Kratom, a commonly used recreational psychoactive drug, is typically found in herbal supplements. In 2020, an estimated 15 million people in the United States ingested Kratom in some form, including powder or capsules, as it does not require a prescription and produces effects similar to opioids. The drug has several strains with varying physical effects. Depending on which strain an individual ingests and how often, it can lead to drug addiction.
Once addicted, a person will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using the drug. The Kratom withdrawal process can be unpleasant and, although rare, even life-threatening. Below you can find a timeline of withdrawal, symptoms of a Kratom withdrawal, and an explanation of how to stop using Kratom safely.
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Like most drug addiction withdrawals, a Kratom withdrawal experience will vary depending on the level of use, the biology of the user, and if other addictions or drug use are in play. Mental health issues, such as chronic stress or unresolved trauma, can also impact the withdrawal timeline.
Based on research, the typical timeline of Kratom withdrawal involved symptoms starting to appear within 12 to 48 hours of the individual stopping use. It’s typical for the symptoms to last anywhere from 1 to 3 days, although in severe cases they can last for over three days and even up to a week.
Due to Kratom being under-researched, there is not yet enough information to give a clear scientific picture of its effects and withdrawals. However, because Kratom is so similar to opioids, it is common to compare the withdrawal process of both.
Like opioids, a Kratom withdrawal begins presenting symptoms around 12 hours after the last use of Kratom. These symptoms can include high anxiety, excessive sweating, and a fever, usually escalating over the course of the day. The following days typically involve other symptoms beginning, such as insomnia, muscle pain, stomach pain, more anxiety, tremors, depression, and an intense craving for Kratom. During the last few days, the symptoms slowly stop, although a slight tremor may remain for a time.
After this intense withdrawal phase, also referred to as the acute phase, an individual may experience ongoing mild physical symptoms. However, psychological symptoms and the desire to use Kratom again, sometimes due to the ill symptoms being gone, are more present during this time. It is crucial to have a support system and seek treatment, as the chance of relapse is high.
Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Although varying from person to person, due to biological and other factors, Kratom withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant. They are similar to opioids and, when not treated correctly, can lead to relapse, severe illness, and even death. A professional detox facility is the best course of action when experiencing symptoms related to Kratom withdrawal.
Typical symptoms of a Kratom withdrawal include:
- Abdominal pain, including cramping
- Loss of appetite
- Watery eyes
- Muscle, joint, and bone pain
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Mood swings
- Craving for Kratom
Kratom Overdose and Detox
A study in 2019 found that over the course of 7 years, 11 deaths in the United States were due to Kratom misuse, and only 2 of those cases were from Kratom alone. However, this does not mean Kratom use is not severely dangerous. When used with other drugs, such as opioids or alcohol, the risk of overdose increases significantly. Additionally, although the rate of death is low, addiction and withdrawal symptoms are much more common.
Suffering through a Kratom withdrawal at home and alone is not recommended. The temptation to power through at home with pain medications and just quitting cold turkey is dangerous. Even if the symptoms of the withdrawal seem mild at first, other complications can arise that require medical care. Plus, since the risk of relapse is so high, the presence of medical attention is essential and can help alleviate the withdrawal process immensely.
The best way to treat a Kratom withdrawal is through a professional detox center. Simply defined as removing toxins from the body, a monitored detox will slowly wean an individual’s body off the substance. This process is also referred to as tapering. At a detox center, their goal is to rebalance the addicted person’s brain by slowly taking them off the substance. After detox, addiction treatment is strongly recommended to prevent relapse.
More on Kratom
As noted several times, while research on Kratom is ongoing, its effects remain largely unknown. Currently, the effects of Kratom on the body are similar to opioids, but are still being understood and seem to be dose-specific, along with which strain is being used. Although the DSM-5, the text healthcare professionals use to diagnose substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, doesn’t have a specific diagnosis for Kratom use as of today, NIDA is researching to see to what extent people who use Kratom could experience substance use disorder symptoms.
Due to the limited knowledge and effects similar to other addictive drugs, Kratom should not be used lightly. When mixed with other known addictive drugs, it is especially dangerous.
A Kratom withdrawal is frightening and often requires professional medical treatment, including treatment. If you have questions or are ready to start your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Contact our skilled addiction and mental health professionals at Emerge Healing Center to learn more about our treatment and program options.