Symptoms of Kratom Abuse

Symptoms of Kratom Abuse

Kratom is a tropical tree in Southeast Asia. Its bright green leaves create a stimulant effect.

As the popularity of kratom continues to rise, so does the concern about its potential for abuse and addiction. While some individuals may use kratom for its intended medicinal properties, it is important to note that the scientific evidence supporting its use is limited.

What is Kratom?

Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical tree that is native to countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Traditionally, the leaves of the kratom tree have been chewed or brewed into tea by indigenous communities for their stimulant and pain-relieving properties. However, kratom is now commercially available in various forms, including powders, capsules, and extracts.

Effects of Kratom on the Body

The active compounds in kratom, such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects that can range from stimulant-like to sedative-like. At lower doses, kratom may induce increased energy, sociability, and alertness. In contrast, higher doses can lead to relaxation, pain relief, and even euphoria. It is important to note that the effects of kratom can vary depending on the strain and dosage.

Legal Status and FDA Regulation

The legal status of kratom varies across different countries and regions. While kratom is currently legal in the United States at the federal level, several states have imposed restrictions or outright bans on its sale and possession. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with kratom use and has not approved it for any medical use. The lack of regulation and quality control in the kratom industry further complicates the issue.

Kratom Abuse Symptoms

Recognizing kratom abuse symptoms is crucial for early intervention and treatment. While the effects of kratom can vary from person to person, there are common physical, behavioral, and psychological indicators that may suggest a person is experiencing kratom abuse symptoms .

Physical Symptoms

  • Changes in appetite and weight: Kratom abuse can lead to decreased appetite and significant weight loss. Individuals may neglect proper nutrition, resulting in nutritional deficiencies and related health issues.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Kratom abuse may cause constipation, nausea, and digestive discomfort. Prolonged use can lead to chronic gastrointestinal issues.
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances: Kratom's stimulating effects can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or disturbed sleep.

Behavioral Changes

  • Social withdrawal: Individuals abusing kratom may withdraw from social activities, hobbies, and relationships as their focus and priorities shift towards obtaining and using the substance.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: Kratom abuse can lead to a decline in work or school performance, neglect of personal hygiene, and the disregard of other responsibilities.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors: Kratom abuse may lead individuals to take risks they normally wouldn't, such as driving under the influence or engaging in dangerous activities to obtain more kratom.

Psychological Effects

  • Mood swings and irritability: Kratom abuse can cause frequent mood swings, irritability, and agitation. Individuals may experience heightened emotional sensitivity or become easily angered.
  • Anxiety and depression: Prolonged kratom abuse may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders or exacerbate pre-existing anxiety and depression.
  • Cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior: Individuals dependent on kratom may experience intense cravings for the substance and engage in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors to satisfy their addiction.

It is important to remember that these kratom abuse symptoms can vary in severity and may be influenced by factors such as individual tolerance, dosage, and duration.

Long-Term Effects of Kratom Abuse Symptoms

While some individuals may believe that kratom is a safe alternative to opioids or other substances, long-term abuse of kratom can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. It is crucial to understand the potential risks associated with prolonged kratom use.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Chronic kratom abuse can lead to severe gastrointestinal problems. Constipation is a common side effect, with individuals experiencing infrequent and difficult bowel movements. This can result in discomfort, pain, and even hemorrhoids. It is important to maintain a healthy digestive system and seek medical attention if gastrointestinal issues persist.

Weight Loss and Nutritional Deficiencies

Kratom abuse can lead to significant weight loss and malnutrition. Individuals may neglect proper nutrition and fail to consume a balanced diet, resulting in deficiencies in essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Prolonged malnutrition can weaken the immune system, impair organ function, and increase the risk of other health complications.

Psychological Dependence

Repeated kratom use can lead to psychological dependence, where individuals feel a compulsive need to use kratom to function or cope with daily life. Psychological dependence can worsen over time, leading to an inability to control kratom use and an increased risk of addiction. Seeking professional help is crucial in addressing psychological dependence and breaking the cycle of addiction.

Risks and Dangers of Kratom Abuse

While kratom may have potential medicinal properties, it is essential to recognize the risks and dangers associated with its abuse.

