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Everything You Need To Know About Kratom, The Herb The FDA Just Declared An Opioid

Treatment providers in the addiction recovery space are always wary of new trends which claim to be “like” drugs, but aren’t drugs. Just a few years ago such was the case when an herb called Kratom started making its way into convenient store beverages and ‘natural’ supplements. Sourced from South America, Kratom is a plant which can be used as a stimulant substance. Interestingly, Kratom can also be used as an opioid substitute, even though opioids are depressant substances. Many alternative treatment providers are touting kratom as the answer to opioid treatment as the plant seems to help opioid addicts make it through the very painful period of withdrawal. Available as a pill, powder, or tea, the exotic herb is the center of controversy. Though many providers are arguing that kratom is a safe and viable alternative to opioid use, many others argue that kratom is addictive and can be potentially harmful.

In February of 2018 the Food and Drug Administration released a statement warning the public against kratom. Just a short while after, the FDA would release an official statement labeling kratom as an opioid and designating it as dangerous. The FDA takes the position that kratom and opioids have the same effect on the brain, making the drug potentially addictive. Likewise, there have been documented cases of death where kratom was involved. Since the opioid epidemic is already such an issue, the FDA feels that new harmful drugs are unnecessary.

Side Effects of Kratom

Kratom can cause symptoms of intoxication similar to those of opioids, which is what worries treatment providers the most. Recovery is meant to be abstinence based and not include behaviors or mood being dependent on a mood altering substance. Moreover, kratom can have adverse side effects which are reminiscent of detox. These symptoms can be triggering for someone in recovery and possibly lead to relapse. Kratom is known to cause:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Psychotic Episodes
  • Aggressive Behavior

Is Taking Kratom A Relapse?

Many treatment providers have started testing for kratom and consider the drug to be a relapse if a test comes up positive for it.

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