As the war on opioids rages on in the United States, finding help for opioid dependence, or addiction, has become paramount.
There are widely known treatments that are meant to help someone through opiate and opioid withdrawal. But there are treatments and other substances that are used and taken to ease withdrawal symptoms. Kratom is one of them.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) put kratom on its Drugs of Concern list. The list contains substances not currently regulated by the Controlled Substances Act but may cause risks to people who abuse them are registered.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that kratom took nearly 100 lives through overdose from July 2016 to December 2017.
The American Kratom Association reports that there are almost 5 million kratom users in the country, despite some states banning it. The substance has not been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Administration (FDA).
Some who have used it to relieve some of the uncomfortable and sometimes painful opioid withdrawal symptoms swear by it. Like most substances, people using kratom can experience dependency and tolerance withdrawal.
Read more to find out what kratom withdrawal will be like, how long it might last, and what to possibly expect.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an actual tree native to Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian natives have used kratom leaves for centuries. Workers in that region used kratom leaves to boost stamina and reduce fatigue. Some Southeast Asian countries now outlaw its use.
There are two compounds in kratom: mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine, which interact with opioid receptors in the brain. This produces feelings of sedation and euphoria while generating the feeling of decreased pain.
The mitragynine component also interacts with other receptors in the brain to set off stimulant effects.
Kratom can be ingested in several ways. Most often, its dark green leaves can be either dried, crushed or in powder form, according to Healthline. The leaves can be used to make a tea, also.
People use kratom for different reasons, such as to relieve chronic pain or ease digestive problems. They also use it for opioid withdrawal.
Recreationally, kratom is abused for its sedative and euphoric-inducing properties. Kratom users have reported sensations such as giddiness, increased sociability, and reduced motor coordination.
A few grams of kratom are enough for someone to feel sedative-like qualities. Also, people who use kratom regularly or are addicted to it chew the leaves between three to 10 times per day, as stated by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
There are concerning side effects of kratom that should not be ignored. Among them are:
People who become dependent on or addicted to kratom might feel these withdrawal symptoms when they stop using kratom. Withdrawal occurs when the substance leaves the body after becoming used to it.
Several factors determine how a person experiences the withdrawal symptoms from kratom. These are:
Keeping these factors in mind, the general timeline for kratom withdrawal looks like this:
Treatment for substance abuse begins with medical detox. After going through that step of addiction treatment, the person will graduate into the other steps of addiction care, which are either a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
These programs bridge addiction treatment from detox to residential or outpatient therapy programs, which include behavioral therapy. This entails a variety of approaches with the goal of changing negative thoughts and behaviors. Beneficial approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have proven to treat the root causes of addiction, putting the person on the road to a successful recovery.
The therapies are offered in a residential treatment or outpatient program setting. If kratom is abused with other substances, or your case is diagnosed as severe, you may be recommended for residential treatment services. This type of program will allow the person to live in the facility and receive treatment full-time. Residential programs provide clients around-the-clock care. It also provides a distraction-free environment so the person can focus on healing.
Outpatient treatment is recommended for people with milder cases of kratom dependence or addiction. Outpatient programs offer clients therapy and care while allowing them to live independently.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is kratom?. April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom
US Drug Enforcement Administration. Kratom. What is it? from https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/kratom
Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom Detected — 27 States, July 2016–December 2017. Weekly, April 12, 2019 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6814a2.htm
US Food and Drug Administration. FDA and Kratom.9.11.19 from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-kratom
Drugs.com. Kratom. L. Anderson, PharmD. February 21, 2018 from https://www.drugs.com/illicit/kratom.html
healthline.Kratom: Is It Safe? from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-kratom-safe
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) drug profile from http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/kratom
verywellmind.comHow Long Does Withdrawal From Kratom Last. Corinne O’Keefe Osborn. August 06, 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/kratom-withdrawal-4586322