Kratom Abuse: The Trending Drug That Has Made Its Way Into the U.S.

Kratom abuse is increasing in the United States due to the technical legality of this drug.

Also known as mitragyna speciosa, Kratom is a tree that grows in Southeast Asia. It is very popular in Thailand, and it has been used in this region of the world medicinally for years.

The problem with this drug is that it has properties that are similar to opioids and stimulants. It is becoming a popular recreational drug in the United States.

If you have been using it, you may have assumed it to be completely harmless. Many people do because it comes from a tree, and it's legal. However, Kratom is not harmless at all, and more and more is being discovered about it as time goes on. It's important for you to know the facts about this dangerous drug if you're abusing it.

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Can Kratom Be Abused?

It's no secret that opinions are rather divided on this substance. According to WebMD, some believe that it helps with pain relief, anxiety and depression. Some researchers believe it may be useful in treating chronic pain. It's even been proposed for it to be used to help with opioid addiction.

This drug commonly goes by a few different street names. According to the DEA, these include:

  • Kakuam
  • Thom
  • Ketum
  • Thang
  • Biak

Regardless of what you call it, it is a drug of abuse. Officially, it's been declared to be a "drug of concern."

Still, the fact remains that people are abusing it. Kratom abuse has grown over the past few years. Today, it's readily available in several states all across the U.S. When used, it produces a euphoric high that's very similar to what people experience when abusing opioids.

Will Abusing Ketum Lead to an Eventual Addiction?

Ketum affects the opioid receptors in the brain, just like morphine, Oxycodone and Vicodin. Most people decide to use it purely for its recreational benefits. They enjoy the high, and only aim to use the substance occasionally.

However, over time, those occasional uses can become more frequent. This is what eventually leads to an addiction. Once addicted, users feel a strong need to use the drug regularly. They may feel strange when they're not using it, and may even go into withdrawal without it.

In short, you absolutely can get addicted to Kratom, and many people have. This is why there has been such a push to getting it banned in the United States.

Kratom Addiction

How Addictive is This Drug, and are the Concerns About it Valid?

According to the NY Times, Ketum is quite addictive. In fact, it may be just as addictive as other drugs. To make matters worse, there is speculation that the problem may be even bigger.

Some people turn to this substance as a way to help with their opioid addictions. The NY Times cites one woman who used it to help with her heroin addiction. She quickly formed an addiction to Kratom, which led to eventual cravings for heroin, once again.

Her story may be only one of many. According to online forums like Bluelight and Reddit, Kratom addiction is alive and growing. That would support the idea that concerns about it are, indeed, valid.

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How do You Know if You're Addicted to the Kakuam Drug?

You may not have been aware that you could become addicted to Kakuam. Many people aren't. It's important for you to know how to identify when using it recreationally has become a problem. If you are addicted, getting immediate help is critical for a successful recovery.

There are a few different ways that you can find out if you have a Kakuam addiction. They are as follows:

The first step in determining if you're addict is looking for symptoms. You could be addicted to Kakuam if you have noticed any of the following:

  • That your tolerance level is increasing. This means you need to use more in order to get the same effects.
  • That you're having constipation, which is similar to the effects of opioid drugs.
  • That you feel ashamed of your substance use, and you try to hide it from others.
  • That you think about Kakuam nearly all the time. It may even have become an obsession.
  • That you use the drug daily.
  • When you stop using Kakuam, you experience withdrawal symptoms without it.
  • That you're always sure to have enough of the substance on hand.

Another way you can learn more about your relationship with Kratom is by taking a quiz. This addiction quiz is an excellent place to start. Simply answer all of the questions truthfully, and then get your results.

Once you know your results, you'll also see a recommendation for how you should proceed. If you're an addict, you'll be advised to seek professional help right away.

Like many people, it's possible that your use of this substance is very concerning to you. You're not interested in wasting time on determining symptoms or taking quizzes. You'd rather talk to someone in the addiction treatment field.

Many drug treatment centers offer free phone assessments to those who need them. You can easily contact someone and get their professional opinion on your use of this drug.

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Kratom?

It's difficult to say how long it might take to form an addiction to Kratom. This is due to the fact that everyone is so different. One individual may be able to use the substance regularly, and then never use it again. Someone else may use it only a few times, and then form a quick addiction.

Kratom Addiction

What you should know is that every time you abuse it, you are one step closer to an addiction. If you're only abusing Kratom currently, now is the time to stop.

Side Effects of Kratom to Be Aware of

Every drug has side effects, and this one is no different. Whether you're using it for recreational purposes, or for a medical problem, you need to be aware of the risks. There are both short-term and long-term effects that you need to keep in mind.

In the short-term, Kratom can cause some concerning side effects on the body and mind. These effects are very similar to what is seen with the misuse of opiates. They include:

  • Feelings of sedation
  • Bouts of nausea
  • Increased urination
  • Feeling dizzy and confused
  • Losing your appetite, and possible weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Bouts of constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating

The long-term effects of this drug are much more serious. They can include:

  • Developing hypothyroidism
  • Darkening of the skin, or a skin rash
  • The risk of liver injury
  • Aching muscles or bones
  • Jerky limb movements
  • Psychosis with hallucinations and delusions
  • The risk of anorexia
  • Seizures if the drug is combined with other drugs or alcohol

What's the Best Way to Recover from a Thang Addiction?

