How Can You Tell If Someone Is Using Kratom?

Kratom abuse is not as common as alcohol or marijuana addictions, but this does not mean that the condition can’t be concerning. Wondering about kratom abuse symptoms? Below, you can find information on kratom addiction signs, side effects, and how to start substance abuse recovery.

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Kratom is a plant known for both its stimulating and relaxing properties. Also known as the Mitagyna speciosa in the scientific world, kratom is historically used as an herbal medication in Southeastern countries to help in conditions such as anxiety, cough, diarrhea, and pain.

In contemporary settings, kratom is often consumed as a pill or powder form for alternative treatment or recreational purposes. However, NIDA advises users to be wary of the drug as many people are prone to having kratom drug abuse after long-term intake.

If you or a loved one is using kratom, how do you know if someone is experiencing kratom addiction? Below are some of the most notable signs of kratom abuse.

Kratom Addiction Symptoms

Substance abuse of any kind often has three main areas of observation–physical, mental, and behavioral effects. Different addictive substances will show physical, mental, and behavioral manifestations that is distinct to the drug. As for kratom, users will experience the following symptoms:


  • A state of restlessness when not taking kratom
  • Abnormal heart rhythms or palpitations
  • Stomach irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and dizziness when not taking the drug


  • Increased anxiety and depression when not taking the drug
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Mood swings, extreme high and low emotions
  • Challenges in comprehension and mental performance


  • Social isolation
  • Lack of interest in former pursuits (job, school, relationships)
  • Evasive and secretive behavior
  • Spending a lot of time and resources getting the drug
  • Gradual or sudden changes in personality

If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, it is possible that kratom abuse is taking place. Finding professional help to cope with withdrawal symptoms safely while weaning off kratom can help in addiction recovery.

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Kratom Abuse Side Effects

When addiction sets in and is not addressed as soon as possible, kratom abuse effects can happen. Many people can push as far as wondering how much is too much kratom only to experience detrimental side effects. Below, you will the different kinds of complications that could happen with kratom abuse:

Heart damage

Kratom is a known stimulant that can work up the heart and disrupt its function. Those who ask “how much kratom is too much?” will also probably wonder at what dosage can the drug cause heart damage. The truth is, since is it an unregulated drug, there is no exact dosage where it is considered fatal. However, a study revealed that one patient has taken 500 mg of the drug and experienced a very fast heart rate which resulted in an overdose.

Liver dysfunction

Kratom abuse is also related to problems in the liver since high amounts of the drug produces toxicity. Some people have experienced liver injury after taking kratom for 1-8 weeks even in regular amounts. Some signs of liver dysfunction include dark urine, jaundice, fatigue, and nausea.

Brain swelling

Large amounts of kratom have also been associated with brain swelling and encephalopathy. Permanent brain damage can occur as a result of the swelling, which can cause paralysis, poor functioning, and memory loss.

Breathing difficulties

Respiratory dysfunction is also a potential side effect of kratom as it also contains opioid-like properties. A person may experience very slow breathing, also called respiratory depression especially on large doses of kratom.

Some other notable side effects include insomnia, hallucinations, thyroid problems, seizures, and kidney issues.

When seeking help for kratom addiction, it is very crucial to act quickly to prevent the dangerous and potentially fatal side effects of the drug. Below is a simple guide on how to get started with kratom abuse recovery.

Kratom Abuse Recovery: How to Get Started

Kratom addiction recovery is much safer with professional help. As with any other addictive substance, some withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable at the very least, but can also lead to complications that are life-threatening. If you are decided on getting help for kratom abuse, here are the steps you can follow:

Contact a trusted kratom abuse treatment center

One of the best things you can do is to contact a treatment facility that specializes in kratom abuse. There is a unique approach to detoxing from kratom addiction, so a center that recognizes and is experienced in treating this condition is best to meet your needs.

Many of these treatment facilities are open to questions such as how to get started with rehab, how to verify your health insurance, and other inquiries related to kratom addiction recovery.

Tell supportive family and friends

Another helpful step is to let loving family and friends become aware of you or a loved one’s kratom addiction. This way, they can provide support as needed, such as financial, emotional, or even errands such as traveling and temporary arrangements.

Your bubble of support is important in addiction recovery–having people in your team empowers you to stay motivated as you go on in this life-changing journey.

Find trusted resources

Some individuals are not just solely going through kratom addiction. Oftentimes, drug abuse is a co-occurring disorder along with other mental health problems, or with another addictive substance. In these scenarios, it is best to know more about dual diagnosis rehabs or to find medically trusted resources to know more about substance abuse and related disorders.

Arming yourself with knowledge is one of the earliest steps you can take, as it will help you develop helpful mindsets in addiction recovery.

Kratom Addiction: Signs, Effects, and Recovery

As mentioned, kratom addiction presents unique signs and side effects that can pose a threat to someone’s life. Finding trusted rehab centers, reaching out to supportive people, and arming yourself with knowledge is key to long-term recovery.


  1. – “Kratom DrugFacts”.
  2. – “A Case of Kratom Overdose in a Pediatric Patient”.
  3. – “Kratom – LiverTox”.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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