Updated on April 1, 2024
3 min read

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)  is a plant native to Southeast Asia known for its stimulating effects at low doses and opioid-like effects at higher doses. This makes it a popular medication for pain relief and opioid withdrawal management.

Kratom contains alkaloids (primarily mitragynine and 7-hydro mitragynine), which act on the brain’s mu-opioid receptors. This is why kratom can be used for pain relief and managing opioid withdrawal.

However, kratom does carry significant risks, including addiction and withdrawal complications. In this article, we’ll briefly tackle kratom addiction, withdrawal, and their symptoms.

Is Kratom Addictive?

Studies have shown that kratom can be addictive. Regular and frequent use can even lead to increased tolerance and dependence on the drug.

Symptoms of a kratom addiction include but are not limited to:

  • Erratic or violent behavior
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Breathing problems
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to experience pain
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Weight changes
  • Kratom cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic or high levels of alertness
  • Poor decision making
  • Withdrawal symptoms

People addicted to kratom may also start neglecting responsibilities and hobbies to use the substance. Most of their time is spent getting, abusing, and recovering from kratom use.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, contact medical help. 

Side Effects of Kratom Abuse

Aside from withdrawal, long-term kratom abuse can lead to various unpleasant side effects. These include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Significant weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Insomnia 
  • Changes in skin color around the cheeks
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Liver damage

It’s important to understand that the long-term effects of kratom use haven’t been extensively studied. So the potential side effects of long-term or chronic kratom use aren’t fully known.

Kratom Withdrawal & Symptoms

If you’ve become addicted or dependent on kratom, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it. Kratom withdrawal can cause various uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches, tremors, and sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal problems like nausea and vomiting
  • Severe cases may experience hallucinations, delusions, or seizures

The severity of withdrawal varies depending on how long and how you’ve been using kratom, overall health, and other substance use.


Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

What is Kratom's Regulatory Status?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved kratom for medical use. It’s also considered a substance of concern by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

However, the legal status of kratom is complex. Although legal in many parts of the U.S., it’s banned in some.

Get Professional Help

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Rehab Together

Treatment Options for Kratom Addiction

Because of the addiction potential, it’s important to be careful about kratom use. If you want to stop using, you’ll need medical supervision.

Available treatment options for kratom addiction include:

Kratom can be addictive and lead to withdrawal similar to opioids. Understanding the risks underscores the need for caution and highlights the importance of further research  into its effects and potential medical applications.

Get matched with an affordable mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Updated on April 1, 2024

Related Pages