Once you've determined that you're a Thang addict, you need to know how to proceed. Many times, people panic. They never intended to become addicted, and so, they stop using the drug abruptly. This might not be the best course of action.

You have many options available to you. It's important for you to know what to expect so that you can make the right decision for you.

Quitting Kratom is not easy, by far. Advocates of the drug feel that the idea of withdrawal is nothing short of a myth. However, research has shown that it is very real.

You need to be prepared to go through withdrawal when you stop the use of this substance. Your body needs time to detox, and get rid of all the toxins associated with its use. This can take time.

Stopping Kratom will lead to withdrawal symptoms, and some of these are:

  • Becoming agitated, angry or even aggressive
  • Experiencing an increase in anxiety levels
  • An increase in appetite and possible weight gain
  • Confusion, or brain fog
  • Chills or even mild hyperthermia with bouts of hot flashes
  • Problems with memory or critical thinking
  • Extreme cravings for the drug
  • Symptoms of delirium
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Bouts of diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Bouts of fatigue
  • Headaches or even migraines
  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Itchy skin, or a skin rash that may appear like hives

It's tempting to try to detox from Ketum at home. You can attempt it, but it's much safer to stop using it in a controlled and monitored setting.

More than anything, your goal is to ease Ketum withdrawal symptoms. It probably won't help to purchase a detox kit at your local pharmacy. However, you may want to at least speak with your medical doctor about your intentions. They may offer you medication to help with your symptoms, or suggest over the counter drugs that may help.

The best way to get withdrawal relief at home is to stay comfortable. Make sure you have plenty of water and other beverages on hand to keep yourself hydrated. Ask a friend to stay with you as you detox.

The withdrawal timeline will be different for each individual. However, you should experience relief within 10 days. Of course, your symptoms will get worse before they get better. However, they should peak by the fourth day. After that, you should begin to feel a bit better.

Because this drug tends to be similar to opioid drugs, you should be prepared for rebound symptoms. It's not uncommon for extreme withdrawal to come back just when you are having a good day.

Risks Involved with Forgoing Kratom Treatment

Please note that there are many risks involved with not going to rehab for your addiction. It's so important that you're aware of what could happen.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a relapsing disease. This is because of the way it affects the brain, and causes significant changes. When you attempt to quit Kratom on your own, you are at a much greater risk for relapsing.

Relapses are common, but they're also dangerous. They typically reinforce the belief that you need a drug in order to be OK. This contributes to what is known as the cycle of addiction. They also put you at risk for overdosing.

Overdoses typically occur when someone relapses back into drug use. When you quit using the Thom drug, your body quickly changes its tolerance levels. This means that if you were to start using again, it would take less to get you high.

The problem is that most people are not aware of these changes. When they relapse, they go back to using the same amount they previously used. Some may even use more in an attempt to get the drug into their body quickly. The result is an overdose.

There are some symptoms of Kratom overdose that you can look for. These are also important for family members and friends to know as well. They are:

  • A faster heart rate than normal
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme agitation or irritability
  • The onset of seizures
  • Becoming very drowsy
  • Losing consciousness, and possibly slipping into a coma
  • Bouts of nausea and/or vomiting

What to Expect With Kratom Addiction Treatment

Perhaps now you can see the importance of getting professional help for your addiction. Kratom may be a natural drug, but it's also very potent. It's best to recover in a setting where you can be professionally monitored.

You can expect to experience several things when you go to a Kratom treatment center:

  • Professional Detoxification: There are different methods of drug detox. You may be appropriate for holistic detox or medical detox. Both are excellent, and give you the best chance of a long-term, successful recovery. This form of treatment will also make your recovery much easier on you mentally and physically.
  • Counseling: You need to go through counseling for your addiction. It's important to understand the root cause of your addiction.
  • Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment: It's possible that you are suffering from anxiety, depression or another mental illness. These co-occurring disorders can contribute to addictions. It is essential that they be addressed during your treatment.
  • Group Therapy: It can be a bit scary to talk with a group of strangers about your Kratom abuse. However, you'll find that they can all identify with what you're going through. Getting peer support during recovery is so important.
  • Ongoing Treatment: The fact that you have an addiction means you need ongoing help. Getting professional care means that you'll always have the support you need.

Getting Help for Your Kratom Addiction

More than anything, you need to know that you're not alone. You may still have a lot of questions. Maybe you're a concerned family member and you need to know how to tell if someone is on Kratom. Or, it's possible that you just need more information about this drug and the treatment that is available. Either way, here at Ashwood Recovery, we want you to know that we're here for you.

Getting addicted to a substance comes as a surprise to many people. You may not have ever thought this could happen to you. Now that it has, you don't know what to do or where to turn. You need professional guidance and support, which is what we can offer you.

Do you have additional questions about Kratom abuse or addiction? Let us know how we can assist you by contacting us today.

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