. However, some states may have their own laws about buying or selling kratom. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), as of 2023, “Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin currently ban mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine or 7-hydroxymitragynine (kratom’s active alkaloids) under state-law.”

The Risks of Using Kratom

Kratom has the potential for dependency and addiction. People who regularly misuse the substance may notice mild to severe withdrawal symptoms if they abstain from the substance. Kratom overdose has the potential to cause severe illness, injury, or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Although kratom is not an opioid, overdose deaths involving kratom (including nonopioid overdose deaths)” have been reported.

Kratom has long and short-term side effects. Some of the known short-term side effects include:

  • Constipation and other bowel issues
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Excessive sweating

Long-term effects of chronic kratom misuse include:

  • Anorexia and other eating disorders (EDs)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended and significant weight loss
  • Insomnia

Anorexia and other EDs are potentially dangerous and may lead to additional health issues. Kratom is often mixed with other unregulated supplements and substances, increasing the potential health side effects and dangers.

Potential Effects of Active Ingredients

The two primary psychoactive ingredients in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OH-mitragynine). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “The chemical compounds found in kratom, mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine, may produce classic opioid-related effects such as sedation, nausea/vomiting, constipation, physical dependence/withdrawal, and respiratory depression that may lead to death.” Often, people are unaware of the potential dangers of kratom. The FDA warns of the possible health risks of kratom use and encourages people to avoid using the substance as a form of alternative medicine or supplement.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

How Does Kratom Impact Mental Health?

Kratom has a similar effect to opioids on the body. The side effects of using kratom often negatively impact a person’s physical and mental health. High doses of kratom have a sedative effect, and some people may use it to self-medicate if they experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. However, kratom is not recognized as a treatment for any mental health conditions.

Some of the potential mental health side effects of Kratom misuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

Individuals who misuse kratom often report an increase in agitation and anxiety. Chronic misuse has the potential to cause additional mental health issues and relationship problems.

The Dangers of Mixing Kratom With Other Substances

Kratom is often mixed with other substances by both the creators of herbal products and individuals using kratom. Mixing unregulated substances is dangerous and may lead to unexpected and harmful side effects. Combining kratom with prescription drugs is also potentially harmful and may cause severe or lethal side effects. According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, in one instance, “a suspected pharmacokinetic interaction between kratom and the anti-psychotic quetiapine resulted in supratherapeutic systemic concentrations of quetiapine and death of the patient.” People taking prescription medications should inform their prescriber immediately if they use kratom.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses evidence-based methods, including psychotherapy and psychiatry, to treat kratom addiction and co-occurring conditions. Treatment is most effective when it addresses kratom abuse and any underlying causes of addictive behaviors simultaneously. Clinicians collaborate with clients to determine the best approach to care.

Treatments for kratom addiction may include the following:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Peer support
  • Prescription medications
  • Behavior modification
  • Family therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Aftercare planning

Kratom abuse is often accompanied by co-occurring conditions requiring integrative care and simultaneous treatment. In most cases, people in recovery benefit from participating in a combination of evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab prepares clients for long-term recovery from kratom addiction by providing psychoeducation and relapse prevention strategies.