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While new to users in the United States, kratom is a substance that is widely used worldwide. A popular substance throughout Asia, herbal products containing the substance are common in America. Despite its claims of being an energy booster and possible antidote to opioid withdrawal, kratom is a powerful drug that can be abused and cause addiction. When people become addicted to this substance and are looking to quit, they must undergo kratom withdrawal and detox.
In order to better understand the withdrawal process from kratom and kratom detox, it is important to understand what kratom is as a drug. Also, you need to know how kratom is used and what it does to your body. Additionally, you need to know kratom’s side effects and withdrawal symptoms. With this information in mind, you will be able to find the kratom detox and treatment programs that will help you or a loved one conquer kratom addiction?
What is Kratom?
The kratom tree is native to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The leaves of the kratom tree contain the chemical compounds mitragynine and 7-? -hydroxymitragynine. These compounds interact with the brain’s opioid receptors and produce sedative effects and euphoria. Additionally, these compounds also act on opioid receptors to decrease the sensations of pain.
Because of its’ potent opioid effects, users in Southeast Asia use kratom as pain reliever. If taken in higher doses, kratom’s effects are similar to potent opiates such as morphine and heroin. You can learn how to safely quit Heroin in this article.
In fact, a 2018 study done by the FDA showed there were 25 active compounds within the kratom leaf and most or all have opioid properties. Interestingly, kratom also acts on areas of the brain that produce stimulant effects. Many products that contain kratom are marketed as energy and mood enhancers in the United States.
How Can Kratom Be Used?
Kratom can be used in a variety of ways. In Southeast Asia, many users simply pluck leaves straight from the tree and chew on the leaves. Users can also dry out the leaves and infuse it in tea or coffee. When sold in the United States and elsewhere, kratom is most commonly sold in pill or capsule form. While kratom is not currently federally regulated, the potency of kratom extract found in products may not match what is listed on the label. As a result, users can experience a wide range of side effects.
What are the Side Effects of Kratom?
As stated earlier in the article, kratom can have both analgesic and stimulant effects depending on the dosage. As a result, users can experience a wide variety of side effects. Common side effects associated with kratom use include nausea, constipation, dry mouth and an elevated heart rate. Other common noted side effects include decreased appetite, constipation and an increase in aggressive behavior and/or mood.
Besides the acute side effects, kratom users can experience more serious side effects that can be life threatening. These can include the following:
- Liver damage
- Damage to the cardiovascular system
- Impaired neurological functioning
How Addictive is Kratom?
Since the active compounds found in kratom leaves are opioid-like, the possibility for people to get addicted to this substance can be substantial. Like all substances, kratom can significantly change brain chemistry and functioning. As a result, people can become dependent on this substance in order to function on a daily basis.
When you think of kratom addiction, it can be thought of as having effects in three areas: physical, behavioral and emotional. The following outlines the signs of addiction in all three areas:
Physical Signs of Kratom Addiction
The physical signs of kratom addiction can include significant weight loss over a short period of time and a gradual decline of personal hygiene. Kratom addiction may also include impaired speech, significant changes of eating habits, nausea and vomiting. Since the drug can have either analgesic or stimulant effects, those addicted to kratom may be either overly hyperactive or may be extremely underactive and lethargic.
Behavioral Signs of Kratom Addiction
The behavioral signs of kratom addition is dependent on the quantity and duration of use. Common behavioral signs of kratom abuse includes isolation from family and loved ones and being secretive about their use of the substance. Additionally, people who abuse kratom could be tardy or miss school, work or other important engagements on a regular basis.
Emotional Signs of Addiction
Those who find themselves addicted to kratom can display irritability, aggressiveness and anger if they need the drug. Additionally, people addicted to kratom show diminished interest or even a lack of interest in the activities they once loved. Those struggling with kratom addiction can also display the following behaviors:
- Rationalizing—the offering of excuses and justifications to their inappropriate behavior while under the influence.
- Blaming—blaming their problems on others to deflect attention from themselves.
- Minimizing—admitting to their problems on a superficial level, but not addressing the root causes on their addiction.
- Diversion—when pressed on their addiction and addictive behavior, addicts will change the subject and avoid discussing the topic.
When a user tries to quit kratom, they can experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the amount used and the time period which it was abused, kratom withdrawal symptoms can be extremely painful and uncomfortable to endure. The onset of withdrawal symptoms often occurs 6-12 hours after last due. The first wave of acute symptoms felt in kratom withdrawal peak around 72 hours after last use and start to dissipate after 5-7 days. The acute symptoms of kratom withdrawal often include the following:
- Wide and unpredictable mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
- Aches in the limbs and joints
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Decreased appetite
- Irritation, aggression and hostility
After a week, users will start to feel physically better—but they aren’t out of the woods. Two weeks after that last use, users will experience a second and more intense wave of symptoms. The phenomenon, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is more psychological in nature. Common symptoms associated with PAWS include:
- Poor impulse control
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Wide mood swings
- Onset of anxiety or depression
Depending of the severity of these symptoms, kratom users can experience PAWS for a month and up to year. Because of this, it is very important that users undergo medical detox and intensive treatment.
Kratom Detox and Treatment
If you or a loved one is addicted to kratom and need help, the first step in your recovery journey is undergoing kratom detox. While it may be tempting to quit “cold turkey” or find methods of self-detox, those methods do more harm than good. While you may have initial success, it will be temporary at best. Without professional intervention, the withdrawal symptoms you experience may lead you back to active use. Worse yet, kratom withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if you have underlying medical issues or are abusing other drugs along with kratom.
Professional kratom detox allows you to better tolerate withdrawal symptoms in a safe, secure and comfortable environment. If needed, experienced treatment personnel will prescribe the appropriate medications to help you gradually wean off of kratom. Along with nutritional therapy, exercise and other interventions, you will slowly regain your physical and psychological health. Additionally, treatment staff will perform a comprehensive medical and mental health evaluation to pinpoint underlying issue that can impede your recovery.
From those evaluations, treatment staff will create a customized treatment plan that will fit your specific needs. Through individual and group therapy, Medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis therapy (if needed for underlying mental health issues), 12-step support and life skills training, you will gain the tools and support to overcome your kratom addiction. You can also greatly benefit from aftercare programs such as intensive outpatient treatment and sober living. Throughout your treatment experience, staff will empower you to grow confident as a person of recovery.
If you or a loved one are ready to break the vicious cycle of kratom addiction, call us today and find out how kratom detox and treatment can benefit your health and life.
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