Get Help Today. (800) 516-4357

Signs & Symptoms of Kratom Abuse

Kratom abuse symptoms include confusion, hallucinations, and sedation or jitteriness. Addiction signs include prioritizing kratom use and inability to quit despite negative consequences. Withdrawal can cause hostility and depression. Treatment involves medications, counseling, and tailored therapies.

Struggling with Addiction? Get Help Now

Kratom is a generic term referring to an herbal substance that triggers opioid and stimulant symptoms. It’s legal in most states but not regulated. People who buy a product called kratom could be ingesting almost anything — from harmless herbs to deadly fentanyl

Intoxication symptoms (such as hallucinations, confusion, or sedation) offer clear evidence of kratom abuse. When you spot them, it’s time to take action. Kratom can be deadly at high doses, and withdrawal symptoms are common in regular users. 

What Are Common Kratom Abuse Signs & Symptoms?

Since kratom is legal, many people don’t hide their drug use. They may discuss why they’re using kratom, where they bought it, and why they think it’s helpful. Some people believe kratom can ease opioid use disorder (OUD) and may talk about how kratom keeps them sober. 

Other common signs of abuse include intoxication. People who abuse kratom may develop the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Slow breathing
  • Nausea 
  • Hallucinations

Some people feel profoundly sedated while using kratom and may drop into a deep sleep while intoxicated. Others experience kratom’s stimulant effects and seem jittery or anxious. 

Why Is Kratom Dangerous?

People often believe drugs they buy over the counter are inherently safe. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Kratom causes significant and hazardous physical and emotional changes. 

Physical Changes

Some people have such severe kratom reactions that they head to emergency rooms for help. Doctors have documented several physical problems associated with kratom, including the following:

  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Slow breathing
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

Long-term users can develop liver problems. Doctors aren’t sure if kratom alone harms the liver or if contaminants play a role. But it’s clear that high kratom doses cause significant organ damage

Mental or Emotional Changes

Kratom can cause psychotic symptoms, including the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Confusion

Since kratom has stimulant properties, people who are hallucinating are at risk of harming themselves or others. They may feel compelled to act on the things they see or hear, and their choices could haunt them.

How to Recognize Kratom Addiction

Some people use kratom recreationally, dabbling in drug use based on their time and budget. But kratom can cause brain chemistry changes that lead to compulsive use. People with kratom addiction may want to quit drugs, but they may feel unable to do so.

People with drug addictions tend to show the following signs:

  • Dangerous use: They take kratom while driving, working, or tackling another task that requires concentration.
  • Prioritization: They put kratom at the center of every daily decision. They skip work, social opportunities, or family obligations to take drugs.
  • Recognition: They know the drug is causing problems in their life but persist with kratom abuse. 

If you think someone has lost control of kratom use, start a conversation. Ask if the person wants to quit but can’t. Your supportive words could make a huge difference to someone in need.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

Brain cells accustomed to kratom don’t function well without it. Kratom withdrawal can make people feel so sick that they relapse back to drugs for relief. 

Classic Kratom withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Aching muscles
  • Jerky movements 

Some people develop psychological withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Irritability 
  • Insomnia 
  • Inability to concentrate 

Withdrawal symptoms are serious, as they convince the person that life without kratom is painful and difficult. People who move through several withdrawal episodes may believe that they’ll never get sober, even though they want to.

What About Kratom Overdose? 

Taking too much kratom can overwhelm the central nervous system, leading to very slow breathing and heart rates. An episode like this can be fatal. But kratom overdose can also be caused by other factors.

Some products called kratom contain other substances, including fentanyl, that can cause overdose. And some people believe kratom is so safe that they can mix it with other substances, including alcohol. This belief is unfounded and unsafe.

In most deaths attributed to kratom, doctors found another substance too. Mixing drugs with kratom is incredibly dangerous, and unfortunately, it’s also common. 

Get Help for Kratom Addiction 

Experts haven’t created a uniform kratom addiction treatment program. The drug is relatively new, and doctors aren’t exactly sure how it works. A general approach to substance abuse and addiction treatment works well for those with kratom addiction.

Some people benefit from medications like hydroxyzine to assist with discomfort caused by withdrawal. Others need medications like buprenorphine to keep them sober for the long term.

In a drug treatment program, you can get the customized care you need to help you stop abusing kratom and other substances. You’ll likely use some combination of medications, counseling, and other therapies. A tailored approach can identify the areas where you need work in order to get control and build a healthier life.

Updated November 21, 2023
  1. Kratom. (December 2021). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. Kratom Drug Fact Sheet. (April 2020). Drug Enforcement Administration.
  3. Kratom. (December 2022). Drug Enforcement Administration.
  4. Kratom Dependence and Treatment Options: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. (2020). Current Drug Targets.
  5. Notes From the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom Detected: 27 States, July 2016 to December 2017. (April 2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. A Case Report of Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal. (February 2016). Wisconsin Medical Journal.
  7. Kratom Abuse Potential 2021: An Updated Eight Factor Analysis. (January 2022). Frontiers in Pharmacology.
  8. Treatment of Kratom Withdrawal and Dependence With Buprenorphine/Naloxone: A Case Series and Systematic Literature Review. (March/April 2021). Journal of Addiction Medicine.
Take The Next Step Now
Call Us Now Check Insurance