Kratom is not currently an illegal substance in the United States but has gained attention as a potentially addictive substance. People use kratom, a derivative of a Southeast Asian tree, for many reasons. People believe that kratom is beneficial for treating mental health conditions like depression or anxiety and physical conditions like coughs, diabetes, diarrhea and opiate withdrawal. However, there isn’t enough sufficient evidence to support these claims.
Regardless of the proven harmful side effects, people continue to take kratom. some of the most common uses of kratom focus on mental health conditions. Analyzing kratom and anxiety relief can be difficult due to a lack of research in this area.
However, there is research regarding the negative effects of kratom use. Kratom can cause several physical side effects like numbness of the tongue or mouth, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Kratom may also cause psychological side effects like aggression, hallucinations and delusions. In large quantities, kratom can cause death from difficulty breathing, brain swelling and liver failure.
Does Kratom Help with Anxiety?
With the coverage of kratom by the media and claims made by people who advocate for its use, several questions are commonly asked including “does kratom help with anxiety?” While using kratom for anxiety has become more common, there is no clear evidence to suggest that there are any benefits to its use. It is more likely that people who support using kratom as an anti-anxiety treatment, experience benefits because of a placebo effect.
Can Kratom Cause Anxiety?
While the benefits of kratom are not entirely clear, the risks of kratom have been better documented. Kratom has several negative side effects. Side effects of kratom include:
- Upset stomach
- Sun sensitivity
- Sensations of itchiness
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Increased need to urinate
Someone who uses kratom regularly may experience an even wider range of side effects. This can include feelings of sedation, lack of coordination and increased anxiety. Kratom anxiety attacks may occur during withdrawal and are more likely if someone has a history of anxiety.
One study on kratom use indicated that more than half of people who use kratom will develop dependence. Withdrawal from kratom is similar in many ways to opiate withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms of body aches, fever, runny nose, and diarrhea as well as unprovoked anger, depression, and anxiety. After stopping the use of kratom anxiety may continue to occur especially in relation to cravings to use kratom.
Key Points: Kratom and Anxiety
Some relevant facts to remember about Anxiety and Kratom use disorders include:
- While the benefits of kratom remain largely disputed, the negative effects of kratom use are quite clear.
- Any potential benefits are likely outweighed by the side effects of kratom use.
- Kratom may cause anxiety attacks during withdrawal.
- More negative side effects may be possible. Researchers are investigating how kratom affects the body.
If you believe that you or a loved one may be addicted to kratom, take our brief self-assessment quiz here. Addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety are treatable. The Recovery Village offers comprehensive treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders. For more information about our care options, reach out to a representative today.
Greenemeier, L. (2013, September 30). “Should Kratom Use Be Legal?” Scientific American. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2019. Kaplan, S. (2017, December 08). “Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under Scrutiny.” The New York Times. December 8, 2017. Accessed on February 4, 2019. Esposito, Lisa. “What’s the Deal With Kratom?” U.S. News. April 6, 2018. Accessed on February 4, 2019. Singh D, Miller CP, Vicknasingam BK. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependence, withdrawal symptoms and craving in regular users. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jun 1;139:132-7.
Greenemeier, L. (2013, September 30). “Should Kratom Use Be Legal?” Scientific American. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2019.
Kaplan, S. (2017, December 08). “Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under Scrutiny.” The New York Times. December 8, 2017. Accessed on February 4, 2019.
Esposito, Lisa. “What’s the Deal With Kratom?” U.S. News. April 6, 2018. Accessed on February 4, 2019.
Singh D, Miller CP, Vicknasingam BK. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependence, withdrawal symptoms and craving in regular users. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jun 1;139:132-7.
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