Addiction and Withdrawal

Kratom abuse can lead to addiction, characterized by a physical and psychological dependence on the substance. When individuals with kratom dependence attempt to stop or reduce their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, and insomnia. The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the individual and their level of dependence.

Potential Interactions with Other Substances

Kratom contains active compounds that can interact with other substances, including prescription medications, illicit drugs, and alcohol. Combining kratom with other substances can increase the risk of adverse reactions, overdose, and potentially life-threatening complications. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using kratom in conjunction with any other substance.

Lack of Regulation and Quality Control

The kratom industry is largely unregulated, with limited oversight on product quality, purity, and dosage consistency. This lack of regulation increases the risk of consuming contaminated or adulterated kratom products, which can lead to adverse health effects. It is essential to source kratom from reputable vendors and prioritize quality assurance.

Seeking Help for Kratom Abuse

Recognizing the signs of kratom abuse and acknowledging the need for help is the first step towards recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with kratom abuse, there are several steps you can take to seek professional assistance.

Self-Assessment and Acknowledgment

Start by reflecting on your kratom use and its impact on your life. Consider the reasons why you want to quit or reduce kratom use and the potential benefits of seeking help. Acknowledging the need for change is an essential part of the recovery process.

Professional Evaluation and Treatment Options

Seeking a professional evaluation from a healthcare provider or addiction specialist can provide valuable insights into your specific situation. They can assess your level of kratom dependence, identify any co-occurring mental health conditions, and recommend appropriate treatment options. Treatment for kratom abuse may include detoxification, counseling, support groups, and holistic therapies.

Supportive Therapies and Aftercare

Recovering from kratom abuse often requires ongoing support and aftercare. Participating in individual therapy, group therapy, or support groups can provide valuable tools, coping strategies, and a sense of community during the recovery process. Explore various therapeutic modalities to find what works best for you.

Resources and Support for Kratom Abuse

Reaching out for support is an essential part of the recovery journey. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and support networks available for individuals struggling with kratom abuse.

Helplines and Hotlines

Helplines and hotlines provide immediate assistance and guidance for individuals seeking help for substance abuse. Trained professionals can offer support, information, and connect individuals with local treatment resources. Some helplines are available 24/7, ensuring assistance is accessible at any time.

Support Groups and Online Communities

Support groups and online communities provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, receive support, and learn from others who have faced similar challenges. These groups can offer a sense of belonging and understanding, encouraging individuals on their path to recovery.

Professional Treatment Facilities

Professional treatment facilities specializing in substance abuse and addiction offer comprehensive treatment programs tailored to the unique needs of individuals struggling with kratom abuse. These facilities provide a supportive and structured environment, combining evidence-based therapies, medical supervision, and holistic approaches to promote long-term recovery.

Tips for Prevention and Harm Reduction

Prevention and harm reduction strategies play a vital role in addressing kratom abuse. By implementing the following tips, individuals can reduce the risk of developing a problem with kratom and promote overall well-being.

Education and Awareness

Stay informed about the potential risks and dangers associated with kratom use. Educate yourself about the available scientific research, legal status, and potential interactions with other substances. Share this knowledge with others to promote awareness and responsible use.

Responsible Use Guidelines

If you choose to use kratom, establish responsible use guidelines for yourself. Set dosage limits, avoid frequent or excessive use, and monitor your physical and mental well-being. It is important to listen to your body and prioritize self-care.

Open Communication and Supportive Environments

Maintain open and honest communication with your loved ones about your kratom use. Create a supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their concerns, asking for help, and seeking treatment if needed. Encourage open dialogue and offer support without judgment.


Recognizing the kratom abuse symptoms is crucial for early intervention and promoting overall well-being. By understanding the potential risks associated with kratom abuse and seeking professional help, individuals can break free from the cycle of addiction and embark on a path to recovery. Remember, recovery is a journey, and with the right support, it is possible to overcome kratom abuse and lead a fulfilling, substance-free life.


Cleveland Clinic- Addiction: What it is, Causes, Symptoms

Counseling Connection- Characteristics of Addiction: Loss of Control

Springboard Center- What Causes Loss of Self Control in Substance Abuse

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