Mixing Kratom and Alcohol
Kratom is an herbal substance that is extracted from the leaves of an evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) grown in Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves have been traditionally chewed by native inhabitants to experience the stimulant effects and opioid-like analgesic effects of the leaves.
Although kratom is currently not classified as an illegal substance in the United States, its misuse has been linked to multiple deaths and overdoses. Because kratom is an unregulated supplement at this point, the use of kratom is risky and the risk of side effects and interactions increases when kratom is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol.
Using kratom and alcohol together is not recommended because harmful interactions are possible. Understanding the risks associated with mixing kratom and alcohol, and recognizing possible side effects, can prevent serious injury or dependence.
How Kratom and Alcohol Interact
Kratom can impact the brain in similar ways to both opioids and stimulants. This means that it has effects that are stimulating to the central nervous system (CNS) or effects that are typical with CNS depressants, such as opioids and alcohol, depending on the dose.
At low doses kratom causes stimulant-like effects including increased energy, sociability and alertness. At higher doses, kratom causes sedation, euphoria and decreased pain.
When kratom is mixed with alcohol, the CNS depressant effects of alcohol, which include impaired coordination, slurred speech, drowsiness and slowed breathing, may be intensified by kratom, which can be dangerous and possibly deadly. Most overdose deaths from kratom have involved the use of other substances, including alcohol. The interaction between kratom and alcohol can have devastating effects and it is not recommended that these substances be used together.
Side Effects of Mixing Kratom and Alcohol
Research regarding kratom is still fairly new, but there are many negative health effects that have been reported by people who have used kratom. Kratom and alcohol have some overlapping effects, and these effects could intensify when the two substances are used together.
Short-term effects of kratom and alcohol include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
Long-term effects of kratom and alcohol include:
- Anorexia and weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Liver toxicity
Alcohol is well-known for causing liver damage and it is important to note that research has shown that kratom may also cause liver damage.
Signs of liver damage include:
- Joint pain or swelling
- Excessive fatigue or weakness
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Skin rash or itching
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Kratom and alcohol liver damage can be very serious and it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any signs of liver damage.
Kratom to Treat Alcohol Addiction
Although Kratom has been advertised as an alternative treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction, it is important to know that there is no significant scientific research to support these claims. The use of an unregulated substance to treat alcohol and opioid addiction could worsen an addiction or introduce unintended side effects or other complications.
Limited case reports have detailed the use of kratom to treat alcoholism or opioid cravings. It is important to know, however, that many of the “treatments” involving kratom also involved the use of medications that have been proven effective in treating alcohol and opioid dependence.
This creates doubt as to whether or not kratom has benefits in the management of substance use disorders. The risk of using an unregulated supplement like kratom could worsen the substance use disorder if it is an adulterated product.
Kratom and Alcohol Withdrawal
Kratom misuse can be habit-forming and can lead to dependence. Misuse of kratom could lead to withdrawal symptoms when the substance is no longer used. If someone is misusing kratom and alcohol together, they may experience kratom and alcohol withdrawal symptoms together which could be very uncomfortable and intense because some of the withdrawal symptoms for kratom and alcohol are similar.
Overlapping symptoms of kratom and alcohol withdrawal include:
- Muscle or body aches
- Emotional changes
- Irritability or hostility
- Tremors or jerky movement
If you or someone you know is experiencing alcohol and kratom withdrawal, it is recommended to seek medical attention. Trained health professionals can provide the necessary supportive care to appropriately manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Getting Help for Kratom and Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with kratom or alcohol addiction, help is available. While addiction can seem overwhelming at times, recovery is possible with the right support and help. Kratom addiction treatment can lead you to a healthier and happier life free of substance dependence.
If you would like to learn more about treatment options for kratom and alcohol addiction, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today to speak with a representative. The Recovery Village Ridgefield offers comprehensive and individualized treatment programs designed by trained professionals who will be passionate about helping you towards recovery. Recovery is possible and The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help.
Food and Drug Administration. “Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new warning letters FDA is issuing to companies marketing kratom with unproven medical claims; and the agency’s ongoing concerns about kratom.” September 11, 2018. Accessed August 19, 2019.
Havemann-Reinecke, U. “P01-50-Kratom and alcohol dependence: Clinical symptoms, withdrawal treatment and pharmacological mechanisms- A case report.” European Psychiatry, 2011. Accessed August 19, 2019.
Stokes Osborne, Caroline; Overstreet, Amanda; Rockey, Don and Schreiner, Andrew. “Drug-Induced Liver Injury Caused by Kratom Use as an Alternative Pain Treatment Amid an Ongoing Opioid Epidemic.” Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports, January 28, 2019. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.