Many people who might be considering kratom as a pain/anxiety/depression or fatigue reliever wonder if it might be addictive. This is a very important question that deserves our attention for what it may reveal to us about life in general, not just about kratom.
First, let’s define “addiction”. From the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we hear this:
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.
What if that individual is pursuing improved performance, which cannot be found in any other manner, as is common with psychoactive performance-enhancing substances? Like coffee, for example. Coffee-drinking in some individuals would easily fit the definition addiction because bad things happen when they don’t have it — and they are driven to procure some coffee to stop these unpleasant sensations.
Is this a terrible thing — a disease? Isn’t it a matter of degree? Don’t we have some self-control over our behavior?
Many Americans, as I have discussed in many other articles, have developed very negative addictions to opioid painkillers simply because our medical establishment has limited its business plan to only developing medicines which can be patented. They have even gone so far as to discourage the public from using known preventive strategies that cannot be owned by the pharmaceutical company. This may be a logical business activity to discourage competition, but — since the public looks to any doctor/pharmacist/public health expert as a trusted source of information — dissuading patients from proven preventive strategies is unethical and immoral.
Based on the distorted information that is provided to most Americans by their doctor, it is not their fault that they become addicted to opioid drugs.
Because the pharmaceutical industry, which makes the medicines for our medical doctors, has decided to focus on making only the most profitable medications available, many of us are suffering from chronic degenerative conditions. These conditions are due to a lack of essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids in our diet. To tell us that it is a waste of money to provide ourselves these essential substances in a chemically-identical form, which guarantees that we will develop one of the many diseases that have become so common –even while they promote universal vaccination for diseases that a healthy, well-nutrified person can easily defeat — is criminal.
The whole discussion of Health gets clouded and confusing because many authoritative parties in the debate have a financial interest in swaying the behavior of a market 300 million persons in size. There is a lot of money at stake, for the vitamin companies (which profit more by keeping us well), the pharmaceutical industry (which profits more when we get sick — KEY POINT), and the vendors of kratom.
Where Do I Stand On This Question?
I have consumed many herbs of various types over the course of 48 yrs. Most herbs require a powerful imagination to perceive any benefit from them. They are like an insurance policy, which gives one a feeling that we are doing something which will protect us from some future damage. We just don’t feel any evidence of this right now.
Kratom, however, is an herb whose benefits we feel within minutes. The benefits make a very positive contribution to our sense of health and well-being, with very limited and manageable negative effects (mainly a mild slowing of food passing through the digestive tract). Kratom has some built-in inhibitors (nausea and vomiting) to overuse and abuse.
Kratom is much subtler than cannabis, for example, but kratom is also a more effective remedy for the small health and emotional deficiencies that I find important. This is why is use it — I can’t consistently find these benefits elsewhere, with so little downside risk.
Like coffee or alcohol, kratom can be very positive at small doses, but becomes a burden at larger doses. Managing one’s use of kratom so that it is consistently producing positive effects is, to my mind, the mark of a disciplined and mature user of kratom.
I don’t blame kratom for “making me” overdo it. I don’t feel much inclination to use so much that it becomes a liability. Is it possible to take so much that one’s speech, ability to walk “normally”, or think clearly with kratom? Yes, it is possible, but it is not one of those things that are impossible to easily avoid.
On balance, the positives of kratom use by the average person greatly outweigh the negatives. This is my yardstick for determining if an individual has relinquished their self-control and become addicted.
I believe, contrary to the American Society of Addictive Medicine’s definition, that addiction is caused by an allergy and/or a dietary deficiency, not a weakness of character or genetic flaw.
Compared to cocaine or heroin, the reward to the user’s nervous system is not nearly as powerful with kratom — and the punishment of going without kratom is not debilitating , either.
For the individual with chronic pain who must do something to control that pain, kratom is a far better choice than opioid drugs.
I will always argue that we should always do what we can to repair the cause of the pain we feel, even as we take kratom to make that pain tolerable, while we are healing. Most medical doctors conveniently ignore the ability of our body — if properly supplemented — to heal chronic dietary deficiency diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes-2, fibromyalgia, MS, et al.
For the average American, who still believes their doctors’ self-serving propaganda that our body cannot heal itself, they will need to take something for pain for the rest of their life — why not take kratom, which has none of the damaging side-effects of OTC or prescription drugs?
American Society of Addiction Medicine: Definition of Addiction
Let’s Play Doctor! — by J.D.Wallach, BS, DVM, ND; and Ma Lan, MD, MS; Sixth Edition, 2010
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