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Derived from the leaves of the tropical Mitragyna Speciosa, Kratom is both grown and cultivated throughout Southeast Asia. Containing several powerful alkaloids, it can give mood-altering, pain-relieving, and stimulating effects on the brain.

As a natural supplement, many people think this is a safe way to manage the symptoms of many conditions, but those who try it often realize how dangerous Kratom capsules are. Not only are there unpleasant side effects, but there is also a fairly high likelihood of becoming dependent or addicted. In addition, long-term use and the build-up of a tolerance to the drug can make it exceptionally hard to quit.

The unfortunate truth is that Kratom’s popularity is growing, especially amongst young people. The good news is that if you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction or dependence on Kratom, you are not alone. Getting clean and staying clean is attainable with a good support system.

What Are Kratom Capsules?

Kratom, also known as krypton, thang, Kakuam, Ketum, and Thom, is made from a Southeast Asian tropical evergreen tree from the Rubiaceae family. The plant is turned into Kratom capsules that can be sold in most states throughout the U.S.

The rate of Kratom use has steadily risen in the United States over the past few years. While it is a relatively new drug here in the Western hemisphere, Kratom has been utilized in Asia for centuries. There are several positive and enjoyable effects, such as increased energy, relaxation, pain relief, and improved mood. It is a very appealing drug because of its effects. The downside is that, while it is natural, there are negatives such as dependence, addiction, and, eventually, withdrawals.

According to the FDA, Kratom capsules activate the same area of the brain activated by opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers. It contains more than 20 alkaloids, many of which have pain-relieving properties. One of the main ones is alkaloid mitragynine, a kappa-opioid receptor about 13 times more potent than morphine.

Because it acts as an opiate, Kratom capsules are commonly used to ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawals, as well as to treat pain. However, as with other opiates, there is a high likelihood of becoming dependent. Luckily, many treatment centers are experienced in helping people through their detox and withdrawals.

Kratom Capsules Side-Effects

The side effects that each individual will feel vary greatly. Kratom is an unusual drug with depressant and stimulant effects, depending on the dosage consumed. Stimulant effects are common with smaller doses, including boosted physical energy, more social behavior, increased alertness, and talkativeness. In larger doses, depressant effects are more likely.

The most common side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Sedation

It is commonly reported that consumers experience lessened anxiety and fatigue, sharpened focus, pain relief, and relief of withdrawal symptoms. Other users utilize kratom as a fever reducer, anti-inflammatory, local anesthetic, antidiarrheal, and lower blood sugar. There are even individuals that reported enhanced sexual function. However, these are all anecdotal and have not been clinically proven.

Many opioid addicts avoid severe withdrawals by using kratom capsules to get through detox. Unfortunately, the FDA has noted several deaths directly linked to kratom use. Many of these deaths are due to kratom being mixed with other drugs, but one was in an individual with no history of opioid use besides kratom.

Mixing drugs is never a smart plan. The way drugs interact with each other is unpredictable. What was “safe” for you one day may be the exact combination that lands you in the hospital or worse. It’s best to avoid kratom capsules and never to mix them with anything, even over-the-counter medications.

What Withdrawal From Kratom Capsules Looks Like

When kratom capsules are taken in larger amounts and for a long time, the withdrawal symptoms will be much more severe.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Cramping
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Restless legs
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Watering eyes

The withdrawal symptoms generally appear within 12 to 48 hours following your last dose of kratom capsules. Most people go through withdrawals for about 3 days. Many heavy users have a more challenging detox. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can happen to anyone that is detoxing. The symptoms include insomnia, depression, and anxiety that come in waves. Some folks feel back to normal after a few weeks; others experience PAWS for months before returning to their old selves.

How to Get Help if Addicted to Kratom Capsules

When you realize that you have a problem and that it’s time to stop taking kratom capsules, there are a couple of routes you can take. Some people quit cold turkey, while others wean themselves off it. Either way, it never hurts to reach out and talk to local addiction specialists or behavioral health services professionals in your area to help you through this tough time.

Weaning or tapering is a process that involves cutting down your dosage over a few weeks until you are finally going without kratom capsules. This gentle strategy works for many individuals, while others prefer to quit cold turkey so they can be done and over with the withdrawals. However, this is generally not the most effective way to ensure long-term recovery, as it can be hard to avoid using other drugs without a support system.

You can get clean if you or a loved one are addicted to kratom capsules. There are many ways to get through the withdrawals and detox. First, you can talk to your doctor. Your doctor wants you to be healthy, so reaching out and asking for help to get through detox can make things much easier. Next, getting help at a professional rehab facility that can ease the transition from using drugs to sobriety may be most beneficial to long-term recovery success. Detoxing this way is most beneficial for someone seeking lifelong recovery.

If you are struggling with addiction and seeking treatment options in New York, Ascendant is here to help. Reach out today to learn more.

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Sources:

  1. FDA. Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the agency’s scientific evidence on the presence of opioid compounds in kratom, underscoring its potential for abuse. FDA. Published February 6, 2018. Accessed August 30, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-agencys-scientific-evidence-presence-opioid-compounds
  2. Gershman K, Timm K, Frank M, et al. Deaths in Colorado Attributed to Kratom. N Engl J Med. 2019;380(1):97-98. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1811055
  3. Santos-Longhurst A. Kratom Withdrawal: What You Can Expect. Healthline. Published May 28, 2020. Accessed August 30, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/kratom-withdrawal

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Epiphany Wellness, The Heights Treatment, Infinite Recovery, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed August 30, 2022