Kava Addiction & Abuse

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Kava Addiction

Many of you are probably scratching your head, wondering what Kava is. This is not a drug but a natural herb that is increasingly being misused. Because it is an herb, the use of Kava is not scrutinized as an illicit drug. When you stop using it, many users have trouble with Kava rebound anxiety, causing them to relapse.

What is Kava?

Kava’s taxonomic name is Piper methysticum. This broadleaf evergreen plant is native to Polynesia, Australia, Vanuatu, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Hawaii, and Asia. Indigenous tribes of these countries and the modern-day population use Kava for medicinal and ritual purposes. The Kava plant is harvested for its roots where the active compound is found.

The ritual drink of Kava goes back as far as 3,000 years to the small island of Vanuatu. Kava migrated to different regions of the world through trade.

Other Names of Kava

  • Kava Kava
  • Kawa
  • Waka
  • Lewena
  • Yaqona
  • Grog
  • Sakau
  • Awa
  • Ava
  • Wati

Kava’s psychoactive effects make it a celebrated drink present at ceremonial and social events in the South Pacific regions of the world. The supplement industry around the globe has leveraged the euphoric and sedating effects that Kava produces. The FDA here in the U.S. regulates dietary supplements as food, not drugs. The lack of regulating Kava as a drug leaves it vulnerable to misuse.

Kavalactones are six psychoactive compounds present in the root of the Kava plant. It is these compounds that produce the different side effects of Kava use. Receptors in our central nervous system interpret these compounds as calming, numbing, and relaxing, like what a sedative does.

  • Kavain
  • 5,6-Dehydrokavain (DK)
  • 7,8-Dihydrokavain
  • Dihydro-5,6 (DDK)
  • Methysticin
  • Dihydromethysticin

The Abuse of Kava

Those who seek ways to destress or get a better night’s sleep look for alternative options that do not require addictive prescriptions. However, they do not realize that what they perceive as something more “natural” and harmless has potential dangers. Kava is not as harmless as you may think.

The feeling of relaxation that Kava provides acts on the brain in a way like sedatives or benzodiazepines. Kava may not provide the intense side effects a prescription drug can, so to compensate, you use more Kava that crosses the line into abuse. Whether a drug or dietary supplement, any substance carries the potential of harmful side effects that can include addiction, overdose, and possibly death.

A great example is someone who takes more Kava capsules than they should. The maximum dosage of Kava is 250 mg. Most people who take Kava (or Kava Kava) capsules question, “How many Kava Kava pills to get high will it take?” If they are asking themselves that, then there is a problem with the misuse of Kava.

Immediate Placement in Kava Rehab

Light Use Side Effects:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Relaxation
  • The overall sense of feeling good (a very mild euphoria)
  • Weakness in extremities
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Addiction

Heavy Use Side Effects: (occurs 20-30 minutes after using)

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Pre-existing Parkinson’s disease becomes intensified
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia
  • Addiction
  • Overdose

Overdose Side Effects:

  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Hallucination

Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Mental Illness and Kava

Kava does have beneficial uses for several mental disorders. However, if you struggle with a mental disorder, the potential for becoming addicted to Kava can aggravate or worsen that mental disorder. Someone who struggles with anxiety and abruptly stops Kava may find that they have what is referred to as “rebound” (Kava rebound anxiety).

Kava reduces symptoms of the following mental disorders:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Various phobias
  • Adjustment disorder

Signs of Kava Addiction

  • Kava withdrawal causes you an Intense craving for Kava
  • You use more Kava to provide the effects desired (tolerance)
  • Impaired thinking and function
  • Emaciation (severe weight loss)
  • Trembling
  • Thinking about how and when you can use Kava

Treatment for Kava Addiction

If you find that you rely on Kava far too much to relax, unwind, or sleep, you may have an addiction. When you go for a period without Kava and become jittery or craving it, it is time to get help.

Reaching for an herbal remedy can be far more dangerous than prescription drugs because a physician does not monitor you and your use. Keeping yourself accountable for how much and how often you use becomes nearly impossible because you lack the objectivity to evaluate whether you have an addiction or not.

If you are unsure about having a Kava addiction or having an addiction, please call us. Resurgence specializes in Kava addiction. We provide you the treatment you need to be able to function without requiring the use of Kava. In the end, your body, especially your liver, will love you for seeking help.

When you call our center, you will speak with one of our warm and inviting professionals who will ask you a few questions. Once you arrive at our center, you will be happily surprised to find that it is like walking into someone’s home because of the family-like atmosphere. You will have options for standard accommodations or executive/luxury with amenities you are accustomed to. Residents can request faith-based treatment as well as holistic.

We use evidence-based therapies that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Along with other therapies, we teach you the skills and strategies help you once you are back out in the world. Residents go through phases in treatment that will include detox, partial hospitalization, and outpatient.

Once you are an outpatient, you will continue therapy during scheduled visits. Our busy lives may conflict with scheduled visits, so when this happens, you have the option of intensive outpatient therapy.

Payment and Insurance

Our staff will be happy to contact your insurance provider to verify coverage, so you do not have to. We accept most PPO insurances. If you do not see your insurance in our listing below, give us a call. Payment options include private pay and payment plans. Online payments are accepted through our secure online payment service.

  • Assurant Health
  • Vista Insurance Partners
  • Humana
  • Ameritas Group
  • Health Net
  • Cigna
  • Horizon Blue Cross
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

Never minimize or discount an addiction regardless of it being herbal, illicit, or prescriptive drugs. We take all addictions seriously and hope that you will too. We are waiting for your call today.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.