Is Kratom Addictive/ Am I Addicted to Kratom?

Kratom is believed to be addictive. This psychoactive substance, which acts a stimulant at low doses and a sedative at high doses, has an effect on users that is similar to morphine, since it works on the brain’s opioid receptors.

According to a report in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, reports to poison control centers related to kratom use and abuse are on the rise, signifying the use of the herb itself is on the rise in the U.S. as well. The DEA currently lists kratom as a drug of concern, and while it’s not current federally controlled or federally illegal, many states either have already made it illegal or have legislation in the works that could make it illegal.

While there isn’t a lot of evidence currently available on kratom, most researchers recognize that there is the danger of abuse, dependence and addiction with its regular and prolonged use.

is kratom addictive
Kratom dependence occurs when your brain adapts to the presence to the alkaloids of the herb. Your brain begins to only be able to function normally when kratom is present, and evidence shows that when someone who is a regular user of kratom stops taking the herb, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms of kratom dependency are similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms and can include irritability, muscle aches, aggression, insomnia, symptoms similar to a cold and emotional problems.

When someone is physical dependent on kratom and they experience withdrawal symptoms it can be a very uncomfortable experience, which is why medically supervised detox is recommended. Because kratom impacts the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, when someone is dependent on the drug and then stops using it their brain can have trouble with the natural regulation of these symptoms.

The likelihood of becoming dependent on kratom can increase for people who have an underlying mental health condition, a history of substance abuse, certain environmental factors, or in people who abuse multiple drugs.

It’s important to realize that dependence and addiction are not the same. While kratom dependence refers to your brain and body being physical dependent to having the substance present, addiction is a psychological response that often displays itself in lifestyle and behavioral changes.

If you’re worried you may be addicted to kratom, consider whether or not your behavior has changed as a result of using the drug. For example, do you find yourself craving kratom when you’re not on it? Do you think that thoughts of kratom have become an obsession for you?

Other signs you could have an addiction to kratom include:

  • Have you experienced negative consequences or adverse physical or lifestyle outcomes because of your use of kratom, but you continue to take it?
  • Have you noticed that you have become less productive, or your performance at school or work have become impacted by your kratom usage?
  • Have you tried multiple times to stop using kratom but been unsuccessful?
  • Have you lost interest in things you were previously interested in, such as social activities or hobbies since you started regularly using kratom?
  • Do you feel like you lack control over how much kratom you use, or how often you take the herb?
  • Would the people around you say your mood or personality has changed since you started using it?
  • Have you experienced changes in your sleeping or eating patterns, or lost weight while using kratom?

If you can say yes to any of the signs above, you may have an addiction to kratom which could require professional treatment.

Another concept relevant to kratom addiction and dependence is tolerance. With any drug tolerance refers to what happens when your body becomes used to that substance, and you require higher and higher doses to maintain the same effects, such as increased energy or euphoria. A tolerance to kratom can develop rather quickly, which diminishes its effects.

When someone uses kratom there are particular alkaloids that start working within a relatively short period of time in certain brain receptor cites, but if you use kratom often or take heavy doses, your brain’s receptors become somewhat desensitized to these effects. If you have noticed diminished effects of  kratom then you are likely already physically dependent on this herbal substance. In fact, with any drug or substance, tolerance is one of the first signs of dependence and also addiction.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.