Recognizing Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

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Kratom, derived from the plant Mitragyna speciosa [1], is a herb indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries in Southeast Asia. It has been used by people in that part of the world for hundreds of years to manage pain, cough, hypertension, and diarrhea. It also helps to stave off tiredness, with manual laborers using it as a stimulant to counteract work fatigue. In recent decades, the herb has made its way worldwide via internet sales as an alternative to opioids for pain relief, and awareness of addiction and kratom withdrawal is becoming more necessary.

While still used by many for medicinal purposes, it has also begun to be used for recreational purposes due to its psychoactive properties. Some individuals also report using Kratom to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with other drugs – specifically, opioids. It is commonly marketed in tablet or powder form as a dietary supplement, or sold as incense. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that “People who use kratom report both stimulant-like effects (increased energy, alertness, and rapid heart rate) and effects that are similar to opioids and sedatives (relaxation, pain relief, and confusion).”

Join Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, as we discover more about withdrawing from Kratom.


Why Withdraw From Kratom?

Several factors suggest that Kratom can pose health issues. These include concerns about the addictive potential of the drug, because the main kratom compounds – mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine - partially activate the same receptors in the brain as other drugs with known addictive properties.

There are also concerns over the toxicity of kratom in the human body – which in rare instances has led to seizures, hepatotoxicity, coma, lung injury, kidney injury, and cardiotoxicity.

Currently, Kratom is illegal in many countries, including Thailand, South Korea, and Australia, as well as several states in the US. However, it remains legal or uncontrolled in other places and can be easily obtained via the Internet. Because Kratom is a fairly new drug in the Western World and fewer studies have been done on it compared to other drugs, there is still much ambiguity surrounding it. This in turn poses a challenge for policymakers and health providers, which is exacerbated by rapid changes in legislation, diverse branding, and poor quality control.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

Kratom withdrawals typically include:

  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Hostility
  • Mood swings
  • High energy levels
  • Irritability
  • Limb movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Kratom withdrawal Insomnia
  • Blurry vision
  • Kratom cravings
  • Spasms

Kratom Withdrawal Timeline

The length and time that kratom withdrawal symptoms last vary based on the dose and length of the addict’s kratom use. A typical kratom withdrawal timeline when coming off kratom will look as follows:

  1. The first 12 hours: Anxiety, increased depression, and flu-like symptoms.
  2. Days 1-3: Symptoms peak during days 1-3. The body craves the drug and the risk of relapse is high.
  3. Days 4-7: The most severe symptoms will alleviate and cravings will pass.

A drug’s half-life correlates to its withdrawal timeline and symptoms. To learn more about kratom half-life read our online resource here.

How To Treat Kratom Withdrawal

What happens when a person needs to begin detoxing from Kratom? When a user of Kratom consults with a professional for the first time, the professional will first need to gather information about the user’s experience to gain a clearer picture of how it all started, where they are now, and what the next steps getting off kratom might be. The assessment involves the following considerations:

  1. Amount of drug use and changes over time – this is to determine the amount consumed per dose and the total amount consumed per day. A user increasing the amount taken per dose or per day over time suggests an increased tolerance to the drug.
  2. Frequency – this is to determine the dosing interval (i.e., the number of days per week or per month the drug is used) and average daily use. Increasing the frequency of drug usage is consistent with tolerance and could indicate physical dependence.
  3. Duration of use – this is the time since the first-ever use of the drug and the duration of the current episode of use. An extended duration of use is associated with an increased risk of harm and dependence.
  4. Route of use – Traditionally, kratom leaves were chewed, brewed into tea, or used in cooking. Today it’s ground up in pills or crushed and smoked like tobacco or marijuana. Knowing the route of usage will help identify associated risks.
  5. Drug interactions, i.e. Consumption in combination with other substances (especially alcohol and prescribed drugs). Both additive and synergistic effects are observed if Kratom is used together with benzodiazepines, barbiturates, alcohol, opioids, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and other CNS-active drugs. Knowing the types of other substances taken, their function, and their consequences is extremely important. This will help identify risks related to intoxication, toxicological harms, and behavioral changes.
  6. Function – mood state sought or enhanced through using Kratom. This will help identify clues to underlying psychopathology or the existence of physical dependence.
  7. Risk behaviors related to intoxication (for example, sex, driving, violence) – this will help to determine whether the use of the drug is in isolation or public places, and if the latter, then what the consequences are.
  8. Major perceived health concerns (including worsening of underlying conditions of physical or mental health) – this is for the user to describe the psychological, physical, relationship, and behavioral consequences of Kratom. Identifying the risks related to using Kratom can serve as a basis for the professional to advise on harm reduction, motivational interventions, referral guidance, and monitoring.
  9. Attempts to control or reduce misuse – this helps to determine whether the patient tried to stop and how many days they spent recently without use. It helps to identify loss of control, compulsive use, and withdrawal discomfort.
  10. Withdrawal discomfort on cessation of use – this is to determine psychological and physical consequences after marked reduction or cessation of use, as well as identify the existence of high-risk withdrawal symptoms (such as delirium and seizures). Understanding and addressing what helps Kratom withdrawal become essential elements in mitigating potential withdrawal challenges and ensuring a more informed approach to cessation.

These questions will be discussed between the user and the professional to help manage their Kratom withdrawal symptoms effectively. They can be useful to the individual in helping them to think in depth about their drug habits, bringing the nature of their addiction clearer to the front of their mind.

Quitting Kratom

If you are a user seeking Kratom withdrawal, Avenues Recovery are here to help you. Offering drug detox facilities around the USA, our professional staff have all been down the road of addiction and are here to support you in your journey toward recovery, step by step. Contact us to hear more about how we can best aid in your sobriety - there is a sober future ahead.


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