Khat Abuse and Addiction: Learn the Dangers and About How to Get Help

Khat abuse and addiction has become a growing problem all over the world.

khat addiction information

To many people, the name of this drug raises some questions. It's not something that's familiar to most people. However, it's important to remember that new drugs are entering the market all the time. This is one that is incredibly dangerous.

It doesn't take long for a Khat addiction to form. Sadly, most people think they can use this drug without suffering any serious consequences. Time has proven that this is not the case at all.

Khat is a drug that is not quite as popular in the U.S. as in other countries around the world. Although, as the years go by, this is starting to change.

In a study that was done in Ethiopia, where Khat use is quite common:

  • More than 10% of the people in the country used Khat.
  • 41% of University students had used it at least one time.
  • As many as 20.3% of the people used Khat regularly for at least one year.
  • 33% of the people had used it at some point within the last 30 days.
  • There were definitely common risks of addiction to Khat among those who did use it.

Many drugs get their start the same way that Khat has. Their use begins in other countries, and then spreads to the United States. Perhaps you have been using Khat, and you have a lot of questions about this drug. You may wonder if you're addicted to it, and where to get the help you need to stop. Fortunately, you are in the right place to get this information.

First, we'd like to talk with you about the dangers of Khat. You'll learn what it is, and how to know if you're a Khat addict.

Khat Addiction Information

What is Khat, and is it Highly Addictive?

Khat is a plant that is native to parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It contains two different stimulants; cathine and cathinone. When people use Khat, they usually chew the leaves of the plant. This is when these chemicals are released. The leaves can also be ground up and made into a powder that is used to make tea.

Chewing Khat is actually a tradition that goes back many thousands of years. In fact, it is possible to trace it back to the ancient Egyptians. Khat is illegal in many countries, including the United States and in Europe. It is estimated that about 10 million people use the drug all over the world.

Khat does go by a few different names. These include:

  • Catha
  • Chaat
  • Gat
  • Kat
  • Qat
  • Qut

Khat is often compared to strong coffee, in terms of its addictive potential. Nevertheless, there are those who experience addictions that are much stronger than that. There is a lot of concern surrounding what happens after Khat has been consumed. Many people will experience withdrawal symptoms. These might include:

  • Tension throughout the body
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Problems with focus and concentration
  • Bouts of anxiety

Because of these withdrawal symptoms, Khat is certain a drug to beware of.

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Understanding the Definition of Khat Addiction

If you think you may be a Khat addict, it's important to understand what Khat addiction is.

When you use Khat, you experience the short-term effects of the drug. These effects include a mild euphoria and a sense of calmness as your use progresses. The euphoric feeling you're experiencing are what make you begin to crave the drug. This is because of the changes in your brain chemistry that occur as you use. These changes can cause you to not feel like yourself when you're not using Khat. The result is cravings and withdrawal symptoms afterwards.

People who are addicted to Khat often don't realize that they're addicted.

They may think that the drug is actually quite safe, and so the risk of addiction doesn't worry them.

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What is Khat Abuse, and How is it Different from Khat Dependence?

It's important to understand the difference between addiction and abuse when it comes to Khat. Someone may be abusing Khat, but that person may not have formed an addiction to it. Khat abuse involves using the drug sporadically, and not on a regular basis. The individual may enjoy the effects of it, but not feel a need to use it. When use has stopped, there are no withdrawal effects at all. If any of these apply to you, you are probably participating in Khat abuse.

That may put your mind at ease about your Khat use. However, please proceed with caution. Although you might not be addicted to Khat right now, that can quickly change. The more you continue to use Khat, the more at risk you are for becoming addicted to it.

Are You a Khat Addict? Learn How to Tell

You may be unsure about whether or not you're a Khat addict. It's important to be able to tell the different signs of Khat addiction. These include:

  • Experiencing high amounts of energy
  • Becoming restless
  • Feeling agitated
  • Not being able to sleep for a long time
  • Becoming very talkative
  • Staining of the teeth
  • Problems with gum inflammation
  • Feeling a need to use Khat regularly
  • Going through withdrawal without Khat

Have you noticed any of the above signs within yourself? If you have, then you may have a Khat addiction. If you're still not sure, there is a way to get even better insight into your Khat use behaviors. Try taking a drug addiction quiz. This quiz will help you to better understand your relationship with this drug. It will also direct you on how to know if you need Khat rehab.

