Is Kratom OK for Addiction Recovery?

4 tips to stay sober during the holidays

Many who enter sober living are often either leaving a treatment facility or trying to leave a life of addiction behind. This is done by entering a structured living environment of sober living that they expect to be free from the temptations of drugs and alcohol. This safe environment, complete with peers who should also be on a journey toward sobriety, does not come without its challenges. For the recovering addict, more freedom can equal more fear. How one deals with the emotional triggers found in re-engaging society without the “comfort blanket” of their drug of choice will determine if they stay sober. For some, coping skills help them deal with anxiety and stress. However, some choose legal substances to help them cope. One such substance is Kratom. This article will discuss this controversial drug and answer the questions: Is Kratom OK for Addiction Recovery?

What is Kratom?

Kratom  also known as Ketum, is a mind-altering substance derived from a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) found in Southeast Asia. Kratom’s effects are similar to those of opioids and stimulants. When ingested in large amounts, its main active ingredients, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, reduce pain and produce pleasure and relaxation. When ingested in smaller amounts, kratom increases alertness and enhances social interaction. Although the plant has a long history of use as an herbal medicine in Southeast Asia, kratom abuse is also well known in the region–the and the drug has been banned in Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar due to its addictive potential. However, this drug remains legal in the United States and is marketed as a regular supplement to ease anxiety, increase energy and relieve pain. It is typically sold in the form of pills, powder or gum. There is an ever-increasing use of this drug by heroin addicts to help them self-medicate their own withdrawal symptoms despite there being an increasing amount of deaths linked to the use of Kratom with other drugs.

Kratom: It’s Just a Plant

Oftentimes, addicts can struggle with the thought of living a life free from all mood-altering substances for the rest of their life. This uneasiness can cause many to seek legal ways to still change the way they feel and thus justify their use. It is the same logic that leads a heroin addict to claim that he or she can drink if they so choose because “that wasn’t their drug of choice.” Many have attempted this and many end up relapsing on their drug of choice. Another justification is that, like marijuana, this legal supplement is made from a plant and, therefore, must be ok to use. Again, this logic falls short for the same reasons as alcohol does. Additionally, Kratom continues to see a rise in deaths linked to its use.

Kratom and Addiction Recovery

For the majority of addicts, the only solution to their addiction is a life free from all mood-altering substances…this includes plants. For it isn’t so much about the substance that one uses, whether legal or illegal, that matters. But the motivation behind the use. Is someone really trying to deal with anxiety or are they only trying to justify using a drug to change the way they feel? Treatment professionals will be the first to tell you that these decisions should be left up to professionals such as doctors and therapists.

Bottom Line

Kratom is a mood altering substance that has the potential to be deadly. If you are in sober living, or know someone in sober living, please speak with a professional regarding the use of Kratom. Your sobriety, and many times your life, can depend on it!

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