Kratom for Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you suffer from opioid addiction, you likely already know the dangers involved with that lifestyle. And if you’re seeking opioid addiction treatment, you might have heard of an herb known as kratom. Kratom is touted by some users as the solution to their withdrawal problems. But it's also condemned by others as a highly dangerous and addictive substance in its own right. Read on to discover what kratom is, what effects it has on the brain and body, and whether you should consider talking to your doctor about using kratom for opioid addiction treatment.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is the herbal extract of the Mitragyna speciosa evergreen tree that grows in Southeast Asia. Sometimes used in at-home treatments for opioid withdrawal, kratom has gained two very different reputations depending on who you ask. While some people have found more success breaking their opioid addictions using kratom instead of traditional treatments , the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both warned about the potentially huge risks of kratom and advise against its use.
Why Do Some People Choose to Use Kratom for Opioid Addiction Treatment?
Opioid withdrawal can be very unpleasant unless a physician manages symptoms. They do this by often administering pain medications and other withdrawal treatments. For most people, the ideal answer would be to seek professional treatment for their opioid addictions. However, not everyone has the resources to seek out professional treatment, and others prefer to go it alone without medical help.
Since kratom has traditionally been used in Asia for pain management, there is a growing interest in the United States in using kratom for opioid addiction treatment. Many people order kratom-containing pills, teas, or other concoctions online and use them to self-treat opioid addiction without seeing a doctor or going to rehab.
The potential for kratom to help with opioid withdrawals is high, according to research by Christopher R. McCurdy of the University of Florida. The herb works so well because the compounds mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine bind to the same receptors in the brain that opioids do. This can have a calming, pleasant, and pain-relieving effect, even during the acute stages of opioid withdrawal.
Though it might be tempting to turn to kratom if you struggle with addiction in your own life, be careful. Without further research and testing, kratom use is still a risky proposition.
What Are The Potential Downsides of Kratom Use?
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is that many kratom products are completely unregulated. Anyone can sell anything on the internet. Buyers who don’t have access to laboratories to test their purchases would essentially be ingesting what they hope is kratom based on the promises of the seller. And indeed, a 2016 study found that many “kratom” products actually contained far higher opioid levels than kratom leaves would have naturally. This of course means that at least some of the commercially available kratom products are likely tainted if they are even made from kratom at all.
Even with verifiably untainted kratom, the potential for negative side effects is steep.
Though kratom is known for its calming and pain-relieving properties, it can also cause any or all of the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Addiction and withdrawal symptoms
It’s worth noting that the FDA found 44 deaths in 2017 that were related to kratom use. While many people claim that kratom-related deaths only happen in combination with other substances, some of those substances are things that the average person wouldn’t think twice about taking. For example, some of the listed interactions include caffeine, alcohol, cough syrup, and diphenhydramine, the antihistamine in Benadryl and other common allergy medications.
The potential for interactions could be even higher when kratom is used in combination with other withdrawal medications. In at least one case, kratom alongside modafinil was likely the cause of a seizure in a patient who had never experienced seizures before.
Where Can You Turn if You Are Considering Using Kratom for Opioid Addiction Treatment?
Clear Life Recovery understands that opioid withdrawal is not pleasant to deal with on your own. Rather than resorting to risky and untested at-home solutions, we urge you to contact us via online contact form or give us a call. Our trained staff can speak with you and help you choose the recovery option that is best for you and your lifestyle. Even if you feel tempted to turn to DIY opioid addiction treatment because you can’t afford rehab, call us today. Clear Life Recovery’s dedicated admissions counselors have helped many people with difficult financial backgrounds get the treatment they need.