Khat Treatment: What it Does to the User
Understanding the effects of Khat is just as important as learning about the treatment that is typically suggested for those that are addicted. In order to get the treatment that abusers need it is important to identify the problem and understand how oat treatment works.
How Khat Abuse is Formed
Khat is an African shrub that acts as a mild narcotic stimulant in users. It is usually sold in a crushed mix of leaves, twigs and shoots. Users take this mix and form a plug to keep in their mouths like chewing tobacco. Throughout a chewing session of 3 to 4 hours, users will chew on the leaf mix to release the drug into their saliva. Users do not generally eat the plant matter. It’s not uncommon for users to use between 250 and 400 g of Khat leaves in a day.
Long-term Khat Effects
Khat is not known to cause any overdose reactions in users. However, usage of Khat usually produces a depression after its effects wear off. Long-term users have also developed several worrying health and mental problems such as, behavioral changes, mental impairment, mania, anorexia, periodontal disease and gastrointestinal distress.
Long term usage of Khat can result in unwanted behavioral changes and mental problems in users. Little evidence exists for Khat actually causing mania, clinical depression and suicidal behavior. However, there is a strong correlation between Khat usage and mental impairment. It seems that this drug makes pre-existing problems in users much worse.
Problems Caused By Khat Usage
It is not easy to ascertain how much of a khat dosage users receive each time they chew. The amount of the stimulant, cathinone, present in each plant varies as well as how much of it is released when chewed.
Initially, users of Khat will experience amphetamine-like effects such as, increased alertness and relaxation. Unfortunately, this high often results in a low after the drug wears off. Like cocaine users, users of Khat experience a depression, lethargy, numbness and insomnia after they come down from their high. This can lead users to take more Khat in order to feel good again, resulting in a cycle of usage and eventual psychological dependence.
Serious Issues Over Time with Khat Abuse
Those users who are addicted sometimes prefer chewing Khat over eating and may become anorexic. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems from lack of eating and also from irritation caused by the substances in Khat or accidentally swallowing some of the leaf matter.
This drug can also result in increased blood pressure, heart rate and irregular heartbeat, while using.
What Happens When Chewing Khat
Khat users will initially experience the sensation of alertness and general sense of well-being. This has often been compared to the buzz of a caffeine high or a low dosage of cocaine. This lasts for approximately 3 hours before wearing off. While chewing, users generally develop dry mouth and will drink something sweet to counteract this, as well as the bitterness of the Khat.
The After-Effects of Khat Addiction
As the drug wears off, users begin to feel depressed, numb and have an inability to concentrate. These effects can last for up to a day after usage. This can result in an urge to chew more Khat to return to that sense of well-being.