Kratom abuse has increased in recent years as it has gained popularity as a recreational drug. People can buy kratom legally in stores, and some shops sell a range of kratom items, including infused beverages and edibles. It is often sold as a dietary supplement. More than 2 million people are estimated to have tried kratom in 2019.

Although kratom is not a controlled substance according to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) classification and has no medicinal purposes under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is considered a substance of concern because it can be habit-forming and addictive.

People who abuse kratom regularly and abruptly stop using it may experience withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. In this article, you will learn what kratom withdrawal is like, how long it lasts, and how the withdrawal symptoms can be managed.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, primarily in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom leaves have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to alleviate pain, boost energy, and improve mood.

The active compounds in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects similar to opioids but with different mechanisms and generally milder effects. Depending on the dose, kratom can act as a stimulant or a sedative. In low doses, it has a mild stimulant effect, but in high doses, it acts more like an opioid.

In extremely high doses, kratom can produce psychotic symptoms.

Common side effects of kratom include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Headache

Since kratom produces similar effects as opioids, it is often abused by people who struggle with opioid addiction and try to quit using opioids. However, these individuals often find themselves dependent on kratom if they switch from opioids.

Kratom is consumed in various forms, including chewing the leaves, brewing them into tea, or grinding them into a powder and ingesting it. It’s also available in capsules and extracts. However, it’s important to note that kratom can be addictive and has potential long-term risks, including dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and adverse effects on health.

While death from kratom abuse is extremely rare, it is associated with severe adverse health problems, including liver problems.

Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal

Kratom withdrawal can occur in individuals who take kratom on a daily or near-daily basis and significantly reduce or stop their use. After regular use, the body relies on kratom to function normally–known as kratom dependency. Abruptly stopping the use of kratom can result in several unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms.

Kratom withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Twitching or involuntary jerking movements
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Body aches
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Cravings

Kratom withdrawal is generally not life-threatening, but it can be difficult to overcome. People with a substance use disorder can always benefit from seeking medical detox and professional addiction treatment.

How Long Does Kratom Withdrawal Last?

The duration of kratom withdrawal can vary from one person to another depending on several factors, including:

  • Length of kratom use
  • Frequency of kratom use
  • Using kratom with other substances
  • Route of administration
  • Potency of kratom
  • Level of drug tolerance
  • Overall health and metabolism
  • Age, weight, gender
  • Co-occurring physical or mental health issues

For most people, acute symptoms begin within 48 hours after the last dose, peak around 72 hours, and begin to subside after 5-6 days. In total, kratom withdrawal lasts about 7-10 days.

Breaking Down the Kratom Withdrawal Timeline

Kratom users may experience different withdrawal timelines based on how heavily they used the substance and individual physiological health factors. However, most people experience the following:

1-2 Days

Symptoms of kratom withdrawal will likely appear within 48 hours after the last dose. Early symptoms include anxiety, runny nose, sweating, depression, and cravings.

3-4 Days

Withdrawal symptoms typically peak 3-4 days after the last dose. Peak symptoms include severe cravings, abdominal cramps, gastrointestinal issues, and difficulty sleeping.

5-10 Days

After symptoms peak, they gradually fade over 5-10 days. Heavy kratom users may experience symptoms longer. Even after peak withdrawal, some psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression may persist, so the risk of relapsing is still high.

Detox Treatment for Kratom Dependence

While opioid withdrawal is typically treated using medications, there aren’t any medications approved by the FDA specifically to treat kratom withdrawal. Instead, treatment for kratom withdrawal typically involves a combination of medical supervision, supportive care, and psychological support. The goal is to minimize the risk of relapse and keep individuals as comfortable as possible.

Here’s an overview of the typical detox process:

  • Medical assessment – Before starting detox, individuals undergo a thorough medical assessment. Medical professionals evaluate their overall health, the extent of kratom dependence, and any co-occurring medical or psychiatric conditions.
  • Tapering – In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend a gradual reduction in kratom dosage (tapering) to minimize withdrawal symptoms and discomfort. Tapering schedules are personalized based on individual needs and may involve gradually decreasing kratom intake over days or weeks.
  • Medication – Certain medications may be prescribed to manage specific withdrawal symptoms associated with kratom dependence. For example, medications to alleviate nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle aches may be used as needed.
  • Supportive care – Patients undergoing kratom detox receive supportive care to address physical and emotional needs during the withdrawal process. This may include hydration, nutrition support, rest, and relaxation techniques.
  • Psychological support – Behavioral therapy and counseling are integral components of kratom detox treatment. Therapy sessions aim to address underlying psychological factors contributing to kratom dependence, teach coping strategies, and help individuals develop healthier ways of managing stress and cravings.
  • Monitoring and follow-up – Throughout the detox process, patients are closely monitored for any complications or setbacks. After completing detox, individuals may be referred to ongoing therapy, support groups, or outpatient treatment programs to maintain sobriety and prevent relapse.
  • Holistic approaches – Some detox programs may incorporate holistic approaches such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and nutritional counseling to support overall wellness and recovery.

It’s important to note that detox alone may not be sufficient for long-term recovery from kratom dependence. Comprehensive treatment programs that address the underlying factors contributing to substance use, provide ongoing support, and teach relapse prevention skills are often recommended for sustained recovery.

Can I Detox From Kratom at Home?

Detoxing from kratom at home can be challenging and may not be appropriate for everyone. People with severe kratom dependence, high daily doses, or a history of complex substance use may benefit from detoxing in a medical setting. Severe withdrawal symptoms can be distressing and potentially dangerous without proper medical supervision.

Drug detox centers can provide the supportive setting and medical care individuals need to be successful during detox.

Find a Drug Detox Center Near You

At First Step Behavioral Health, we offer safe and effective outpatient detox programs that allow you to detox under medical supervision while remaining in the comfort of your home. Our programs enable clients to detox without taking time away from their work, education, or family obligations.

With an intimate setting and a dedication to patient care, you can rest assured that you or your loved one is receiving the highest quality of care possible. To learn more about our drug detox program in Pompano Beach or to speak with an admission counselor about starting treatment, please contact us today.

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