Kratom is one of the newest drugs hitting the shelves in the United States. It comes from a plant in Southeast Asia and is often used as a natural pain reliever or to boost energy levels. Because it is unregulated and considered legal for purchase in most states, many young adults are taking this drug due to ease of access. However, kratom withdrawal can be just as, if not, more uncomfortable than withdrawing from other drugs. Unfortunately, there is a lack of regulation for kratom, despite the FDA’s efforts to warn people about the potential dangers of kratom use.
Withdrawing from any drug, whether it’s legal or not, can be difficult. The first few days are often the hardest, as your body adjusts to being without the drug. Kratom withdrawal can cause a number of different symptoms which should be treated with the help of a professional. Here is everything you need to know about kratom withdrawal and how to get through it.
What is Kratom?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. Kratom is not currently an illegal drug and can be purchased online or in some smoke shops. However, the FDA has issued multiple warnings about the potential dangers of this substance.
The effects of Kratom are thought to be similar to both opioids and stimulants. At low doses, kratom can cause stimulant effects including increased energy, talkativeness, and improved mood. At higher doses, it can cause opioid-like effects from other psychoactive drugs including:
Loss of inhibition
These effects are thought to be mediated by a compound in kratom leaves known as mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine that interacts with opioid receptors in the brain. Sadly, in the US and other countries, Kratom is becoming increasingly popular as a “legal high” as it is easily accessible and relatively cheap.
Kratom Use in Young Adults
Kratom use among teens and young adults is relatively common as is so accessible. Kratom can be purchased in most smoke shops or online. Another reason why it is so common amongst teens is that Kratom is often not tested for on routine drug tests, meaning they can get high without worrying about testing positive for the substance. Young adults and teenagers may view Kratom as a safer alternative to other, stronger drugs, but taking Kratom at higher doses can result in negative effects on mental health and may ultimately require addiction treatment.
One of the dangers of consuming Kratom is that when purchased in stores or online, you don’t know what you are getting because it is unregulated. More often than not, store-bought Kratom is adulterated with high concentrations of 7-OH Alkaloid and phenethylamine (PEA) to make the substance stronger. At high concentrations, these substances can be addictive and dangerous, and possibly exacerbate existing mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. They can also interact with certain antidepressants that may cause serious hormonal imbalances.
As a parent, it is important to know the dangers and signs of Kratom use and to have a conversation with your teenagers about them. If you suspect your teenager may be abusing Kratom, reach out to an addiction professional.
How is Kratom Dangerous If It’s Only a Plant?
Many people don’t understand how a plant can be dangerous. After all, we’ve been eating plants for thousands of years without any problems, and Kratom is often marketed as an “all-natural” dietary supplement. However, it’s important to remember that not all plants are created equal. Kratom leaves contain a number of different compounds, some of which can have powerful effects on the brain and body.
In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse wants against using Kratom because there is a lack of regulation surrounding the sale and use of the substance. This means that it’s impossible to know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase kratom, and the effects can vary greatly depending on the batch.
Some dangers that people have experienced include:
Harmful contaminants: Heavy metals and harmful bacteria, including salmonella, have been found in kratom products.
Overdoses: There have been reports of people overdosing on kratom, especially when it’s combined with other substances. Just like drug and alcohol interactions can occur, Kratom can also interact with other medications.
Seizures: A few people have reported having seizures after taking kratom, in addition to tremors, confusion, and liver problems.
Pregnancy Side Effects: There is not enough research to know if kratom is safe for pregnant women. However, some studies have found that it can cause miscarriages and birth defects in animals.
Why Is Kratom Addictive?
If Kratom is addictive, why are so many people using it? Surveys show that people use Kratom for several major reasons, including:
To relieve pain
To relieve muscle aches
To reduce depression
To relieve nausea
To alleviate symptoms of anxiety
To reduce or stop opioid use or substance abuse
To help reduce opiate withdrawal
For craving reduction
For pain relief
While many people think Kratom is an effective solution to these problems, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, the FDA has not approved Kratom for any medical use. Any evidence suggesting that it is effective for any of the applications listed above is mostly anecdotal and should be ignored. Please consult with a medical professional if you are not sure. Even though it is not currently
So, if Kratom isn’t an effective treatment for these conditions, why do people keep using it? The answer lies in the fact that Kratom can be addictive and has similar opioid compounds as those in other psychoactive substances.
