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  #1  
Old 03-10-2010, 00:02
Code9 Code9 is offline
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Kratom as an antidepressant.

My marmot's recent experience with Kratom has sparked an interest in the subject.

I was reading a bit today and it seems that depression can be caused by a lack of opioids in the brain. A few articles here and there speculate that Kratom may be useful as an antidepressant precisely because it acts on opioid receptors.

I'm interested hearing whether anyone has successfully treated depression with Kratom. What dosage was used and at what frequency. Did the subject have to stop eventually? Did depression symptoms reoccur after stopping Kratom? Did the subject develop an addiction that he/she couldn't deal with? Was any other drug used at the same time? Finally, did it work well enough to recommend?

I'd also be interested in others who have self-medicated with Kratom to treat other psychological disorders, such as anxiety.

Note: If you currently suffer from depression, you should first see a doctor.
  #2  
Old 03-10-2010, 06:15
Dole654 Dole654 is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Sounds like a great experiment.

SWIM would love to run a little trial on himself. SWIM knows a few friends who would oblige as well. He'll let SWIY know his experimental methodology as soon as he has some sort of cash flow again.
  #3  
Old 03-10-2010, 17:19
Code9 Code9 is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

I'll be looking forward to hearing the results!
  #4  
Old 03-10-2010, 18:19
kailey_elise Gold member kailey_elise is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code9 View Post
I'm interested hearing whether anyone has successfully treated depression with Kratom. What dosage was used and at what frequency. Did the subject have to stop eventually? Did depression symptoms reoccur after stopping Kratom? Did the subject develop an addiction that he/she couldn't deal with? Was any other drug used at the same time? Finally, did it work well enough to recommend?
Substitute the word "Kratom" in the above with, say, any other opioid, and see if the questions still make sense.

I would never suggest opioid addiction as a method to treat clinical depression.

If someone is suffering with chronic depression, they will want to treat (as in medicate) themselves daily; at best this would lead to dependency, at worst addiction. Which would suck even more if Kratom was made illegal in one's area virtually overnight, as has happened with other ethnobotanicals in many places.

Depression symptoms WILL reoccur after stopping any chronic Kratom use after a period of time, in large part because opioid withdrawal ITSELF causes depressive symptoms.

Fun is fun, but opioid dependency is never a solution to mental illness, or a road to mental health, IMNSHO.

~Kailey
  #5  
Old 03-10-2010, 18:35
TheGreatParanese TheGreatParanese is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Yeah the problem will be, You are getting high. I remeber some literature, about using opiates as anti depressants. But the final verdict was,you are getting high.
and attaching a drug, to like a activity like work, sex, school. Is usually bad news in , I can only speculate the effects, of somebody trying to use it as a anti depressant, and trying to maintain constant happyness.

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Good point, chasing the high could deter from long-term solutions.
  #6  
Old 03-10-2010, 18:39
Code9 Code9 is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kailey_elise View Post
I would never suggest opioid addiction as a method to treat clinical depression.
I'd be inclined to agree with you, actually, on all of your points, although I'm trying not to pass judgment. I'm just as interested in the failures as I am in the (theoretical) potential for success.

Here's a study that can hopefully help to validate my interest:

http://www.opioids.com/antidepressant/opiates.html

But I too wouldn't recommend that anyone do this unless medically supervised.
  #7  
Old 03-10-2010, 18:55
kailey_elise Gold member kailey_elise is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

I suppose I could further this by stating, I have never heard of anyone on chronic opioid therapy that didn't eventually become ADDICTED. They're all dependent after a month or so, and some last years before the "addiction threshold", if you will, is crossed. But at some point or another, every chronic opioid user seems to cross it.

Now, some might be able to "handle" it, in the sense that, say, they get a 'script for chronic pain and can manage to get high sometimes & "suffer" and make up for it on a different day by taking less, but the point is, at some point, the drug itself starts to rule their life. Or fear of withdrawal, maybe. Not completely certain, just what I've seen.

I've read the literature on opioids as anti-depressants; my best friend even bought into it for some time. My best friend is currently on MMT (methadone maintenance treatment) and would agree even now that while the methadone is "active" (first 6-8 hours), she experiences a mood lift. That's hardly an anti-depressant, though.

~Kailey
  #8  
Old 03-10-2010, 19:04
Code9 Code9 is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Actually, I think your objections were quite clear and valid. No doubt it's the major reason why tricyclics replaced Opiates in the 1950s.
  #9  
Old 03-10-2010, 19:51
TheGreatParanese TheGreatParanese is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

I know kratom has anti depressant qualities, It's just hard to avoid getting high, without getting those effects. My fleabag friend made a res, yesterday that does not have the stimulant effects, But it does last 6-8+ hours . So maybe there is some alkaloids in there with value. I'm only talking from my friends experiences, i'am not a doctor or a chemist. It's definitely a different opiate and it has a roof, so maybe it might work.
  #10  
Old 03-10-2010, 20:37
C.D.rose C.D.rose is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant

boy, it sucks so much that threads on depression are so scattered all over the forum, this makes it incredibly difficult to follow them, as well as to get a coherent picture of non-conventional treatments out there for anyone who is looking for it. anyhow..