Who is at Risk for Addiction to Khat?

How do you know if you're at risk of addiction to Khat? There are actually several different factors you can look for in your life. In some ways, these risk factors set Khat apart from other addictions. Although, there are still some risks that are true for addiction in general.

You may be at a greater risk for Khat addiction if you:

  • Are a male (women generally don't use Khat)
  • Are of the Muslim religion
  • Regularly drink alcohol
  • Regularly smoke cigarettes
  • Have a family history of Khat chewing
  • Have friends who use Khat
  • Suffer from a mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Have a history of other types of addictions

Now that you know the risks involved, how at risk are you for a Khat addiction? It's important to know the answer to this. Many people use Khat without any serious addiction problems. However, if any of the above risk factors apply to you, you have a greater probability of Khat addiction.

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The Short and Long-Term Effects of Khat Dependence Explained

There are several short term and long-term effects that can result from continued Khat use. If you have been using Khat for a period of time, you may have noticed these.

The stimulant effects of Khat can result in increased talkativeness. People tend to feel quite energetic after using it, which is one of its appeals.

There is also a sensation of euphoria that accompanies Khat use. When people use this drug, it can work as an appetite suppressant. It's not uncommon for people to not feel hungry after they use it. This can eventually result in weight loss. People tend to feel like they're in a great mood, and they can have a general feeling of well-being.

As Khat use continues, its effects become more severe. It's not uncommon for people to become manic in their behavior. They may also experience aggressiveness, and become angry very quickly. Short, psychotic episodes may also result with continued Khat use.

As you can see, this is a drug that can have a profound effect on a person. These effects become magnified the longer the drug is in use.

The Benefits of Khat Addiction Recovery

Once someone has gotten accustomed to using Khat, it can turn into an addiction that needs treatment. Khat addiction recovery is necessary in order for someone to stop using it successfully. Many times, people will realize that they have addictions to this drug. Once they do, they'll try to stop on their own. Unfortunately, this usually results in returning to the drug once the withdrawal symptoms become too intense. If not interrupted, this can turn into a dangerous addiction cycle.

There are many benefits to going to Khat rehab. People who have never been to treatment before might feel nervous. However, there's truly nothing to be afraid of. Khat treatment offers you:

  • The opportunity to talk with a therapist during individual therapy sessions. This can help you to understand why you became addicted to this drug. It's truly the best way to experience true recovery.
  • The chance to work with others in a group therapy setting. Group therapy has been shown to be one of the best ways to recover from addiction. You need the support during this critical time in your life.
  • Family therapy sessions can offer you and your family the support you both need. You may have damaged relationships as a result of your Khat abuse and addiction. This will help those relationships to heal.
  • Unconditional support from staff members. You need to know that someone is there to talk with you at anytime about what you're going through.
  • A treatment plan that has been designed specifically for you. It's important to target your unique needs during your Khat rehab program. You experience addiction differently than someone else does. A tailored experience helps to address your specific needs.

Khat Rehab Offers Hope to Those with Addictions

Most experts believe that Khat is not as addictive as other drugs. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't some people who have addictions. Perhaps you've found that you fit the criteria for Khat dependence as listed above. This has you concerned. You never meant to become addicted to anything. You may have started using Khat because you thought it might help you stay awake. Perhaps you desired to experience the euphoric effects of the drug. Regardless of your reasons, you have an addiction that needs to be treated.

Khat treatment programs exist in the United States for this purpose.

At Northpoint Recovery, we offer Khat rehab that can provide you with the help you need. Please know that it is possible to recover if you have a Khat addiction. It might not be an easy addiction to beat, but with the right tools, it's possible.

Are you suffering from a Khat addiction? Are you looking for a way out of it? Please contact us so that we can provide you with the professional support you need.

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Sources:

NCBI.nlm.nih.gov. (26, February 2015). Prevalence of and factors associated with regular khat chewing among university students in Ethiopia. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4348121/

GINAD.org. (2015). Khat. Retrieved from: http://www.ginad.org/en/drugs/narcotics/343/khat-