Overcoming Kratom Dependence with Support
Table of Contents
- Overcoming Kratom Dependence with Support
- Is Kratom Addictive?
- How Does Kratom Affect the Body?
- How is Kratom Used?
- How Can Kratom Be Misleading?
- What are the Symptoms of Kratom Use?
- What are the Potential Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal?
- Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
- What are the Dangers of Kratom Withdrawal?
- How Can I Manage Kratom Withdrawals?
- Additional Ways of Managing Kratom Withdrawal
- When To Seek Professional Help for Kratom Withdrawal?
- Kratom Dependence Can Be Beaten
- Kratom Treatment Options Nationwide: Found Here
- Best Ways To Overcome Kratom Withdrawal (FAQ)
Having been used for centuries in the Far East, kratom has recently begun to establish a presence within the West. This substance is popularly used as a supplement for mood enhancement, energy-boosting, and managing severe pain or other physical discomforts, and has even been used in aiding opioid withdrawal.
In low doses, kratom can produce a stimulant effect, with some individuals claiming that it fights fatigue. When taken in higher doses, kratom has a similar effect to opioids. It can act as a sedative, causing euphoria, pain relief, and a “dreamlike” state. And if used regularly, the drug can result in very acute forms of kratom withdrawal.
Keep reading to find out ways of getting effective treatment for kratom dependence and combating these symptoms!
Is Kratom Addictive?
While currently not considered illegal, the DEA has classified this substance as a drug of concern. This means that it has the potential to be addictive, and individuals who consume it or other opioid compounds are warned that it could have adverse physiological and behavioral effects.
Thus, regular usage of this substance can lead to the development of a dependency on this drug. While this substance may be appealing to individuals as a “natural alternative” to other prescription drugs, they can quickly develop habits of kratom misuse.
The Difference Between Dependence and Addiction
There is a distinct difference between the terms dependence and addiction. Someone with a drug dependence has developed an adaptation within their body’s chemistry to the regular consumption of a specific substance. In the case of kratom use, dependent individuals may find it impossible to function properly without this drug.
Addiction, however, occurs when someone seeks out a substance regardless of the impact using it would have on their life. This behavior indicates someone who has a condition that prevents them from thinking clearly about their decisions. Dependence and addiction, while different, still go hand in hand.
How Does Kratom Affect the Body?
Kratom has been found to affect the same opioid receptors in the brain as other substances such as morphine and fentanyl, two highly addictive (and dangerous) drugs. This interaction with the central nervous system is predominantly what causes this drug’s addiction risk.
Furthermore, research suggests that the ways in which kratom interacts with the body and its opioid-like effects can vary based on several factors, including:
- Amount taken
- Method of consumption
- Simultaneous use of other substances
- Underlying medical conditions
- The previous history of using this substance
How is Kratom Used?
Traditionally, kratom can be used either by chewing its leaves, brewing its powder form into tea, or using it for cooking. Today, it is more commonly distributed in pill form, or crushed and smoked like tobacco or marijuana. Perhaps most popular among those who take it regularly are concentrated versions of kratom. These highly potent forms of the substance are much stronger as well as holding a greater potential for dependence and addiction.
While kratom use can occur in ways that may make this drug seem more wholesome, it is important to remember that it can lead to the development of substance abuse problems. While commonly used as a dietary supplement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several statements warning individuals against using Kratom, especially when combined with other drugs.
How Can Kratom Be Misleading?
Perhaps one of the most misleading ways in which kratom is presented is through its ability to treat an opioid use disorder. As it is not a controlled substance, it is readily available for anyone who may be interested in trying it. Unfortunately, this means that opioid-dependent individuals may begin to use this substance as a means of self-medicating their opiate withdrawal, rather than seeking out professional medical treatment.
Because kratom has the potential to be addictive, attempting to use this drug as a means of treating mental disorders or another addiction to opioid drugs may just cause individuals to substitute one form of substance abuse for another. Or, they may end up developing two separate forms of addiction.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have any approved uses of kratom listed, whether as a dietary supplement or treatment for opioid use disorders. When it comes to managing opioid withdrawal, individuals should always undergo a detox process under the supervision of medical professionals, as this particular form of addiction withdrawal can become fatal if not handled correctly.
What are the Symptoms of Kratom Use?
