How Addiction to Kratom Almost Ruined my Life.

by Nichole Moninger

In my late twenties, I started having regular pain in my knees and throughout my lower body. Within just a few years, I was diagnosed with hEDS (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), an inherited connective tissue disorder caused by a collagen deficiency. The joints in my lower body, particularly in my knees and ankles, deteriorated over the next decade. Then in my early 40’s, I was also diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause pain and inflammation in any area of the body. Like hEDS, Lupus most commonly impacts the joints and skin. To say that I was experiencing daily chronic pain is an understatement, and I was looking for something to help manage this symptom. On a Facebook group for people with hEDS, I read about a woman who found pain management by taking Kratom

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa Korthals) is a tropical tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. This herbal substance is most commonly consumed as a tea made from leaves or powder, but kratom can also be found in capsules, gummies, and even beverage shots. When consuming low doses (i.e. 1-5 grams), kratom typically produces stimulant effects; high doses (5-15 g.) usually cause sedative effects. However, kratom comes in a wide variety of strains (e.g. red, white, or green vein; Bali; Indo; Maeng Da; Malay; Sumatra; Thai; etc.), and how each strain impacts an individual varies widely.

In 2016, I started taking kratom as a powder and mixing it in a water bottle. The taste was disgusting, but it offered pain relief that I was desperately seeking. Within just a few years, I discovered that I could order kratom capsules online and have them delivered to my home in no time. I kept them in an old herbal vitamin bottle in my purse so that no one would know what they really were. Before long I became totally and completely addicted to kratom. I had to find a larger bottle to carry the capsules around with me in because I was taking close to 100 grams of kratom every day. I was spending over $500 a month on kratom capsules. When I tried to cut back on my use, I experienced vicious withdrawal symptoms.

The National Institute of Health tells us that kratom contains two opioid receptor agonists, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which means that it acts like an opioid in the brain. Moderate to heavy kratom users (i.e. at least 3 doses per day) typically experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms like those of opioid cessation within 48 hours of when they try to stop using kratom. Severe adverse effects, up to and including death, have been reported with kratom doses in excess of 15 grams when taken in conjunction with opioids, benzodiazepines, modafinil, and other medications. I was taking incredibly high amounts of kratom with opioids and benzodiazepines. I was hospitalized multiple times for overdosing and am truly lucky to be alive. I nodded out behind the wheel and rear-ended cars more than a few times; I could have easily killed someone.

In February of this year, I slept for about 14 hours and woke up not knowing whether it was morning or night. It was then that I realized the seriousness of my addiction and knew that I needed help. I called Transformations by the Gulf, and they arranged for a medical Uber to pick me up right away. I checked into a medical detox center, after which I spent 45 days at Transformations by the Gulf in Residential Treatment and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and another 75 days in their Intensive Outpatient Program. I’m now almost 10 months clean and sober, and I honestly feel that I owe my life to Transformations by the Gulf. Their program and the staff changed my life in a way that I never could’ve done on my own. If you’re struggling with addiction to kratom, or addiction to any drug or alcohol, know that there is hope. If I can do it, so can you. Give Transformations by the Gulf a call today. I promise; you won’t regret it. 

How to Get Started at Transformations by the Gulf

Transformations by the Gulf is an inpatient and outpatient Florida drug and alcohol treatment rehab center focused on providing comprehensive and individualized care for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Personalized addiction treatment plans are specific to individual needs, and we take a holistic and an evidenced-based approach to recovery. Contact us online or give us a call at 727-498-6498 to discuss our addiction recovery programs.