Citation: Daath. "Withdrawal Without Cravings: An Experience with Kratom (exp64531)". Erowid.org. Jul 30, 2007. erowid.org/exp/64531
During the last two months and one week I blew through approximately 1400 grams of kratom in an epic binge. I drank the tea almost daily, quite often two or even three times a day. I was perfectly aware that this was highly unwise behaviour since kratom, fairly harmless as it is, still is related to opiates and as such capable of sinking its hooks pretty deep. However, I didn't particularly care. My clinical depression has been recurring pretty heavily for some time now, and as the future or my wellbeing didn't really matter to me, my rational mind's observations about the irresponsibility of such habit remained hollow commentaries. Besides, kratom not only made me feel perfectly content and happy, it also enabled me to remain fairly productive. I think this is one of this drug's main selling points, yet also one of its most insidious sides. The addiction creeps up to you silently, without giving any hints of its existence until you quit.
I ran out of powderized leaf on Monday, drinking my last dose approximately 1400. As the effects tapered off by 1800, the clock started ticking. I knew that I was into few days of exhaustion and insomnia at the very least, but even the prospect of worse symptoms didn't scare me much. It's not like I had been using heroin, after all.
Tuesday began perfectly normally. No cravings, no ill feelings, nothing whatsoever. Around 1800, about 24 hours after the last cup, I started feeling a bit ill. I didn't pay much attention to that then, even though at the retrospect it is clear that the withdrawal was beginning. 2130 I ate a light meal, noticing that not only I didn't have any appetite whatsoever (which is perfectly normal for me), I had an aversion to food as well. I soldiered through to meal, thinking that not eating certainly wouldn't make me feel any better.
The fun started around 2200, with a massive wave of pure anxiety that appeared out of nowhere, making my heart hammer like a pneumatic drill. I began pacing around, but soon noticed that extreme fatigue was rapidly setting in. I collapsed on the bed and began some of the longest hours of my life outside psychedelic time dilation. The first wave abated somewhat few minutes later, but there remained weakness in muscles and utter tiredness coupled with nagging restlessness that prevented sleep. The meal churned in my stomach violently, and there were several moments spent with that particularly lovely brand of nausea that is utterly sickening without even promising the catharsis of vomiting. Absolutely horrid anxiety kept coming and going in waves, bringing with it restless energy that forced me to squirm around, kicking with my legs, running my hands repeatedly through my hair and so on. Needless to say, none of this brought me any relief. The sheer discomfort of being in my skin was considerable. Of course I couldn't stay comfortably warm, either. It was way too hot under the blanket, way too cold without it.
I was on a verge of panic a few times when the waves of anxiety crested, but managed to take the experience few minutes at a time and push away the thought that this might actually go on for three more days. I repeatedly told myself that the experience would be, even at the worst, very limited in duration. I also knew that my friend had one of our kratom bags still left, so next day I'd have to option of giving up if I wanted. Of course, asking eagerly for 'one last cup, eh heh', while obviously shivering and looking like shit would have been extremely embarassing and required swallowing my pride big time. Anyway, I coasted on to the best of my ability, looking at the clock now and then, noticing that each painfully long period of time had removed another half an hour of remaining experience.
Around 0100 (not very sure) I remembered that I had some valerian root extract and promptly popped 1200mg of it. This was a fairly large dose, but of course the circumstances and my generally high tolerance for tranquilizers warranted it. It took the worst edge of the anxiety and calmed me down a bit, though I still kept tossing around to about 0330 - 0400, when I finally, mercifully passed out.
I woke up about 0900, feeling a little better but obviously not particularly rested. The day was much like the night before in most regards, though I was most relieved to notice that the anxiety didn't come in quite as bad or as often now, nor did the horrible restlessness. I was very fatigued, however. I tried to play some computer games, both to pass the time and focus my attention away from how I felt, but I regularly had to pause that activity to rest on the bed when I became too dizzy. Emotionally I was constantly on the edge. Along with the anxiety itself, I experienced waves of complete desolation, sadness and loneliness. The emotional bursts were often accompanied by waves of chilling electricity traveling down my extremities. As for food, I had the same aversion as last night, but forced myself to nibble on few pastries to give my body some fuel. The nausea came back, though less intense this time.
As the afternoon approached, I decided that although I felt completely like shit, the symptoms were now at perfectly bearable level and the most sensible thing was to just continue with cold turkey. I also noticed to my surprise that the cravings were almost completely absent. Last night I had fiended for just one more cup, but mostly because it'd have made me feel normal again and allowed me to sleep. Now that I felt just bad, I didn't have that desperate need for relief. Sure, it would have been very nice to drink some of that bitter tea, to feel the liquid warmth seeping into my body and pushing away the gray fog... But I certainly didn't feel like I had to have it.
At the evening of this very long day, I rummaged around my closets and was delighted to discover that I still had some blue lotus left. I now had another tranquilizer to combine with the valerian root which, although fairly effective, has a very rapid buildup of tolerance and at least for me, is completely useless for more than two nights in a row. I had felt fear that the symptoms would build up as night approached, the same way they had done last night, but nothing like that actually happened. I became even more tired, of course, every cell screaming for sleep they couldn't get. At 2300 I brewed up some lotus tea which aided me in calming down, even if it didn't quite make me sleepy. Hour later, I ate another 1200mg of valerian and went to bed. Sleep eluded me for couple of hours, but in the end came far easier than last night.
Woke around 0930, feeling somewhat dizzy and detached, but otherwise fairly OK. The weakness returned a couple of hours later, and I spent much of this day as well in bed, but overall the symptoms were notably slighter now. There were few short periods when I felt almost normal, even though they always passed away quickly. As the evening approached, I decided to see if my emotionally vulnerable state would counteract my jadedness about horror movies, and put The Evil Dead into DVD player. Well, it did work fairly well... I was seriously creeped out, and by the end of movie, once again reduced to a shivering wreck. The image of Ash's possessed girlfriend grinning and giggling insanely stuck into my head particularly well, occasionally triggering fresh spikes of anxiety even hours later.
Brewed more lotus tea at 2300 and drank it, but didn't even bother with valerian. Once again sleep took its time in coming, but at least waiting for it wasn't such a pain anymore.
Felt pretty normal when I woke up. As I'm writing this at 1800, I'm feeling a bit tired and detached, but not particularly bad. There were no more waves of anxiety, nor weakness bad enough to force me crash on the bed. All in all, the process seems to be largely complete by now. Still no cravings.
So what did I learn from this? The withdrawal wasn't particularly awful, apart from the first night, and it was a small price to pay for all the good moments I've had with kratom. Still, there was no need to pay any price at all, so such epic binging as I indulged in should certainly be avoided in the future. Next time could easily be worse, and involve psychological addiction which certainly would make things considerably more complicated. I should do something constructive about my head so I'll again start giving a damn. Last but not least, my decision to not touch proper opiates was considerably strengthened. I doubt that I could really control my use of those substances, and I really don't want to experience their withdrawal symptoms. The little taste that I got was unpleasant enough.
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