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Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms, Signs and Detox Timeline

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

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If you or a loved one takes kratom, you may be worried about stopping the drug. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, kratom is a “drug of concern” with addictive potential. As such, it is important to prepare for kratom withdrawal and detox. Fortunately, recovery is possible, especially when you detox in a medically supervised setting.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is an herb that is native to Southeast Asia. Kratom’s leaves have been traditionally used because of their stimulant effects to counter tiredness, work longer hours and relieve pain. More recently, kratom has been used recreationally in Western countries due to its lack of regulations and easy availability over the Internet.

What Does Kratom Do?

Kratom’s leaves contain alkaloids with psychotropic properties. Among these alkaloids, mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine are responsible for most of the plant’s mind-altering effects. Mitragynine has stimulant effects at low doses but has opioid-like properties at higher doses. This effect is because mitragynine binds to receptors for neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine to produce stimulant effects at low doses. In contrast, at higher doses, it binds to opioid receptors to produce analgesic and sedative effects.

Dangers of Kratom Withdrawal

Long-term use of kratom can result in physical dependence on the drug. Abstinence from kratom use leads to withdrawal symptoms in long-term users that are generally unpleasant and may lead to a setback.

The symptoms of kratom withdrawal are similar to those of opioids. Although opioid withdrawal is generally not life-threatening, the symptoms are very unpleasant. However, in very rare cases, withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting may lead to severe dehydration. This can cause complications, which may be fatal in some cases.

Treatment at a medical detox can help the person cope with the adverse symptoms of kratom withdrawal.

Symptoms of Kratom Withdrawal

Consistent with the opioid-like properties of kratom, many symptoms of kratom withdrawal are like those of other opioids. Long-term kratom use leads to physical dependence on the drug. This results in changes in the brain in response to regular use, and abstinence from drug use results in withdrawal symptoms.

The physiological symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:

  • Body aches
  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tremors
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Hyperthermia (high body temperature) or fever

Some of the psychological symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization, or feeling detached from your thoughts or body
  • Derealization, or a feeling that the world around you is not real
  • Aggression and hostility
  • Drug cravings

How Long Does Kratom Stay In Your System?

How long kratom lasts in the body may vary according to how long it was used and the person’s physiological characteristics (i.e., metabolism). A study of people who used kratom for a week reported a half-life of one day. Animal studies conducted in rats show that a single dose of kratom has a half-life of 4–10 hours. However, traces of mitragynine may remain detectable until 10–14 days after stopping drug use. This prolonged duration of kratom in the body may be due to the absorption and accumulation of kratom by tissues like the liver.

Kratom Withdrawal Timeline

The symptoms of kratom withdrawal appear within hours of stopping the drug. These symptoms can last about three to four days. Sleep disturbances and drug cravings may persist, however.

Factors Impacting Kratom Withdrawal

Many factors can impact your kratom withdrawal. Some factors can make kratom withdrawal last longer or be more severe. For this reason, it is important to know the factors that influence detox.

  • Drug use history: Long-term kratom use at high doses can result in tolerance to the drug, meaning you need larger amounts of the drug to create the same effects you had at first. This can lead to a longer withdrawal.
  • Individual physiology: Your physiology and metabolism and factors such as age, genes and overall health can determine the duration of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Severity of dependence: The severity of drug dependence and the amount and frequency of drug use can impact the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Polysubstance abuse: Taking kratom with other substances can also result in more severe withdrawal symptoms that may last longer. 

Kratom Detox

The symptoms due to kratom withdrawal, like those due to other opioids, are very unpleasant and often described as similar to a very bad flu. These unpleasant symptoms can lead to a relapse, and detox at home is not recommended. Pharmacological treatments provided by medical professionals can help ease these withdrawal symptoms. Treatment at an inpatient medical detox can provide the necessary care to cope with kratom withdrawal symptoms.

Medically Assisted Detox

Medical detox involves round-the-clock care from trained medical staff to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Medications like clonidine and lofexidine may be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms if medically appropriate. Medications may also be used to manage anxiety symptoms, and analgesics may treat symptoms like muscle cramps.

Detoxing at Home

Although kratom withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, detox at home is not recommended due to the unpleasantness of withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to relapse. 

If you try a home detox, drinking plenty of fluids is recommended to prevent dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea and excessive sweating. Vitamins and mineral supplements may also be helpful if recommended by your doctor. Engaging in exercise, yoga or meditation may aid relaxation and help take your mind off the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. A support person should be around the person detoxing since serious adverse effects, although rare, may occur. The support person must immediately call 911 in such a scenario.

Tapering off Kratom

Stropping kratom use all at once or drastically reducing the dose can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. The severity, along with the unpleasantness of withdrawal symptoms, can lead to a relapse. It is advisable not to quit cold turkey but to gradually lower, or “taper,” the use of kratom to make the withdrawal symptoms more manageable.

Kratom for Opioid Withdrawal

Kratom may also be used by those with addiction as a form of self-medication to cope with the withdrawal symptoms due to abstinence from other opioids.

Finding a Kratom Detox Center 

It is important to remember that medical detox is only the first step in treating kratom addiction. Medical detox only involves removing the drug from the system, and subsequent treatment in a rehab is essential to address the issues underlying the drug abuse. Seeking advice from a medical professional is important, as choosing a medical detox center may be difficult, with many facilities providing similar forms of treatment.

The medical detox center should provide personalized care and scientifically supported treatment delivered by well-trained, experienced staff. Some treatment centers may provide medical detox and rehab at the same facility. Treatment for substance use disorders can be expensive, and ensuring that treatment at a particular facility is covered under one’s insurance plan is helpful.

Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to speak with a Recovery Advocate about how professional addiction treatment can address a substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health disorders. Take the first step toward a healthier future; call today.


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