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Is Kratom Addictive?

a man struggles with the side effects of kratom addiction

Substance use disorder (SUD) remains a significant concern within the LGBTQ+ community, often arising from the unique stressors faced by this population. Among the substances that have gained recent attention is kratom, a plant indigenous to Southeast Asia with both stimulant and sedative properties, which some individuals use for self-treatment of pain or withdrawal symptoms from other substances.

Pride Institute provides specialized treatment tailored to the LGBTQ+ community’s needs in Eden Prairie, MN. Call 888.408.1625 or contact us online to learn about your options for effective, compassionate substance use disorder treatment.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is not a new substance. For centuries, it’s been used in traditional medicine in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Workers in these regions would chew kratom leaves to gain energy and reduce fatigue. In more recent times, kratom has been processed into powders, capsules, and extracts that are used for a variety of reasons—including as a potential alternative to pharmaceutical pain relievers.

The active compounds in kratom—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine—interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain when consumed in large quantities. In smaller amounts, it has been reported to increase energy and focus. These effects can vary greatly depending on the dosage and the strain of kratom used.

Is Kratom Addictive?

The question of kratom’s potential for addiction is complex. The substance doesn’t fall neatly into categories of ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe.’ Like many substances that affect the brain’s opioid receptors, kratom has the potential to cause dependency and addiction. However, this potential is the subject of ongoing research and debate within the scientific and medical communities.

According to research, regular use of kratom can lead to dependence, which occurs when the body adapts to the presence of the substance. Withdrawal symptoms upon stopping are a clear sign of physical dependence. An advanced stage of dependence can lead to addiction, where the compulsive need to use the substance overshadows all else, including potentially harmful consequences.

Recognizing the signs of kratom addiction is critical—both for users of the substance and their loved ones. Here are several signs that may indicate a kratom addiction:

  1. Increased tolerance – Needing more kratom to achieve the same effects.
  1. Withdrawal symptoms – Experiencing physical and psychological symptoms when not using kratom, including muscle aches, irritability, mood swings, runny nose, insomnia, and aggression.
  1. Inability to stop – Repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit or reduce kratom use.
  1. Obsession with kratom – Spending significant time obtaining, using, and recovering from kratom.
  1. Neglect of responsibilities – Failing to fulfill duties at work, school, or home due to kratom use.
  1. Continued use despite harm – Using kratom despite knowing it is causing physical or psychological problems.
  1. Social withdrawal – Isolating oneself from family and friends to use kratom.

It’s important to note that not everyone who uses kratom will develop an addiction. Some individuals can use the substance recreationally or therapeutically without issues. However, the risk increases with the frequency of use, the amount used, and the presence of risk factors for substance abuse disorders.

Pride Institute: LGBTQ+ SUD Treatment in Minnesota Since 1988

For those within the LGBTQ+ community, kratom addiction need not be a solitary battle. Pride Institute is dedicated to providing a path to sobriety and a deeper understanding and acceptance of oneself. With the right support, recovery is more than an aspiration; it’s a possible and hopeful reality. Start today by calling 888.408.1625 or filling out our online contact form.