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Khat Addiction Abuse

Have you heard of Khat? Is someone you love addicted to using Khat? Do you know someone that needs Khat addiction treatment? Pronounced as “cot,” this is a plant abused for the stimulant effects it offers. Khat addiction treatment is recommended for anyone struggling with Khat abuse.

There are a number of unpleasant side effects of abusing Khat. Khat addiction abuse has been growing in recent years. Some may compare it to the stimulating effects of coffee. The truth is that it has more in common with amphetamines and cocaine.

The compounds in Khat are rated as Schedule I and Schedule IV controlled substances, respectively. This puts it in the same category as drugs that include Xanax, Valium, Heroin, LSD, and others. Is Khat addictive? The DEA agrees that it is, and they agree that there are some inherent dangers of using the drug.

What is Khat?

Khat is a plant native to the East African region. It has a long history of use as a recreational drug in East Africa, the Middle East, and other surrounding regions. The scientific name of the plant is Catha Edulis. Khat makes reference to the leaves and buds of the plant.

The leaves and buds are chewed to release a stimulant effect. The drug can also be smoked or ground into a powder to be used in food. Some steep it as a tea. Those who have an addiction to Khat claim it is more effective if chewed freshly.

There are two main psychoactive ingredients in Khat. They are cathinone (keto-amphetamine) and cathine (d-nor pseudoephedrine). Each of these chemical compounds has a similar structure to amphetamines. The ingredient cathinone has no medical use. It is rated as a Schedule I controlled substance. This is due to the strong potential for abuse.

Cathinone is a Schedule IV controlled substance. It does have some known medical benefits. There are still moderate risks of dependency. Khat is listed as being illegal in the United States. It is legal, however, in some parts of Europe and East Africa.

What Does Khat Addiction Abuse Look Like?

The abuse of Khat is quite often seen amongst immigration from some African and Middle-Eastern countries. That said, the abuse of the drug is spreading rapidly across communities in the United States. Some do compare the plant’s use to simply drinking a cup of coffee for its stimulating effects.

The feelings experienced are quite a bit stronger than caffeine, however. Once the plant is consumed, feelings can include a boost in energy and alertness. The effects of Khat abuse are quite similar to what is experienced with other amphetamines. The effects can last for just a few hours or for a full day.

The effects felt can include some of the following:

  • Euphoria and elation
  • Feelings of wellness and well-being
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Boosted excitability
  • Feeling an increased mental alertness
  • Anxiety, manic behavior, and even psychosis
  • Insomnia

Many may find they experience a reduction in their appetite, along with a drop in fatigue. This may lead them to the misguided belief that the drug can help them through difficult or tiring times. Khat may also increase in body temperature, along with an increase in blood pressure. This can be potentially dangerous.

An Addiction to Khat

An addiction develops when the drug user has a psychological dependence on the drug. A hallmark indicator of addiction is psychological dependence. This is when the body adapts to the presence of the drug. The symptoms of withdrawal begin upon the cessation or reduction of the drug.

Cravings, a preoccupation with the drug, and abandoning family or work responsibilities in order to get high can soon follow. There have been several studies indicating that Khat abuse may induce a dependence similar to amphetamines. Chronic Khat abuse can also result in a number of behavioral and mental health changes.

Increasing doses, combined with sleep deprivation, can result in several concerns. This could include paranoia, grandiose delusions, violence, and also schizophrenia psychosis. Some may experience hallucinations as a result of the high dopamine levels in the brain. Long-term concerns related to Khat abuse could be life-threatening. They could include hypertension, anorexia, oral cancer, and gum disease leading to tooth loss.

Potential Health Risks of Khat Abuse

Khat has been demonstrated as being both physically and psychologically addictive. Some potentially dangerous side effects have been linked with long-term or heavy abuse of Khat.

Some of these potentially dangerous side effects could include the following:

  • Increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease
  • Stomach disorders, including inflammation and ulcers
  • Cardiovascular concerns, including irregular heartbeat and myocardial infarction
  • Serious damage to the liver
  • Khat may also worsen existing psychiatric conditions

Khat Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who abuse Khat can find that they develop a strong dependency on the feelings that they get from the drug. When the drug is no longer present in their body, they can experience uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal.

Some of the reported Khat withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increase in appetite
  • Insomnia, or an increased need for sleep
  • Excessive sweating, with or without fever
  • Tremors across the body

Some of these same symptoms experienced are quite similar to the withdrawal symptoms from cocaine. The detox period typically lasts between one to two days. It is important to note that detoxing from Khat is not considered to be life-threatening. If you have underlying medical concerns, you should not detox unsupervised.

Going through drug detox and drug treatment programs are the ideal ways to enter recovery. Withdrawal from Khat can be unpleasant. The severity of withdrawal can be worsened based upon the frequency that the drug was abused.

Khat Addiction Treatment

The safest way to go through withdrawal is in a safe and comfortable space that offers support for those struggling with addiction. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we have the knowledge and experience needed to provide comfort for each patient. Patients will be supported as they go through detox.

Ongoing treatment will be offered in the form of various therapeutic solutions. Addiction aftercare help can also be provided. The use of Khat may be steeped in tradition in some parts of the world. That does not remove the potential for some dangerous side effects.

Anyone who chews or otherwise abuses Khat should seek treatment. It is never too late to break from tradition and break addictions.

Khat Addiction Treatment at Resurgence

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we provide a compassionate and supportive environment. This environment is a key part of ensuring individuals struggling with abuse and addiction are comfortable learning the right coping mechanisms.

Medically supervised detox will ensure the health of the patient. While the comprehensive treatment plan will ensure mental wellness through each step of the recovery process. Your journey to recovery begins with a phone call.

Our insurance experts will skillfully navigate your insurance coverage. Other resources will be provided every step of the way.

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

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