Opiate abuse is one of the fastest growing and most deadly diseases currently facing the United States. Each year, thousands of people overdose on heroin or prescription opiates, and despite the best efforts of law enforcement and public health officials, opiate addiction continues to be on the steady incline.
There is no question that if a person becomes addicted to opiates that they should seek the help they need in order to get clean. Because opiates are such strong drugs, many addicts find that in order to successfully withdraw from opiates, they need the assistance of another prescription drug like methadone, which is a drug that is non-addictive, but that impacts the brain in the same way that opiates do.
Methadone is not an ideal solution for everyone, however, nor is quitting "cold turkey," so many recovering addicts have sought help in the form of a substance called Kratom, which proponents say is an excellent means of keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay. But what exactly is Kratom? Is it really an effective detox tool, or is it just another habit forming substance?
Kratom Is a Natural Substance
Kratom is a naturally occurring leaf that grows in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Though the leaf has recently grown in popularity, it has been used for some time in cultures around the regions where it grows. Proponents of the leaf say that it carries medicinal properties.
Kratom Used For Methadone Dependency
One problem that many recovering addicts have with methadone is that they become addicted to methadone just as they are attempting to wean themselves off of heroin or opiates. Areas like New Zealand have begun to use Kratom as a treatment for methadone addiction.
Unlike methadone, Kratom is not an opiate. It does, however, give users a feeling of euphoria or calm and well-being. The fact that it produces sensations similar to those produced by opiates makes it an effective transition substance.
The calming effects of Kratom have also been used to treat individuals with PTSD and anxiety.
Impact of Kratom Depends on Dose
The type of reaction that a Kratom user can expect to experience depends on how much of the substance they consume. In smaller doses, Kratom has stimulant properties. In larger doses, it acts as a sedative.
Although Kratom is often used as a means of transitioning off of other drugs, it can be used recreationally, and it is possible to overuse the drug. Some addiction health experts argue that Kratom is in fact not an effective means of treating addiction because it may simply lead a user to transition from one type of addiction to another.
The euphoric effects of the drug may be habit forming and could lead to irresponsible recreational use.
Each Recovering Addict Has Different Needs
The only way to truly determine whether Kratom is a good option for a recovering addict is for that addict to discuss their disease with their doctor. Together with their doctor, a recovering addict will be able to discuss their withdrawal symptoms and the type of treatment they are undergoing in conjunction with medication treatment to get healthy.
No major decision about treatment should be made without consulting a doctor. Making a change to any type of dosage prescribed or taking substances that are not a part of one's prescribed treatment plan may lead to a risk to one's sobriety or total body health. Sticking to an approved treatment plan, however, can bring about encouraging progress in a recovering addict's bid to stay sober.