As kratom grows in popularity, particularly in the U.S., it’s something a lot of people have become concerned about. The use of kratom isn’t entirely understood, but it is known to be addictive and potentially dangerous, particularly when used in large quantities or combined with other drugs or substances. Many parents are also concerned because kratom use tends to be particularly popular among young people.

That leaves many people wondering how to tell if someone is on kratom, or what the signs of kratom abuse or addiction might be.

Kratom plants

Signs Someone Is on Kratom

The signs of whether or not someone is on kratom are largely depending on the dose the person takes. If someone takes a small dose of kratom, they will appear to the people around them as if they have taken a stimulant. Someone who is on a low dose of kratom may seem as if they suddenly have a lot of energy or like their fatigue is reduced.

They may seem very talkative, social and alert, or even as if they have a higher than normal sex drive. When someone takes a low dose, they might be able to perform physical labor or activity they wouldn’t have otherwise been capable of, which is one of the biggest benefits many users see of this drug. There has been some research that shows a low dose of kratom is somewhat like taking cocaine. Other signs of low-dose kratom use include a decreased appetite, but there may be adverse signs someone has taken a small dose of kratom like anxiety and impaired coordination.

If someone takes a higher dose of kratom, they will likely appear as if they are very happy and even euphoric, much like they would if they were to take a narcotic. Someone on a high dose of kratom could also seem very tired, because high doses act as a sedative. Other signs of high doses of kratom use may include nausea, constipation and itching.

The effects of larger doses of kratom are often compared to what happens when someone takes morphine or heroin, but less powerful.

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Kratom

Since kratom is considered an addictive substance, there are many red flags people can look for if they’re concerned someone close to them is on kratom, or is addicted to the drug. Many of these signs of addiction are similar to what’s seen with addiction to other drugs.

Signs someone is on kratom and potentially addicted include:

  • Someone who is addicted to kratom may start to withdraw from school or work, and their performance in these areas might start to decline.
  • One of the biggest signs of kratom addiction is using the substance often. When someone uses high doses on a regular basis or uses kratom many times throughout the day, they are more than likely not only addicted, but also potentially dependent on it.
  • People who are addicted to kratom and other drugs often stop associating with friends and family and may prefer to be alone, or may find new social groups, often who are also users of drugs or substances like kratom.
  • With kratom abuse, the person who is addicted will often put a lot of their time, energy, money and overall focus toward obtaining more of the substance. They will become preoccupied with obtaining more kratom, to the detriment of other areas of their life.
  • When people are addicted to kratom, they may feel like they can’t function normally without it.
  • A big sign of kratom addiction is being defensive, secretive, or evasive when asked about its use.
  • People who are addicted to kratom tend to feel like they can’t stop and are unsuccessful if they try, or they keep using it, even when there are adverse effects on their health and the rest of their life.

Signs Someone Is Dependent on Kratom

Since kratom is a drug that’s relatively easy to build a tolerance to and become physically dependent on, these are often some of the most apparent signs someone is on the substance to people around them. If someone who is on kratom and physically dependent on it stops using it suddenly or even uses a smaller dose, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. As with most drugs and substances, withdrawal symptoms of kratom can vary from mild to severe and can include irritability, sweating, high blood pressure, cold-like symptoms, nausea, pain, insomnia and extreme cravings.

In the U.S., the unfortunate opinion exists that since kratom isn’t illegal at the federal level, it’s safe or using it can’t lead to an addiction. These are misconceptions, and it is actually easy to become addicted to kratom and dependent on it with regular use.

If you suspect someone close to you is on kratom, it’s important that you help them find appropriate addiction treatment options. With kratom, since the withdrawal symptoms are similar to withdrawal from opioid and can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous, the best course of action is to choose an inpatient rehab treatment center like The Recovery Village that includes medically-supervised detox.

Medically-supervised detox from kratom is recommended for several reasons, including the fact that it can help the person who is dependent on kratom be more comfortable, but also safer. A professional medical team can help the addicted individual move more successfully and easily through detox, and they can also start preparing an in-depth, individualized treatment plan that can begin after detox ends.

This increases the likelihood of successfully recovering from an addiction to kratom as well as any other simultaneous drug addictions the person may have.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.