As with any form of drug abuse, kratom can produce a number of side effects as a result of its usage. Like other psychoactive substances, kratom affects the brain. While most of its effects are considered to be relatively mild (although uncomfortable), this drug can cause more severe symptoms. Some of the most common negative side effects of kratom can include:
- Decreased mood and apathy
- Lower levels of energy
- Sexual dysfunction
In extreme cases, individuals who use kratom can experience severe symptoms such as:
- Mental and neurological symptoms, including confusion, tremors, and seizures
- Severe depression with possible suicidal ideation
- Heart and lung problems, such as high blood pressure and slow breathing.
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea and vomiting, or damage caused to the liver
What are the Potential Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal?
When someone takes kratom, this substance will alter their brain chemistry. Over time, as a person becomes dependent, this can result in irreparable changes. Because of its direct interaction with opioid receptors, kratom withdrawal symptoms may follow a similar pattern to withdrawal experienced with other drugs.
Kratom withdrawal symptoms can vary in nature and severity. Some of the most commonly experienced physical effects, however, may include:
- Jerky movements
- Runny nose
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Hot flashes and sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
In addition to these, an individual may display a variety of psychological symptoms as well, including:
- Mood swings
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Kratom withdrawal is still a largely unstudied phenomenon. However, there is some information available about what withdrawal from this substance looks like.
Kratom withdrawal symptoms have been found to be similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. This similarity stems from how closely this substance resembles opioids in the way that it interacts with the brain.
These withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere between four to seven days, depending on the amount or intensity of use. A question many people may ask themselves is, how long does Kratom withdrawal last? When discussing the timeline in which kratom withdrawal symptoms may appear, this can be broken down as such:
Hours 0 to 24:
During the first twelve hours of withdrawal, individuals may experience more moderate withdrawal symptoms. This may include an increase in their anxiety levels or excessive perspiration. After the first twelve hours, muscle, joint, and bone pain may begin, often accompanied by visual distortion and nausea. Individuals may also develop a fever, and kratom cravings may begin.
Hours 24 to 72:
Over the next few days, individuals may suffer from more severe withdrawal symptoms. This may include severe depression and anxiety. Cravings may intensify, becoming a significant concern for the person. Impaired coordination, shaking, insomnia, muscle pain, a lack of appetite, and other physical discomforts may all also develop. However, the person’s fever may begin to dissipate over this period as well.
Beyond 72 Hours:
Muscle pain will begin to diminish, along with joint and bone pain. Any nausea or stomach discomfort may persist for a few more days but should begin to gradually subside as well. A mild tremor may stay for some period; however, after the first two weeks, most of the symptoms should have ceased. Psychological withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and cravings may continue for an unspecified amount of time.
The first weeks of withdrawal following an individual’s last dose of kratom will typically be the period where they are most at risk of relapse. This is why individuals with drug and alcohol dependence in any form are recommended to seek kratom addiction treatment, rather than attempt to overcome their substance use disorder on their own.
What are the Dangers of Kratom Withdrawal?
For those who experience kratom withdrawal, these withdrawal symptoms can feel overwhelming at times. However, while certainly uncomfortable, they are not considered to be lethal, unlike the most extreme cases of opioid withdrawals.
Of course, particularly with the psychological symptoms and cravings, this drug can be quite difficult to stop using for many people. While it is not necessarily common to develop an addiction to kratom, individuals who frequently use this substance in higher doses do face this risk.
Withdrawal symptoms may vary based on how long the person has been dependent on the substance. Furthermore, individuals who have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders may be less equipped to experience withdrawal symptoms, further increasing their chances of relapse.
How Can I Manage Kratom Withdrawals?
While going through kratom withdrawal does not pose the risk of being lethal, it is nonetheless an extremely uncomfortable experience for many. This is why individuals who are looking to overcome a kratom dependency are strongly encouraged to seek out addiction treatment options.
Particularly for those with a mental health disorder, receiving treatment with regular supervision from medical professionals can greatly improve their chances of a successful recovery. When it comes to withdrawing from substances that can have particularly intense side effects, it is generally recommended that individuals seek out medical detox treatment.
Generally recommended to those overcoming alcohol or opioid addiction, a medical detox process is one of the safest means of clearing a drug out of one’s system. When it comes to addiction recovery, this treatment process will typically include constant medical supervision, a personalized diet (along with nutritional supplements), and medications to treat moderate or severe withdrawal symptoms.
Additional Ways of Managing Kratom Withdrawal
Aside from undergoing medical detoxification or any other treatment program, there are several ways in which individuals can improve their chances of successfully overcoming a substance use disorder. This may include:
- Staying Hydrated. Vomiting, excessive sweating, or diarrhea due to withdrawal can cause individuals to quickly become dehydrated. Ensuring that the person stays hydrated helps keep their body functioning through the withdrawal process.
