What is Kratom? And how can it help veterans with PTSD?

Michael Anthony Blogishness, Blogishness, ptsd 8 Comments

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large leaf plant kratom ptsdPTSD and the herb Kratom

In this day and age of pharmaceutical giants peddling a new drug every week and then spending the next several decades in court over litigation related to the drug, it’s hard to trust some of these medications. However, with the growing boom of home remedies and homeopathy more and more people are turning to natural cures. While some of these remedies for pain and other issues are still illegal or require a very specific prescription, there are other options on the market to help relieve suffers. Kratom, for example, is one of these newer natural remedies.

 What is Kratom?

Kratom, is a leafy plant indigenous to parts of Southeast Asia. This plant is often used for pain relief and to reduce and assist with the withdrawal symptoms from opioids. Kratom works in a very similar fashion to morphine. While the plant is chewed recreationally it does not produce heavy psychoactive or other major side effects. Additionally Kratom use has been tied to an increase in overall mood. Typical users in Thailand have been said to start around 25 and continue through the rest of their lives.

Kratom side effects

While general use of Kratom doesn’t produce major side effects, chronic use has been known to lead to such things as:

  • constipation
  • darkening of the skin color of the face
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

Additionally the addictive properties are not fully known but reports of those who inject opioids becoming addicted to Kratom have been noted.

More studies required

Currently there is little to no studies related to Kratom as its use is only just now becoming more prevalent. To add insult to injury many countries have taken legal action in regards to Kratom despite no evidence for or against its use. It is believed that many of these countries are over-reacting due to archaic and draconian beliefs related to similar substances. There are even those that believe the regulation and overzealous reactions are tied to extensive funding from pharmaceutical entities in an attempt to continue to monopolize the health care industries. While some of these beliefs are unfounded the truth of the matter is currently Kratom, its effects and use are not fully understood by the scientific community

Kratom for PTSD

 Compared to most PTSD or other anti-anxiety drugs, Kratom shows considerable promise in the treatment and management of the condition. While, like many psychological conditions, it will not cure the user it does allow them to retain a normal life while getting treatment. Unlike typical pharmaceutical treatments that can have a range of devastating side effects from agitations, hallucinations, or even increase in suicidal thoughts, Kratom is by far a greater option. However, as mentioned further study is still required, Kratom currently tends to work far better and have lesser side effects compared to traditional treatments. Most users describe the feeling as being in the moment. The past and future become irrelevant as you only focus on the here and now. It allows you to let go of any past trauma or any future worries. You only think about what needs to be done to improve your current situation. For people with PTSD this can be like coming out of a fog on a dark, overcast day to a world full of sunlight and smiling faces.

Kratom + therapy

As mentioned Kratom does not cure psychological problems like PTSD however, it does allow its users to better work though their past traumas objectively. This allows them to better understand the core of the trauma as well as address any potential underlying issues without the inherent anxiety or fear that is often prevalent when addressing the trauma. Compared to pharmaceutical remedies that, as mentioned, can have severe side effects in addition only help to mitigate issues tied to the trauma not help deal with the drama; it’s no wonder that some people believe the pharmaceutical industry is behind the blacklisting of this herb.

Conclusion

PTSD is a complicated psychological ailment with ties to other related psychological issues such as, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. Dealing with one element of this all-consuming condition is akin to replacing the flat tires on a car with a busted engine. While pharmaceutical treatments do help mitigate some of the issues tied to PTSD they often only cover one maybe two per individual drug. In many cases people end up having to take 3 or more different drugs just to try and live some semblance of a normal life. Kratom, on the other hand deals with a lot of the issues tied to PTSD, while both causing minimal adverse effect as well as enhancing standard therapeutic treatment. Despite the misinformation campaigns and misguided anti-drug laws Kratom deserves a fair shot if for no other reason than to provide the peace of mind that all PTSD suffers long for and many cases outright deserve.

Picture: Flickr/Ahmad Fuad Morad

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About The Author
Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony is a Massachusetts based writer and veteran of the U.S. Army. After his service in the Iraq War, he earned a BA in English Literature from Bridgewater State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. He currently spends his free time with his wife and daughter, and volunteering for veteran charities.

Comments 8

  1. ZT

    If Kratom helps soldiers with ptsd but they have to take it every day in their daily tea then how is it any different than taking a pill every day to combat ptsd?

    1. Michael Anthony

      Well, I guess the theory is that it’s all natural and isn’t something that NEEDS to be taken on a regimented schedule or else you’ll have deep withdrawal symptoms. I’ve just heard about it from more than a few vets and wanted to spread the word in case in might help, but it’s definitely something to look into if you’re curious.

      1. Zachary Matheson

        Hi Michael,

        My name is Zachary Matheson and I am a consultant for our Botanical Legal Defense organization. I was hoping you could email me (press@botanicallegaldefense.org) in hopes that you might be able to assist the Botanical legal defense in a few testimonials from Veterans (with their contact email) that support the use and safety of Kratom.

        I am working on a project of finding 12 vets that use Kratom so that I may get 6 written statements on how Kratom has helped them as well as 6 video testimonies that I can put together to send to the FDA as well as the Senate. Being a veteran myself I have many fellow shipmates and soldiers that suffer from PTSD amongst other things. My question to you is do you have any emails or information on veterans that I may reach out to1? Thank you so much for your help!

