Many people in the United States had not heard of kratom before 2010. In the last decade, kratom has grown in popularity. However, we know very little about this substance. In addition to potential poisoning and addiction, users may experience kratom withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely unpleasant.
What is Kratom?
Kratom comes from the mitragyna speciosa tree, a evergreen that is found in the tropics of Southeast Asia. It is closely related to the coffee plant, and is found in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia. It’s been used as a part of traditional medicine in Asia for centuries, as it has opioid properts and stimulating effects.
There really is no scientific evidence to prove it is safe or effective to use. One reason people use it is to come off opioids, although no independent research is yet to find that kratom is an effective way to come off opioids. Furthermore, kratom can be dangerous. According to one study, poisoning from kratom increased tenfold from 2010 to 2015. It also is physically addictive, and cessation of use often results in withdrawal symptoms.
Like any addictive substance, it can be difficult to quit using kratom. Although an individual may recognize it is causing them harm, the addictive nature makes it hard to give up. Stopping self destructive behaviors isn’t always as simple as just simply stopping. With drugs like kratom, it can be useful to have professional support, guidance, and care.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Symptoms of kratom withdrawal may vary from individual. Generally speaking, the symptoms of withdrawal look very similar to opioid withdrawal. This is because kratom acts on the same pathways in the brain. Factors that may influence withdrawal syptoms include:
- Length of use
- Frequency of use
- Dosage when using
- Presence of mental health disorders
- Addiction or abuse of other drugs/substances
- Age, sex, and body weight
Although the symptoms will vary, individuals can expect to experience the base set of symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating and fevering
- Restlessness, anxiety, and irritation
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Yawning and excessive sleepiness during the day
- Stomach pain and digestive issues
- Shaking and tremors
In addition to these symptoms, those who have used more kratom or for longer periods may experience additional ones. They may have muscle aches and pains, anxiety attacks, and a general weakness. Cravings are of course common as well.
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Kratom withdrawal is again very similar to opioid withdrawal in the timeline. The individual’s pattern of abuse will definitely impact the timeline. The stages of kratom withdrawal are acute, intermediary, and post-acute.
This is the first stage of kratom withdrawal. Acute withdrawal begins within 12 hours of the last dose, and can continue for up to a week or so. During this period, the physical symptoms of withdrawal are at their most intense. The psychological/mental symptoms may also peak during this time.
Intermediary withdrawal generally starts around a week after the last use. It starts when the individual starts feeling even slightly better. Anxiety, cravings, and fatigue are most common during this time. The person may feel better, but definitely is not at 100%. This usually lasts for 3-5 days after acute withdrawal.
An individual may also experience post-acute withdrawal, or PAWS. PAWS is the lingering effect of coming off drugs, often experienced by opioid users. PAWS may last for weeks, months, or even years, and generally consists of much milder symptoms. Generally, you may find support in programs like SMART Recovery or AA during this time to support you.
Finding Help to Quit Kratom
There are many types of life coaches. One type that may be especially beneficial for someone struggling with kratom addiction or withdrawal is a recovery coach. You may also reach out to a qualified therapist.