What Are the Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal?
Kratom is often promoted as an all-natural dietary supplement, sedative, stimulant, or pain-reliever. Some people even try to use it to overcome opioid addiction. Because of the way kratom is marketed, many people assume that is completely safe to use. However, research shows that it can be dangerous and one of the risks is addiction.
If you or someone you know has become addicted to kratom, it is important that you seek help from an addiction treatment professional. In this article, we’ll discuss what kratom is, how it affects the brain, and what happens during kratom withdrawal.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom leaves have been used medicinally and ceremonially since at least the 19th century. The kratom tree or Mitragyna speciosa is part of the coffee family and it is native to Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Philippines.
In these countries, kratom was consumed by chewing fresh leaves or using the dry, powdered leaves in tea. However, kratom is now readily available online in several forms including powder, capsules, tablets, and liquids.
Common Types of Kratom
There are three main types of kratom and they are characterized by the color of the veins in the leaves. Red vein kratom is arguably the most popular. It has sedative properties and people often use it for pain relief, anxiety, and sleep issues.
The effects of red vein kratom are similar to those of opioids. This type of kratom is the least potent. However, there is a strain known as Maeng Da which is strong and has longer-lasting effects.
White vein kratom is pretty much the opposite of red vein kratom. It is highly potent and highly stimulating. Some people use it as an alternative to caffeine since it increases energy, alertness, and focus. White vein kratom can be used to combat drowsiness and fatigue.
Meanwhile, green vein kratom is something of a middle ground. Like white vein kratom, it is considered a stimulant but its effects are more subtle.
Therefore, it is used as a mild energy booster and it is still said to increase mental clarity, focus, and endurance. Green kratom also has some of the pain-relieving properties of its red counterpart but it does not result in sedation.
What Are the Effects of Kratom?
The effects of kratom depend on both the vein used and the amount. In low doses, kratom can act as a stimulant while larger doses can cause sedation, euphoria, and a dream-like state in some people.
Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, interact with the opioid receptors in the brain. This means kratom targets the same parts of the brain that respond to morphine, fentanyl, heroin, and other opioids.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that regular kratom use can result in dependence and addiction. A person who is addicted to kratom will experience withdrawal symptoms that are similar to those associated with opioid withdrawal.
When a person uses kratom for a long time, the brain essentially gets accustomed to its presence, and this diminishes its effects. When the individual stops using the drug, withdrawal symptoms can kick in. These symptoms can be difficult to manage without professional help
Even when a person is not withdrawing from kratom, they may experience negative or side effects including:
- Delusional thoughts
- Aggressive or combative behavior
- Nausea and vomiting
A person who is addicted to kratom may also experience weight loss, persistent cravings, and a loss of libido.
Risks and Dangers of Kratom
Despite its reputation as a safe and natural alternative treatment, kratom is risky. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of using kratom.
It is possible to overdose on kratom, contrary to what many people believe. In most cases, taking too much kratom won’t lead to death Most cases of deaths involving kratom also involved the use of other substances. However, there have been reported cases of fatalities where kratom was the only drug involved.
Kratom may cause some serious side effects when used with prescribed drugs. There are reports of dangerous or deadly interactions with a number of drugs and drug combinations including:
- Paxil and Lamictal
- Adderall and Seroquel
- Celexa, Lamictal, and Zimovane
You should always talk to your doctor before you any substance, even if it’s marketed as safe
Even when kratom is used on its own, it can damage vital organs including the brain, kidneys, liver, and heart. Possible risks include:
- Drug-induced liver injury. This covers a wide range of acute liver damage.
- Intrahepatic cholestasis. This is a form of acute liver damage resulting from a blockage or backup of bile in the liver. It mainly occurs during pregnancy.
- Tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures. These are characterized by strong muscle contractions and loss of consciousness.
- Tachycardia. This is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.
There have been confirmed reports of kratom being contaminated. In 2018, it was implicated in a multi-state salmonella outbreak in which more than 199 infections were reported in 41 states.
More than 70 people ended up in the hospital and the Food & Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control traced the outbreak to contaminated kratom tablets, tea, and powder.
Several companies that sold kratom issued voluntary recalls. Then, the FDA ordered a mandatory recall of kratom products supplied by Triangle Pharmanaturals LLC.
Kratom as an Opiate Withdrawal Tool
People have started using kratom to stop taking heroin and other opioids. However, any claim that this is effective is anecdotal only and there are no medical or scientific studies to support it.
Therefore, addiction treatment professionals don’t recommend that people use kratom in this way and they warn that substituting opioids with kratom may cause more harm than good.
Kratom is a weaker opioid receptor stimulator than opioids. Therefore, a person who is addicted to opioids will have to take a lot of kratom to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Taking large amounts of kratom can be dangerous.
While kratom produces similar effects to opioids and may reduce withdrawal symptoms, it is possible that the individual can become addicted to kratom instead. Instead of overcoming addiction, they would be swapping one addiction for another.
When kratom becomes the problem, evidence-based addiction treatment is a must. The process will start with detox and the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Common Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
You may be asking “how bad is kratom withdrawal?”. People who are addicted to kratom or dependent on it may experience both physical and psychological symptoms.
Physical kratom withdrawal symptoms include:
- Dilated pupils
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Sweating and hot flashes
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
- Jerky movements
- Muscle aches
- Decreased appetite
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
Meanwhile, psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Mood changes
People who use kratom heavily and regularly may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which is characterized by waves of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These symptoms come and go over several weeks or months before they subside.
