Kratom is a drug derived from the plant, Mitragyna speciosa, typically sold as a powder or tablet in head shops or similar stores. It isn’t yet a controlled substance under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); however, they have named it a “drug of concern” due to its potential for abuse, addiction, and negative health effects. 
In low doses, kratom can create stimulant-like effects, and in higher doses, it produces opioid-like effects like sedation. Although more research is needed, evidence has shown that it is possible for chronic kratom use to lead to dependence and subsequent kratom withdrawal. Since kratom has been labeled an “atypical opioid,” withdrawal symptoms may resemble mild to moderate opioid withdrawal.,
Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Kratom use is understudied, with no specific substance use disorder included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) related to kratom use. However, it does appear that some people experience withdrawal when they stop taking kratom, usually experiencing symptoms that would be rated from mild to moderate. ,
Potential kratom withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood
- Back and muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive yawning
- Difficulty concentrating
Kratom withdrawal symptoms are similar to those associated with opioid withdrawal, although they should generally be less severe.,
Importantly, kratom has been known to cause neonatal withdrawal symptoms in newborns. If a person taking kratom regularly is pregnant, the baby can also become physically dependent on kratom. Symptoms associated with kratom neonatal withdrawal include the following:
- Oral intolerance
How Long Does Kratom Withdrawal Take?
Kratom withdrawal is an area in need of more research, and there isn’t enough available literature to fully detail a concrete withdrawal timeline. However, a combination of anecdotal evidence and the frequent assertion that kratom functions similarly to opioids can be used to at least estimate what a kratom withdrawal timeline may look like.
If we assume kratom’s withdrawal timeline is similar to that of short-acting opioids, kratom withdrawal might look roughly like the following:,
|Time Since Last Use||Symptom Manifestation|
|6-12 hours||Kratom withdrawal symptoms emerge|
|1-3 days||Symptoms peak in intensity|
|5-7 days||Symptoms begin to improve and dissipate|
|Weeks-months||Protracted withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and dysphoria may linger|
6–12 Hours Since Last Use
If you are dependent on kratom, your withdrawal symptoms may emerge within 6-12 hours since you last used the drug. Sometimes it may take up to 24 hours to experience these withdrawal symptoms, depending on your physiology, dose, duration of use, and more.,
These symptoms often mirror the signs of opioid withdrawal, but they are not as severe. Notably, only a minority of kratom users seem to report experiencing this kind of dependence.
At the same time, these symptoms can still be serious enough that they impact a person’s health and make it difficult for them to stop using kratom. Many people may relapse to kratom use in order to stave off early withdrawal.
1-3 Days Since Last Use
Once early kratom withdrawal symptoms appear, your symptoms will start to worsen and peak in intensity between one and three days after your last use. At the peak, the worst symptoms may include diarrhea, stomach cramping, and fever. Many people compare opioid withdrawal to the flu, but it’s likely that kratom withdrawal will not be as intense. 
5-7 Days Since Last Use
Once your withdrawal symptoms peak, they will slowly start to improve between five and seven days after you quit. It may take between seven and 10 days for symptoms to fully disappear.,
Kratom Protracted Withdrawal
Protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome refers to symptoms that linger after the acute withdrawal symptoms have resolved. Protracted withdrawal is associated with many substances, including opioids, but it’s unclear whether kratom dependence results in protracted withdrawal.
Because of its close relationship to opioids, it’s possible that people who quit kratom may experience lingering symptoms for up to six months, such as:.
- Dysphoria or unease
- Kratom cravings
- Sleep disturbances
- Emotional blunting
Treatment Options for Kratom Withdrawal: Detox and Medications
Because its widespread use in the United States is a somewhat newer phenomenon, and there are significant research gaps regarding its use and properties, experts aren’t entirely sure of the best way to treat kratom addiction and withdrawal at this point. However, professional detox can provide you with the support and care you need to withdraw comfortably and safely.
