Treatment for Kratom Addiction

Dr. Susanne Reed
Calendar icon Last Updated: 05/18/2021

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Kratom, which has both stimulant-like and opioid-like properties, is a plant native to Southeast Asia that many people may use by grinding the leaves into a powder, making a tea, smoking the leaves, or in pill form. Kratom is legal and can be easily obtained on the internet and in stores. Many people use kratom for the euphoria and pain relief it produces while others use it to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms—this is because kratom contains opioid compounds and affects the body largely in the same way that opioids do. Like many other drugs of abuse, chronic kratom use can lead to dependence and kratom addiction.2,3,4,5

If you are struggling with a kratom addiction, detox treatment and kratom addiction treatment can help you quit using kratom. Treatment for kratom addiction can occur in an inpatient, residential, or outpatient setting, and the right program will depend on your priorities and needs.

Detox Treatment for Kratom Withdrawal

Because kratom is legal, it is a common misconception that this drug is safe and effective for the management of opioid withdrawal. Kratom shares many properties with opioids, and while it is currently legal, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intends to make kratom a Schedule I Controlled Substance—Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependence and no accepted medical use in the United States.6

Chronic kratom abuse can lead to physiological dependence, which means your body has adapted to the presence of this drug and requires it to function optimally. If you are dependent and suddenly stop using kratom, you’ll experience unpleasant kratom withdrawal symptoms, similar to opioid withdrawal. Kratom withdrawal symptoms may include:4,5

  • Hostility and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Aggression
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Jerky movements
  • Runny nose and teary eyes

Kratom withdrawal symptoms can be very distressing, but professional detox can help. During detox, a treatment team can provide you with around-the-clock medical care and oversight to ensure you are comfortable and safe while you withdraw from kratom. Detox programs last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the timeline of your kratom withdrawal. Once you are medically stabilized and have completed detox, it’s important to transition into a kratom addiction treatment program. This is because detox doesn’t address the underlying issues that motivated kratom abuse in the first place. Whether you attend inpatient rehab or outpatient treatment, substance abuse treatment works to produce lasting behavioral changes that can help you stay sober in the long run.7

Kratom Addiction Treatment Programs

Once you’ve completed kratom detox, you can transition to kratom abuse treatment in the form of inpatient rehab, residential treatment, or outpatient treatment. It’s also common to attend several types of rehab programs from most intensive to least intensive.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab, which is the most intensive treatment option, occurs in a hospital environment, away from temptations and triggers so that you can focus on recovery from a kratom addiction. You live at the inpatient facility for the duration of your kratom addiction treatment program. Inpatient programs typically last anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

At the start of the program, you will be evaluated for other medical or mental health issues so that the treatment team can create an individualized treatment plan. You may also participate in educational classes and support groups.7 Every inpatient program has a different treatment philosophy—some are more secular, some may utilize 12-step meetings, and others use a holistic approach. Generally, you can expect your inpatient program to include a combination of the following:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Medical oversight and care
  • Support groups

Therapy can help teach you healthy coping strategies, relapse prevention skills, and emotional regulation skills, as well as help you replace maladaptive behaviors with positive ones.

You can also join groups to discuss ways to overcome kratom cravings, recognize triggers, and avoid the people, places, and things that make you want to use kratom again. Some groups are run by mental health and addiction specialists, while others are peer-run.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment for kratom use is a step down from inpatient care and occurs in a non-hospital environment that more so resembles a comfortable, home setting. You still live at the residential facility and receive therapy and medical care and oversight. However, you may not receive the around-the-clock medical monitoring that you would in an inpatient setting.

There are typically two types of residential treatment: short-term and long-term. Often referred to as a therapeutic community, a residential treatment program may last anywhere from a few weeks to over a year, depending on your individual needs.