Quote:
Originally Posted by kailey_elise View Post
I suppose I could further this by stating, I have never heard of anyone on chronic opioid therapy that didn't eventually become ADDICTED. They're all dependent after a month or so, and some last years before the "addiction threshold", if you will, is crossed. But at some point or another, every chronic opioid user seems to cross it.

Now, some might be able to "handle" it, in the sense that, say, they get a 'script for chronic pain and can manage to get high sometimes & "suffer" and make up for it on a different day by taking less, but the point is, at some point, the drug itself starts to rule their life. Or fear of withdrawal, maybe. Not completely certain, just what I've seen.
In my opinion, and from what I have read, the answer is almost, but not exactly, as unequivocal as this.

To begin by stating the obvious, the fact that opioids bring relief to depression does not by itself mean that opioids treat depression, where treating means removing the cause of an illness. This is in a way similar to SSRIs, it appears more and more clearly that higher levels of serotonin counter the symptoms of depression, sometimes more, sometimes less effectively, but depression is not caused by low serotonin - as shows the fact that tianeptine, an SSRE (the E stands for enhancer, i.e. it speeds up serotonin reuptake), has antidepressant qualities.

However, it does appear that in some cases, the endogenous opioid system is disturbed and does not work properly. For example, the brains of depressed suicide victims have shown a significantly higher density of mu-opioid receptors (up to 9x higher than for healthy controls). Also it has been shown that ECT treatment increases endogenous opioid production. Treatment with opioids in depression is actually restricted to one, atypical opioid - buprenorphine. My friend Bobbin has had a brief correspondence with one of the American scientists who is involved in the research on the use of buprenorphine in depression - he is a professor at one of the most renowned American medical schools - and he has confirmed to him the use of buprenorphine in difficult-to-treat depression. He has achieved some spectacular results with it in patients who did not respond to either conventional antidepressants and ECT treatments. Some of these patients - all this according to him - have now spent years in remission on a stable daily of buprenorphine, usually around 3-4mg, sometimes higher. He told me that he has seen buprenorphine being abused by his patients, "but rarely". The key difference to normal consumption appears to be that, in patients who respond to this type of treatment, the drug does not produce a high or euphoria, but a sense and feeling of normalcy. When supervised and done correctly, this kind of treatment can be done, and it can work.

Bobbin, having achieved no benefits from a range of regular antidepressants, was determined to try this out. After seeing one psychiatrist after the next, with all of them rejecting the idea, he decided to pretend having developed and maintained an addiction to heroin for several months, and went to see a doctor practicing opioid substitution, to get her to prescribe him buprenorphine. Long story short, this design worked out well, he got the buprenorphine, but it had only a very short-term effect on him - it provided relief from depression for three to four days, at doses below and around 1mg, but this relief quickly disappeared. Following this, he slowly increased his daily dosage up to 9mg per day, but none of the effects ever came back. In fact, after these couple of days at the beginning, buprenorphine had no effect on him whatsoever (in terms of psychotropic medication, he did have side effects). He then decided to get off of it, and despite having taken it daily during four months, he had no problems in going from 9mg to less than 1mg in about two weeks, and then totally quitting it after another three weeks. All this is about one month ago. He has since apologized to the doctor he lied to, but she did totally understand him and was not angry.
The above story is not something that I suggest to anyone to repeat. It did not turn out to set me up for addiction, but it could easily have done so. Especially for patients in the USA: buprenorphine treatment in depression is more common over at yours, so if you want to try this, do it WITH a psychiatrist who will monitor you closely!

I digressed a little..
As for Kratom, I cannot say anything, since I don't know anyone who has extensive experience with it, or who has used it in depression. I am not familiar with its pharmacology either. In any way, I imagine treatment with it to be difficult, because it will probably underlie natural variations in strength etc., no? Plus it of course has no medical admission whatsoever. I would really, really advise others with depression to try to follow a treatment with a good psychiatrist, and there I totally agree with Kailey. If anyone does not do so though, and has experiences with Kratom, good or bad, I'd be highly interested.

cheers!
c.d.R.

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Great annecdote, thanks!
  #11  
Old 03-10-2010, 20:47
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

The discussion above is great, SWIM would like to throw a few more variables for the melting pot. The goal of treating depression with medication is to allow a person to function on a daily basis, establish positive routines, and eventually to no longer be depressed. Medication in the treatment of depression is usually used in conjunction with counseling/group. Again, the eventual goal in most cases is to have the person functioning in life without depression. In most cases there is a long tapering off period from "mood" meds, doses are gradually reduced until a person no longer needs the medication to maintain a satisfactory living situation.

