Kratom, which known by its scientific name of Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical tree found and grown in Southeast Asia. Native farmers and laborers in Thailand, Malaysia, and other areas throughout the region for many years have used the herbal drug as a stimulant to boost their energy and stamina. However, Kratom carries a risk of dependence if abused. People who abruptly stop taking kratom after prolonged use can experience uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms known as kratom withdrawal.
The leaves of kratom can be dried and crushed, smoked, or brewed in a tea, or they can be used in capsules, tablets, and liquids, which are considered herbal supplements in the US. Kratom also comes in an extract after the leaves have been boiled over an extended period.
Kratom comes in different varieties and goes by many names. Among them are biak, thang, mitragynine extract, cratom, gratom, kakuam, kedemba, ketum, and krathom. Leaves of the tree, which can be eaten raw, are used for their medicinal and psychoactive qualities, according to Mitragyna.com.
Kratom Has No legitimate Medical Use
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration started to closely monitor kratom after noticing an increase in the number of shipments of dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredients that are kratom or contain kratom.
According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there is no legitimate medical use for kratom in the US. In August 2016, the DEA announced it had planned to add the psychoactive compounds in kratom to the list of Schedule I drugs that are banned under the Controlled Substances Act. However, as of October 2016, the agency decided to hold off on banning kratom so it could seek further input from the public and the FDA about its use.
According to the FDA, there have been concerns that kratom can cause toxicity in multiple organ systems and that consumption of it can lead to a number of health problems, including nausea and constipation. The federal agency has also linked kratom consumption to severe withdrawal signs and symptoms.
Kratom Is Sometimes Used as an Opiate Substitute
Kratom is known to induce feelings of euphoria and stimulation and other opiate-like effects, which makes it attractive to users who want to end opiate or opioid addiction. When taken at high doses, users may find it acts more like a sedative than a stimulant. Some people promote the herbal drug as a natural way to manage opiate withdrawal. However, if used for an extended period, kratom can be dangerous and addictive. Some become addicted when kratom is used daily, and they find it hard to quit once use has been established.
According to the DEA, a study of people with Thai kratom addiction found that people who chewed kratom every day for three to 30 years had developed a dependence on the substance. From the DEA’s report: “Long-term use of kratom produced anorexia, weight loss, insomnia, skin darkening, dry mouth, frequent urination, and constipation.”
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Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Regular or heavy kratom users who stop using the drug likely will go through withdrawal, an uncomfortable and taxing process. How long withdrawal lasts will vary. Factors that determine the length and intensity of symptoms include:
- Age, health, and lifestyle
- Co-occurring disorders
- DDose of kratom consumed
- Kratom tolerance
- Length of kratom use
- Whether other drugs and alcohol were used along with kratom
- Achy muscles, bones
- Changes in skin color (skin may become darker)
- Flu-like symptoms (runny nose, fever)
- Goose bumps
- Jerky limb movements
- Restless leg syndrome
- Tremors (shakiness)
- Mood swings
*If you are exhibiting serious withdrawal symptoms, such as rapid breathing, a shortness of breath, or a fast or irregular heartbeat, call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room or urgent care center immediately for medical attention. These symptoms are red flags that your situation is urgent, and you must seek help now.
Addicted to Kratom? Call Us for Help, Support Now
The DEA reports that information on the illicit use of kratom in the US is limited and that kratom use is not monitored by national drug abuse surveys given to the public. Kratom dependence and addiction are serious.
Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you or your loved one with understanding more about withdrawal and help you find a treatment center that fits your needs. Our services also can help you find a medically supervised detox that can start before your withdrawal symptoms get worse. The sooner you call us, the sooner you can start feeling better. Call us now at (855) 619-8070.
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Withdraw from Kratom has been compared to opiate withdrawal, so the timeline that applies to people withdrawing from opiates/opioids may apply. Check with a physician for specific questions and concerns. Below is a general outline of what a timeline might look like.
Symptoms can start within hours after the last dose taken.
Kratom Detox and Treatment
Kratom Withdrawal Detox: How It Works
Users with kratom withdrawal symptoms can visit a medical center to start their detox before the symptoms of withdrawal start or worsen. The length of withdrawal from will vary according to the user. The method of detox chosen is up to the physician who is treating the client. Medical professionals monitor the process while clients get the care they need.
Common Kratom Detox Medications
- Clonidine: This medication used to treat blood pressure is also prescribed to help alleviate the physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as muscle pain, cramping and excessive sweating, and psychological ones, including anxiety and agitation or restlessness.
- Naltrexone: This medication blocks opioids from acting on the brain’s receptors, which strips away the reward of achieving a drug high. It comes in pill form or as an extended-release injection. As with all drugs, naltrexone should be used with care. The initial dosage, as well as any adjustments to it, will be prescribed by the doctor.
Ending Kratom Addiction Is Just the First Step
Detoxification for withdrawal symptoms is an important process, but it’s only one part of it. After recovering users go through the medically supervised detox to end the physical part of active addiction, the next step is to follow a plan of action that helps clients address underlying issues that weren’t identified or faced when the person was in addiction. This plan also teaches clients how to change thought and behavioral patterns that can keep them free of addiction and relapse.
When the body starts the process of returning to its normal state after the drug has left its system, the mental, emotional, and psychological parts of the puzzle will have to be addressed. This process can take several months or it may take several years.
A post-detox recovery program that offers clients guidance and support can help those who need ongoing recovery support. Recovering users may also want to look for programs that provide services that teach healthy coping skills and strategies that help recovering users manage the issues that influenced them to use drugs.