Residential treatment provides therapeutic activities geared towards helping you transition back into society with improved mental, physical, and social health. Working one-on-one with a mental health and addiction counselor will help you understand yourself and what you need to stay sober in the future.7

Along with structured groups, 12-step activities, and individual counseling, you also have access to staff who can provide employment training and assistance, as well as establishing outside support services for when you return home.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Partial Hospitalization

As a step-down model for kratom addiction treatment, intensive outpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program follows inpatient and residential programs. Or, if you aren’t able to take the time away from work, school, or your family for inpatient, then intensive outpatient treatment may be your initial program.

Intensive outpatient and partial programs are more intensive than standard outpatient treatment, which typically involves just a few hours of therapy per week. These programs provide you with counseling and support for several hours per day before returning home in the evening. While receiving outpatient treatment, it’s important to make sure your home environment is a substance-free and supportive setting free of drug-using triggers.

Once you complete an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization program, you may continue treatment in the form of outpatient therapy.

Individual Outpatient Counseling

Individual counseling, which is the least intensive form of treatment, involves meeting with a therapist once or twice a week until you feel confident in your ability to maintain recovery.

In outpatient therapy, techniques like behavioral counseling will be used to keep you on track. It’s also recommended you continue attending support groups outside of counseling.8

In outpatient treatment, you can also receive family therapy. The effects of kratom use, dependence, and addiction affect the whole family. Everyone must heal and learn how to support you in your recovery.8

Choosing the Right Kratom Addiction Treatment Program

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment program. You have needs that others may not have, and therefore, will require an individualized treatment plan. Picking the right treatment program can feel overwhelming and confusing if you try to do it alone.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. If you feel like you could benefit from any kratom rehab services, help is available. All you have to do is call 800-926-9037 (Info iconWho Answers?) to speak to a knowledgeable treatment support specialist about detox and treatment programs near you.

While researching kratom addiction treatment programs, there are some factors you may want to consider when considering which ones may be best for you, including:

  • Age: There are age-specific rehabs, such as teen treatment programs or those for aging adults.
  • Sex and gender preferences: Specialized programs are available for men, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Religious preferences: Some rehabs are secular while others integrate specific religions into recovery.
  • Co-occurring mental health issues: If you struggle with addiction and a mental health disorder, a dual diagnosis treatment program can help address both conditions.
  • Co-occurring medical conditions: If you have underlying medical conditions, like HIV/AIDS, cancer, or diabetes, it’s vital that you find a rehab with experience treating that condition.
  • Additional preferences: Some people prefer luxury services like massage and yoga, while others prefer the basics of receiving treatment. Veterans may choose to be with other veterans; business professionals may want to be in a program that caters to executives.

Resources

  1. Veeresham, C. (2012). Natural products derived from plants as a source of drugs. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research. Oct-Dec; 3(4): 200–201.
  2. Eastlack, S.C., Cornett, E.M., & Kaye, A.D. (2020). Kratom pharmacology, clinical implications, and outlook. A comprehensive review. Pain and Therapy. June; 9(1): 55–69.
  3. United States Food and Drug Administration. (2018). FDA Statement: Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the agency’s scientific evidence on the presence of opioid compounds in Kratom, underscoring its potential for abuse.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Drug Facts: Kratom Drug Facts.
  5. Tavakoli, H. R., Buchholz, A. C., Kabir, I. K., Deb, A., & Gayk, J. N. (2016). Kratom: a new product in an expanding substance abuse market. Federal Practitioner: For the Health Care Professionals of the VA, DoD, and PHS, 33(11), 32–36.
  6. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (2016). Press Release: DEA Announces Intent to Schedule Kratom.
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Publications: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Types of Treatment Programs.
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Treatment Improvement Protocol. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Chapter 3: Approaches to Therapy.
Pen iconAuthor
Susanne Reed has a PhD in Education and a Master's degree in Psychology. She worked for more than 20 years in the mental health and substance abuse fields as a counselor, director, and Addiction Counseling business owner. She has been a blog and article writer since 2016 for individual therapists, treatment facilities, sober living homes, and addiction specialists, as well as other industries. She