New studies show that Kratom is addictive because of the way it interacts with opioid receptors in the brain. These interactions can lead to changes in the brain that make it difficult to stop using kratom, even if you want to.
The opioid receptors are a key part of the brain’s reward system. They are responsible for the pleasurable effects of drugs like heroin and morphine. When Kratom interacts with these receptors, it can cause similar effects to other opioids. This also means it can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can be difficult for anyone to overcome without professional help.
What are the Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal?
While Kratom has been linked with many negative side effects, it’s still not enough to deter some people from using it. However, as with any drug, regular kratom use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Kratom is widely available in online shops and smoke shops, and its easy accessibility makes it all too easy to develop an addiction.
If you or someone you know is addicted to kratom, there’s a good chance that they will experience kratom withdrawal syndrome. Because kratom acts on the body in a very similar way to opiates and opioids, kratom withdrawal feels very similar to opioid withdrawal. However, the kratom withdrawal timeline can be different for different people. Like opioid withdrawal, studies show that some of the most severe symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:
Lack of appetite
In addition to the above physical symptoms, psychological withdrawal symptoms of kratom withdrawal are characterized by:
While many people might think that the withdrawal symptoms of Kratom aren’t as severe as other opioid withdrawal symptoms, in Thailand, around 2% of all admissions for drug addiction were for Kratom. However, this number is likely to be higher in other countries where Kratom use is more common. These statistics go to show how debilitating and unpleasant the physical symptoms of Kratom can be, and how difficult quitting Kratom can be.
How Long After Stopping Kratom Will the Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
The length of time that Kratom withdrawal symptoms last will depend on a few different factors, including:
How long you’ve been taking Kratom
The dose you were taking
How often you were taking it
Whether you were taking other drugs at the same time.
However, in general, the Kratom withdrawal timeline is as follows:
People who stopped using Kratom had symptoms of withdrawal develop within 12 to 48 hours of their last dose. During this time, they may experience intense cravings for the drug, as well as a range of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms (listed above).
The good news is that most Kratom withdrawal symptoms will peak within 3 to 4 days and should start to subside after that.
However, some people may experience lingering effects for weeks or even months after they stop taking the drug.
Does Kratom Withdrawal Hurt?
The same survey that detailed what withdrawal symptoms felt like for users also asked how much pain those symptoms caused. The most common response was a 2 to 3 on a 5 pain scale, meaning that severe withdrawal symptoms are common.
While Kratom withdrawal is not usually considered to be life-threatening, it can still be very uncomfortable and even dangerous. In addition, many people might resort to using Kratom again to ease their withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to a cycle of addiction.
If you or someone you know is addicted to Kratom, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. There are many treatment options available, and the sooner you get started on the road to recovery, the better.
How To Begin Kratom Detox
Like other drugs, the first step in overcoming a Kratom addiction and starting your addiction recovery is to detox from the drug. Some people may try to detox from Kratom on their own, but this is usually not recommended. The withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to cope with, and without medical supervision, there’s a risk of relapse.
If you’re considering detoxing from Kratom, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you make a plan that’s right for you and provide guidance and support throughout the process. In addition, attending a medical detoxification center can help to make the process safer and more comfortable.
What is Medical Detoxification?
At a detox center, you’ll be monitored around the clock by medical professionals who can provide support and assistance if needed. In addition, you’ll have access to treatments that can help to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and make the detoxification process as smooth as possible.
Medical detoxification is usually the first step in a larger treatment plan for Kratom addiction. After you’ve completed rehab, you’ll likely be transferred to a residential treatment program where you can receive further care and support.
Engaging in addiction treatment from Kratom can help you learn how to cope with pain, opioid addiction, and other mental health disorders that could contribute to your drug dependence. It can also help you build a foundation for long-term recovery from addiction.
Experience Freedom From Kratom Withdrawal Today
If you or someone you know is addicted to Kratom or other opioid drugs, don’t wait to get help. At Clear Behavioral Health, we’re proud to offer a wide range of substance use disorder treatment services, including medical detox, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. We want to help you gain the emotional support and coping skills you need to overcome your mental illness or addiction issues.
We can help you detox from Kratom and other drugs in a safe and comfortable setting. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey to recovery.