While SWIM fundamentally agrees that treating depression with opiates sounds like a bad idea, would there be merit in short term treatment of depression under the supervision of a psychiatrist/counselor? (just throwing it out there, will argue against SWIM below)

When SWIM's dog Rex takes opiates he feels an elevated mood for several hours after his dose, it is difficult to separate the elevated mood from being high on an opiate however. Rex is more relaxed, more sociable, able to function better when he takes opiates. Rex mostly uses opiates to relieve his RLS symptoms (Rex has been diagnosed with chronic RLS, he gets its at least 5 times a week, for more than an hour at a time, most severe at moments of rest, right before sleep).

As mentioned above there is a certain fear of not being able to relieve discomfort which can sometimes cause Rex to feel anxious. Rex can't compare the feeling to fear of WD, as Rex has never gone through WD of anything. Rex has noticed that when his life is full of anxiety and stress he is more depressed.

Rex also mentioned a problem he thought of, whenever rex takes enough opiates to generate the elevated mood and elevated functionality, a few hours after the dose Rex finds himself in a sedated, sedentary state. While not unpleasant, rex finds this feeling to be counter productive when working to not be depressed. rex finds being active to be a great depression reliever. Rex has heard some counselors refer to reefer(cannabis) as a demotivator, while he does not agree he feels opiates may also fall into that category when being discussed by a counselor. Lastly, Rex finds that opiates (Kratom less so) suppress his appetite, and while being an overlooked part of combating depression, proper nutrition is very important.

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Good insights on opiate therapies.
  #12  
Old 04-10-2010, 21:39
Jasim Gold member Jasim is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

Clover, being a turtle he can't type, has asked me to relay his experiences with depression and kratom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover
I used tramadol heavily for several years and coming off of it I had some horrible depression. My depression was likely the result of many factors, not just the tramadol withdrawal. Kratom became a substitute for me. It did help a bit after weening off the tramadol, but mostly with other effects not depression.

Kratom does provide a mood-boost for me, but using it daily I have not noticed much of what I would call anti-depressant effects. When I'm feeling a bit more down than usual I will take a 5-htp and that along with the kratom can cheer me up a bit.


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Interesting addition to the discussion
  #13  
Old 02-11-2010, 21:58
topher topher is offline
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

SWIM would say (an opinion, not fact obviously) that Kratom could be a great short-term pseudo-anti-depressant (for certain individuals), like Xanax is for anti-anxiety relief. It's not a cure, just like SSRIs aren't a cure. It simply relieves some symptoms for a long enough period for the individual to ease back into 'normalcy.' SWIM would say short-term kratom use (6 months) along with therapy could definately be an interesting option to look into.

SWIM's close friend has used kratom for about a year and a half. The first 6 months were positive. He would only consume about 4 oz. of powdered Bali in a period of roughly 1 month. And constantly take long breaks- 2 weeks to 1 month of no use. The first week of sobriety would be a little rough, but after he would feel normal again and depression was reduced.
Unfortunately it can be abused and cause adverse effects after long periods. The following 10 months have been increasingly similar to what the depression was like before he started taking kratom. And withdrawal symptoms are much more intense now than they were during the first 6 months. This making it harder to quit due to the fear or w/d and not having it (a crutch). So now his breaks consist of only a few days at the most. It has also lost most its 'mood-lifting' properties; Not completely, but instead of having continuous 'normalcy' (more or less), he has good weeks and bad weeks. It's almost like a rollercoaster of emotions.

Currently, kratom itself may not be an acceptable candidate for relieving depression in the long-term or with certain individuals, BUT there is no doubt specific kratom alkaloids in combination with other treatments could be an option for patients in the future. But it contains the same/similar challenges and risks that buprenorphine treatment carries.

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Interesting and well articulated opinion.
  #14  
Old 10-01-2011, 18:11
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Re: Kratom as an antidepressant.

My friend has suffered from depression and anxiety from the onset of puberty and ended up on the drug path due to insufficient care from medical providers. Therapy was useless for my friend without any medication prescribed in addition to it (and it should have been obvious due to age of onset it was likely chemical in nature).

Regardless, my friend is now free of prescription medications (which he finally received many years too late) as the kratom he is taking for chronic back pain at the young age of 23 has managed to keep him in a decent mood. I don't think that my friend would recommend this at all, however. There are times when coming down from kratom that his personality will do a 180 and he will have almost overwhelming desires of violence and lose the ability to have empathy for other living beings.

I think, based on his experience, that it is silly to treat serious psychological conditions with self-medication from opiates. The last thing a depressed person needs is a drug addiction to go with it.

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Sound advice from personal experience.

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