- Eating Regularly. With nausea and abdominal discomfort that can often occur from withdrawal, it can be difficult to maintain a regular, nutritious diet. However, receiving essential nutrients is essential for a successful recovery. Small, frequent meals consisting of simple foods may be best in these situations.
- Using Antiemetics. Drugs such as Gravol or Dramamine can help ease vomiting and nausea. Even remedies like candied ginger or ginger tea can help to relieve nausea. Soothing these stomach issues can make the process of withdrawal easier to bear over the long term.
- Getting Enough Rest. Sufficient rest is required for a successful recovery. Engaging in relaxation techniques or using controlled medications to help combat insomnia may be beneficial in difficult recovery cases.
- Using Relaxation Techniques. Deep breathing exercises and meditative techniques can be particularly helpful in relaxing a person’s mental state. This settling of the mind can be helpful for cognitive symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, as well as help individuals cope with stressful environmental factors during their recovery process.
- Distracting The Mind. The most significant obstacle to successful withdrawal and detoxification from kratom is a person’s mental state. The brain is what convinces the body that it needs the substance. Individuals may consider using books, movies, or other forms of entertainment to occupy their minds.
When To Seek Professional Help for Kratom Withdrawal?
When it comes to kratom, it may be possible to deal with a person’s withdrawal on their own. However, seeking out medical supervision during this process can be beneficial for managing the more intense psychological and physical symptoms that may occur during withdrawal.
Furthermore, if a person is dependent on more than one substance, medical intervention may be necessary for a successful recovery. Seeking out medical advice and supervision during this withdrawal process may be beneficial in several ways, including:
- Effectively reducing the intake of kratom over time, successfully weaning the person off the drug, and making withdrawal symptoms less intense as a result.
- Finding a medically-assisted detox program and engaging in effective treatment transition, such as from an inpatient treatment program to an outpatient treatment program.
- Professional assistance in addressing underlying behavioral health issues that may be contributing to an individual’s addiction(s), and finding treatment options for them.
If kratom is being used to manage other medical or mental health issues, your doctor or pain physician may offer an alternative. Getting over kratom addiction and dependence can be a more straightforward process with a trained medical professional’s assistance.
Kratom Dependence Can Be Beaten
While kratom withdrawal symptoms can be particularly intense and may make quitting kratom feel impossible for many, this form of addiction is beatable. With the right emotional support groups and healthy coping mechanisms in place, individuals can overcome their kratom dependency.
Furthermore, seeking out professional help in treating addiction in any form will always significantly improve these recovery chances. The Find Addiction Rehabs team can help you find a treatment center and recovery resources today!
Kratom Treatment Options Nationwide: Found Here
Addiction is a difficult and aggressive disease, often impacting not just the addicted individual, but the people who care about them as well. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, know that you are not alone and help is available.
Here at Find Addiction Rehabs, our team is dedicated to finding addiction treatment options that can best serve your personal care needs. We can help verify your health insurance and understand what levels of care are covered under your plan.
Whether connecting you with a detox program or inpatient treatment facilities that fit your withdrawal process, our hotline is available 24/7 to provide you with the support you need. Make the right choice and call us today, so that we can help get you started on a path to living clean and sober!
Best Ways To Overcome Kratom Withdrawal (FAQ)
How is Kratom Dangerous?
According to the FDA, kratom can lead to death from respiratory depression — when breathing slows down too much — because it contains compounds that act like opioids in the brain. These compounds can also cause liver damage in some, including those genetically predisposed to having more severe reactions than others.
Is Kratom a Controlled Substance?
As recently as October 2016, the DEA announced that it intended to play Kratom in the “controlled substance” category. However, after significant backlash from lobbyists and Kratom advocates pushing against this move, the DEA withdrew its intent, citing that there needed to be further research to determine the legitimacy of the arguments in favor of Kratom remaining an uncontrolled substance.
Can You Overdose On Kratom?
In high doses, Kratom can be toxic. However, the active ingredients in Kratom typically do not cause serious side effects when used occasionally. Although Kratom is not considered a highly addictive substance, many people have experienced becoming dependent on it. If you are taking it regularly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.
Charles F. has been an active part of the Florida recovery community for over 5 years. He began as a behavioral health technician at an addiction treatment facility in Ocala, Florida and has since begun training as a Licensed Addiction and Chemical Dependency counselor in Boca Raton. Charles’ passion involves the promotion of recovery and helping spread the hope of recovery to as many readers as possible!