Kratom detox can occur in a variety of settings, including:
- Medical detox: The most intensive form of detox, occurring in a hospital or freestanding detox center, you receive 24/7 supervision, care, and monitoring to ensure your safety during kratom withdrawal. A team of nurses and doctors care for you and can treat any symptoms and address complications that may arise.
- Residential detox: Some residential detox programs involve living at the detox facility while withdrawing from kratom but may not have medical care or staff. These settings often focus on social support throughout withdrawal and are not recommended if you have a medical condition or co-occurring mental health disorder.
- Partial hospitalization / intensive outpatient detox: You live at home while attending detox services and treatment at a facility or clinic for up to 30 hours per week. This option offers flexibiilty while still providing a high frequency of oversight.
- Standard outpatient: The least intensive option, you attend detox services for a few hours per week.
Medications for Kratom Withdrawal
There are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of kratom withdrawal or kratom addiction. However, experts have conducted some research to investigate various medications.
One 2016 case report discusses a woman who was experiencing severe symptoms reportedly associated with kratom use and had her withdrawal symptoms successfully managed with clonidine therapy and scheduled hydroxyzine.
Some early research has suggested the drug Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) has promise as part of replacement therapy for kratom-dependent users.  Intravenous clonidine and a combination of oral dihydrocodeine and lofexidine have shown promise as part of inpatient detoxification treatment. 
Despite these research gaps, it is important to talk to an addiction professional if you’re struggling to overcome kratom use or experiencing significant kratom withdrawal symptoms. They can still help you form a treatment plan and may be able to refer you to treatment providers who are experienced with dealing with kratom dependence specifically.
Implications for Future Kratom Research
These are some important questions we don’t yet have sufficient answers to regarding kratom use:
- Can kratom serve any legitimate medical purposes?
- What rate of kratom users experience significant dependence and withdrawal symptoms?
- How else does kratom affect a user’s health over time?
- What should be the diagnostic criteria of a substance use disorder associated with kratom use?
- What is the best way to treat kratom withdrawal and dependence?
For now, experts recommend being very wary about kratom use. While research has suggested it may have some legitimate medical use, it is also underregulated and underresearched. Additionally, many sellers of kratom may make unverified claims about its benefits while also downplaying or even lying about its known risks.
Since physical dependence is possible, kratom use can quickly lead to repeated use and eventually addiction. If you’re struggling with kratom addiction, reach out for help today. Our comprehensive treatment program at Boca Recovery Center can help you to leave substance misuse in your past.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kratom Withdrawal
Although you technically can withdraw and detox from kratom at home, it may provide difficult—especially if you’ve been misusing kratom for a long time and at high doses. The withdrawal symptoms may be unpleasant and distressing, causing you to want to return to kratom use to relieve them. This can create a cycle of misuse, withdrawal, and relapse that can be challenging to break.
Kratom is not FDA-approved for the treatment of opiate withdrawal; however, many people may self-medicate their opiate withdrawal symptoms with kratom due to a similar mechanism of action. That said, if you are struggling with opioid addiction, the best course of action is to seek out medical detox services in which medical professionals can help manage your withdrawal safely. Using kratom to self-treat opiate withdrawal could be dangerous.
Kratom withdrawal may last anywhere from seven to 10 days, depending on a person’s individual physiology, physical and mental health, previous withdrawal experiences, duration of use, typical kratom dose used, and beyond. ,
There is no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of kratom withdrawal; however, the best way to manage withdrawal is through a medical detox program. A team of doctors and nurses will provide 24/7 care and supervision to ensure a person’s safety and comfort throughout the process. They will also be able to refer patients to comprehensive addiction treatment once they finish kratom detox.
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- Kratom Dependence and Treatment Options: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. (2020). Current Drug Targets.
- Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
- Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. (2009). World Health Organization.
- Protracted Withdrawal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2010. Accessed August 2023.
- A Case Report of Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal. A Case Report of Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal. (February 2016). WMJ.
- Treatment of Kratom Withdrawal and Dependence With Buprenorphine/Naloxone: A Case Series and Systematic Literature Review. Weiss, S. T., & Douglas, H. E. (2021). Journal of addiction medicine, 15(2), 167–172.
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