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Teen Kratom Abuse


kratom plant in teen's hand

The Mayo Clinic explains, “Kratom is an herbal extract that comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) grown in Southeast Asia.” Its leaves contain a compound that when ingested can elicit mind-altering (psychotropic) effects. Hence, kratom is a psychoactive substance that changes the brain’s natural chemistry. While the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not classified kratom as a controlled substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns its consumers against the use of kratom. For example, it is not uncommon for kratom to be sold with a warning label that includes “not for human consumption.” Kratom can be sold in the form of a green powder, capsules, an extract and/ or gum. Some of the street names of kratom include: Kakuam, Baik, Ketum, Thom, and Ithang. 

Kratom works by interacting with the opioid receptors in one’s brain, producing sedation, decreased pain, and pleasure. When ingested, kratom elicits similar effects to both stimulants and opioids. There are different methods individuals may ingest kratom, such as: swallowing it as a pill, capsule or extract, chewing kratom leaves, drinking it as brewed tea, smoking it and/ or eating it in food. When abused in small doses the effects of kratom can result in increased energy levels. When kratom is abused in larger doses it can have similar effects to those of opioid drugs, such as euphoria and/ or sedation. 

Signs and Symptoms

Every young person is different and each will respond somewhat uniquely to the abuse of kratom. There are, however, several common signs and symptoms that a teen struggling with kratom abuse may exhibit, which can include, but are not limited to the following examples, as provided by Healthline:

  • Hostility
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability 
  • Jerky movements of arms and legs
  • Runny nose
  • Aggression
  • Itching 
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation 
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Insomnia 

The severity of symptoms will differ from teen to teen, as will the combination of symptoms. With severe kratom dependence a young person may suffer from delusions, confusion, hallucinations, and/ or seizures. 


There are many different treatment options available for a young person struggling with kratom abuse. The first step to one’s recovery is to undergo detox. It is the process that enables one’s body to cleanse itself from all foreign substances. Due to the possible adverse withdrawal symptoms that can present during the detox process, a teen that undergoes detox for the abuse of kratom is advised to undergo a medical detox. This added level of supervision ensures his or her safety throughout the duration of the detox process. Following detox it can be advantageous for a teen to continue his or her recovery by attending a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program. 

At Pacific Teen Treatment, we offer a residential treatment program that utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches. The treatment modalities that are used at Pacific Teen Treatment include, but are not limited to: talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive arts therapy and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Pacific Teen Treatment works with each of its residents to develop a tailored and unique treatment plan, catering specifically to each teen’s nuanced needs. We provide healthy food choices and encourage regular exercise. Taking the time to engage in mindfulness activities, such as practicing yoga and/ or meditation is also encouraged and integral to our program. Nourishing the body and providing space and time to recuperate is a life lesson that will benefit any young person, during any stage of his or her life. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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