Kratom withdrawal symptoms can be severe. That’s why it’s highly recommended that people who are dependent on kratom participate in a supervised medical detox program. You shouldn’t attempt to undergo kratom detox at home.
A Typical Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Not everyone who is withdrawing from kratom will have the same experience. The amount of kratom a person took and how long they used it will help to determine when the onset of symptoms occurs and how long those symptoms last. However, symptoms usually start within 12 to 24 hours of the last dose and last from three to seven days.
The first 12-hour period is usually characterized by depression, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms. Symptoms tend to peak between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose and this is when individuals are at the highest risk of relapsing.
On days 4 to 7, the most severe symptoms start to go away but mild physical symptoms may remain. After a week, some people still experience some of the less severe symptoms along with psychological symptoms including kratom cravings.
Seeking Treatment for Kratom Dependence and Addiction
Even though kratom doesn’t get the same attention as opioids, alcohol, and other substances, dependence and addiction must be taken seriously. You should never stop using kratom abruptly since the adverse effects may be more intense.
Withdrawal is safer and more comfortable under the supervision of addiction specialists and other medical professionals.
Kratom detox is the first step in overcoming addiction. You’ll stop taking kratom and allow your body to eliminate all the toxins. While this process is necessary for recovery, it can be difficult. When you’re surrounded by medical professionals, you won’t undergo cold-turkey kratom detox.
Instead, your dosage will be gradually tapered off to minimize cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. There are three main stages of a kratom detox program: evaluation, stabilization, and transition.
Once you make the decision to enter a treatment program, you will have to undergo an evaluation. This will include a review of your medical history and current health, blood tests, screening for physical disorders and mental conditions, and a risk assessment. These are all aimed at providing you with the correct treatment and recovery plan.
After you’ve been evaluated by a professional, you will enter the stabilization phase. Medical supervision is important as you detox because the symptoms can be quite similar to those of opioid withdrawal. This means there’s a risk of severe vomiting and dehydration.
Depending on the type of symptoms you experience and the severity, you may be prescribed medication to make you more comfortable.
Remember, detox is just the start. It helps to address physical dependence but you’ll still need to manage the psychological components of dependence.
Therefore, after you complete the detox process, the treatment team will recommend some form of rehab based on the severity of your condition and your personal circumstances. Some people need intensive inpatient rehab while others may be better suited for partial hospitalization or outpatient treatment.
Benefits of Medical Detoxification for Kratom
Medical detox is highly beneficial. No one really knows what they will experience during detox and withdrawal. When you’re supervised by professionals around the clock, you’ll have access to medical and psychological support to not just keep you comfortable but also treat you if complications develop. Their assistance can also help you to stay the course and resist the urge to use kratom again.
Medically supervised kratom detox is associated with greater patient safety and lower rates of relapse. If your try to detox at home, the withdrawal symptoms may be too much to bear and you may give in to the desire to relapse.
Even if you manage not to use any more kratom, you won’t have constant access to professionals who can provide you with medication if the symptoms become unbearable.
You also won’t benefit from a diagnosis of any other mental and physical health issues that you may have. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than half of the individuals with substance use disorders also have severe mental or behavioral health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or borderline personality disorder.
When you undergo medical detox, you’ll receive a treatment plan that addresses both your kratom abuse issues and any other conditions you have. This helps to ensure that you get the most out of the treatment process.
Treatment for Kratom Addiction
Recovery from any substance use disorder requires long-term care. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to achieve sobriety if they get ongoing treatment. This doesn’t mean that they stay in a facility forever but rather, they benefit from a continuum of care that gradually reduces in intensity.
Individuals may enter inpatient treatment right after detox and then progress through partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient care, and aftercare. However, the process isn’t always linear and people may step up or step down to different levels of care as need
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, long-term kratom use can lead to insomnia, anorexia, and weight loss. If kratom is combined with other addictive substances, it can result in additional health problems.
Furthermore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says kratom misuse is linked to severe mental illness that requires inpatient psychiatric care. in a psychiatric hospital. Given that the effects of kratom abuse can be long-lasting, the treatment also needs to run for some time.
Substance abuse treatment also seeks to get to the root cause of addiction and address underlying factors such as trauma, grief, and chronic stress. There are many different types of therapy and counseling that can be used in addiction treatment and each facility and therapist may offer something slightly different. Certain interventions may also be better for some patients than others.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective options. It helps individuals to identify the cause of their substance abuse and then change their thought patterns and behaviors.
Most people in recovery participate in individual, family, and group therapy. Aftercare support may also include 12-Step programs and other types of peer support. Building relationships with other people in recovery helps to ensure long-term sobriety.
Get the Professional Treatment You Deserve!
You may have started taking kratom to help you relax or give you the energy you needed to get through the day. Maybe you wanted an alternative way to manage chronic pain or you thought kratom would help you kick your opioid addiction. No matter how you got started, you need to seek treatment if you’re now finding it difficult to control your kratom use.
Our team of professionals is here to help. The Discovery House is a luxury addiction treatment facility in Southern California. We provide a safe and comfortable environment in which you can undergo kratom withdrawal and detox.
We can also treat you for any other substance abuse problem you may have. We are ideally located to serve residents of Westlake, Ventura, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, and Woodland Hills but we accept individuals from anywhere in the country.
We have a counselor for every three clients, and we customize our treatment programs to match each person’s needs. If you are ready to begin the journey towards recovery, contact us today to talk to one of our specialists or use the contact form on our website. We will gladly verify your insurance and answer all your questions.