What Is Kratom?: Effects, Withdrawal, & Treatment
Kratom, a substance experiencing a rise in misuse, is not regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, although certain states have their own restrictions against its possession and use. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not authorized any medicinal applications for kratom, and DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has identified it as a substance of concern.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom drug comes from the Mitragyna speciosa plant and is often sold in tablets, powders, or as a dietary supplement. In recent years, FDA has taken action to seize and destroy kratom and products containing it, advising consumers to avoid anything labeled with kratom. This is due to its potential toxicity, which in rare cases can cause seizures, as well as its demonstrable risk of abuse.
The impact of kratom varies greatly depending on factors like the amount used, its concentration, the method of consumption, and any pre-existing health conditions. Smaller doses of kratom may produce stimulant effects, boosting energy and alertness, while larger doses can lead to sedative, opioid-like effects, and even psychotic symptoms.
The effects of kratom usually begin within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion. Kratom side effects can last several hours, depending on the dose and individual metabolism.
At lower doses, kratom acts as a stimulant, causing people to feel more energetic, alert, and sociable. These effects of kratom can be helpful for combating fatigue and enhancing productivity in daily tasks.
In higher doses, kratom produces sedative effects similar to opioids, leading to feelings of relaxation, pain relief, and euphoria.
Physical effects of kratom include nausea, constipation, and in some cases, more severe reactions like seizures or liver damage, particularly with prolonged use.
Kratom can also have psychological effects, including mood enhancement and a sense of well-being. That said, it may also cause more negative mental states like anxiety and agitation in some people.
Regular use of kratom can lead to the development of physical dependence, associated with the presentation of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. Withdrawal symptoms can include muscle aches, irritability, and mood swings, reflecting its opioid-like properties.
The effects of kratom can vary widely based on the strain, dosage, and individual characteristics, making its impact somewhat unpredictable.
Kratom withdrawal happens when a person starts experiencing physical and mental symptoms after they stop using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms from kratom typically emerge 12 to 48 hours after the last use. These symptoms usually last from 1 to 3 days, but research indicates that some people experience withdrawal for a week or more.
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms of kratom include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle pains
Here is how a typical kratom withdrawal timeline looks:
- First 12 hours: Individuals may experience anxiety, depression, and symptoms similar to the flu.
- Days 1 to 3: This is when withdrawal symptoms normally peak, and the likelihood of relapse is greatest.
- Days 4 to 7: The more intense withdrawal symptoms start to fade, and the detox process usually concludes.
Treatment for Kratom Withdrawal
Managing kratom withdrawal can be challenging, but there are many treatments available that can help ease symptoms and assist individuals during their recovery journeys.
Treatment for kratom withdrawal is most effective under medical supervision. Healthcare professionals can monitor symptoms and provide necessary care, ensuring a safer and more comfortable withdrawal process. During detoxification, the substance is eliminated from the body. This process should be gradual and carefully managed to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Common withdrawal symptoms from kratom include muscle aches, insomnia, irritability, and mood swings. These can be managed through medications, supportive care, hydration, and rest.
Counseling or therapy can be beneficial during withdrawal and ongoing recovery, helping people address the psychological aspects of kratom addiction and develop coping strategies for cravings and potential relapse. Talk therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) can also be effective, imparting skills like coping techniques, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance, all invaluable in ongoing recovery from kratom addiction
Participation in support groups can provide emotional support and a sense of community, which are valuable for long-term recovery and relapse prevention.
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, can aid in the recovery process and improve overall well-being.
An effective long-term aftercare plan might include ongoing therapy, support group meetings, and strategies for dealing with triggers and stressors.
What does kratom do?
Kratom acts as a stimulant in low doses, boosting energy and alertness. At higher doses, kratom triggers sedative effects, reducing pain and inducing euphoria.
Is kratom safe?
There is no consensus on the safety of kratom. The substance may cause side effects like nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. Beyond this, there is limited research on the long-term effects of kratom.
Can you overdose on kratom?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on kratom. Kratom overdose can trigger adverse outcomes like hallucinations. Kratom deaths may occur from seizures.
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