        Best Regards ,

        Zachary Matheson

  2. Albert

    What we need now is not another substance that is more like an opioid. Pot works great and is working great alongside family support and a great therapist. The best option for PTSD is MDMA or shroooms. There has been a lot of good research involving terminal cancer patients and anxiety/PTSD where these substances relieve the anxiety of dying when coupled with therapy. Marijuana has eliminated multiple medications and has allowed me to sleep nightmare free and throughout the night without the fear of addiction. If you’re able to calm your mind than the pain is easier to deal with.

    1. Nicholas W. Wilson

      Albert I think you’re right that we don’t need another drug like Kratom but I don’t think that pot is the answer for ptsd either. I don’t think mushrooms or ecstasy are the right answers either. There has to be other options for a mental illness than drugs along. Therapy perhaps. Or perhaps therapy combined with marijuana though. I think listing drugs such as that or kratom as help with ptsd and not including the fact that any thing like that should be done with an appropriate therapist then we’re in trouble. Marijuana yes maybe. but only with a therapist. just simply smoking marijuana isn’t going to help someone neither will the simple act of drinking kratom or taking mushrooms or doing ecstasy. Perhaps a combination of therapy and drugs.

      Albert did you take therapy along with your Marijuana?

      Also, Albert, you said that “Marijuana has eliminated multiple medications and has allowed me to sleep nightmare free and throughout the night without the fear of addiction.” But do you worry that you might have become addicted to Marijuana?

  3. Ann Abbitz

    This sounds like it could be wonderful, IF allowed….and not just vets, but also those women who have been attacked and live daily with the memory of it. And the minimal risk far outweighs the help to alleviate the PTSD symptoms. I have friends who are from Thailand, and if my girls (God forbid) goes through anything like that, I will definitely see if I can get some of this (her parents are doctors). The pharmaceutical companies just want to not allow anything that won’t keep their wallets fat…….and that angers me to no end.

  4. lisa

    Kratom is amazing.I was on high doses of strong addictive pain medicationand anti aanxiety drugs and anti depressants that then made me so tired I need amphetamines to help me stay awake and give energy to then needing stuff for the bowel and stomach issues and then as my organs started tobe affected from the pain meds I then needed treatment and meds for that.As my blood pressure rised from the amphetamines and other meds prob I then needed to be treated for that with meds.When I was intoduced to kratom I thought they were nuts.How was a tsp of a tree leaf supposed to help all my problems.There was no way.I ended up waiting until i had a bad epasode and was taken to ER and prescribed yet more meds..I then realized I had enuff of this vicious cycle I was only feeling worse over time then i was better and what did i have to lose.Well the only thing I lost was being in debt from all the meds i had to buy and all the nasry symptoms I had from the synthetic drugs not to mention the drugs that i was perscribed to help with the side effects and damage from the first set of drugs i was given.Kratom gave me my life back.I take nothing but two tsps of kratom every 6 hrs..No high but a feeling of well being….no more livet pain…no more bowel problems..no more stomach aches or getrinf looked at like a drug addict.I felt safe having kratom in my house then all the drugs that are also being sold on the streets and with two curious teen boys in the house this was a relief.I no longer tossed and turned at night I still remeber the first 10 sleep I had and how refreshed I was making the next day easier to deal with my pain depression and anxiety.I had no withdrawl symptoms when switching off pain pills Id taken for 9 yrs over to Kratom and as the meds left my system I noticed a fog lift and the world around me seemed to come to life and also my issues were better controlled then ever before….the more the drugs left my system the better kratom worked.There is a lot to learn about Kratom as there are diff types used for diff reasons along with diff doses.More is not better…in fact you feel the effects better with the least amount…unless your looking for the sedation for sleep then u take a bit more.As lower doses give u more of the stimulant effect like a few cups of coffee.You cant overdose cuz if u take too much u will vomit ( never had this happen)But the day I had enuff of my depression I sure wish all I had was a bag of kratom because the bottle of pain pills I swallowed didn’t go over to well.I snapped inside and was not myself and reached for the first thing that seemed easy to handle and set me free………..little did i know there was a tree from the coffee family that grew in Asia that could also set me free and give my children back their mom and my husband back his wife that lived in her room 24/7 and wantednothing to do with anyone or anything.Kratom may not be for everyone and it may take time to find the best type and dose but it is worth the effort from my opinion.Kratom along with therapy saved me.It has saved many others and also saved many addicts who found themselves with addiction to the synthetic drugs that they put their trust in to help them….Kratom is being used in many addiction centers and is also being studied by big pharma as they try to make a synthetic version!!! Why?? When the natural crushed leaf works best.All I can think of is $$$$$$$$$$$$The same reason why one drug needs another to fix what the drug before caused and the next drug creates …Bless all the hero’s who fight for our country and who still are fighting daily with PTSD.I pray for all of you.I hope you find what helps the best but dont pass up on kratom like i did at first thinking it couldnt be strong enuff to work.You may be suprised.Just make sure you get it from a vendour whos facility is fda approved and has their kratom tested.Not all pkgs marked kratom are the same and if the alkloids have deteriorated for diff reasons it wont work.Google Kratom Bible for more info.Also I am part of a fb group called the Amarican Kratom Society. Good luck

    1. Eric H

      Replacing one drug with another drug is not an answer. It’s a band aid at best. Even therapy or AA is a drug though. Ever met someone who goes to AA religiously? Or who relies on their therapist to make any type of decision.

      Kratom is like a cup of tea. It’s no less or more harmful than therapy. It all depends on the person though. An addictive personality can become addicted to anything. Whether it be heroin, cocaine, therapy, AA, or even Kratom.

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