Khat Addiction and Rehabilitation

Khat Addiction Rehab Header
Last Edited: March 17, 2020
Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC
Clinically Reviewed
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Dangers of Khat Abuse

Khat is a plant that grows naturally in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula; Yemen, Kenya, and Ethiopia. This plant contains two stimulants called cathinone and cathine that are similar to Amphetamine. Like Amphetamines this drug stimulates the central nervous system and has similar effects and risks.

This drug is most potent in its fresh cut form and is chewed like tobacco. Khat produces Amphetamine-like effects giving the user a sense of euphoria, false sense of well-being, and an increased energy. Users claim to have a heightened hyperactive mania with repeated use, which leads to psychotic episodes and more life threaten.

Some rare cases of Khat abuse, resulting from heavy use are: effects are psychotic episodes of grandiose delusions, believing that one holds qualities of superiority such as power, wealth and fame, as well as reactions of serve anxiety and fear. Khat abuse is also known to lead to paranoia and hallucinations. Just because Khat is a plant, it does not make it safe, it is just as addictive as Cocaine and Methamphetamine.

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Street Names for Khat

There are a number of street names associated with Khat. Some of the street names for the drug include; Chat, Oat, Bushman’s Tea, African Salad, Qat, Abyssinian Tea, Tohai, Kat.

Khat Effects

In the region where this plant originated, Khat users gather in a social setting and chew raw Khat while socializing and drinking tea. Khat is addictive and repetitive use can have negative effect on the body. Signs that a person is using Khat can be observed as elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, arrhythmia, increased aggression and mania. The effects of Khat usually last between 1 to 3 hours and take 30 minutes before the stimulant in Khat takes effect. These effects include euphoria, increased alertness, talkative, suppressed appetite and false pride. Khat is addictive and easy to develop a dependency to. Chronic Khat abuse will result in behavioral changes and impairment of mental health, such as manic behavior, suicidal depression, schizophreniform psychosis and parodied delusions.

Warning signs of Khat abuse in a loved one

Most people abuse Khat to be alert and to enhance performance. These people will commonly justify using Khat because it is a plant and they don’t look at it as a dangerous substance. Because they don’t see it as dangerous, they are not aware it is extremely dangerous. In fact, Khat is just as addictive as Methamphetamine and Cocaine. If you feel a loved one is abusing Khat but not sure, here are some signs and symptoms of Khat abuse:

Khat is a stimulant drug that produces the same effects as drugs like Cocaine and Methamphetamine. If your loved one is abusing Khat, he or she may seem more alert than normal. It may be hard for him or her to settle down and relax.

Your loved one might be paranoid. If this is the case, your loved ones are going to whole heartily believe things that are not true. These things may be a harm to their life or others from their point of view. Be patient and supportive in times like this.

If your loved one is abusing Khat, he or she is probably not motivated to do anything else like hang out with family or go to work. All his or her energy is going to using and abusing Khat. Because of this, he or she may lose their job or drop out of school.

Factual Dangers: Khat

When your loved one is addicted to Khat, you may feel your life has taken a turn for the worst. It feels like you have lost him or her to the drug lifestyle and there is no getting him or her back. However, this is not true. You may have lost him or her for the moment but you can get your loved one back. You will want to know the signs and symptoms of Khat abuse before you try to comfort your loved one so you know how to act and stay calm. The signs and symptoms of Khat abuse include:

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Deaths can be caused by poisoning from pesticides/fertilizers.

It is estimated that 70-80% of adult Yemenis under the age of 50 chew khat at least occasionally.

Studies suggest that Yemenis spend about 17% of their family income on khat.

True Stories of Addiction

Miles didn’t know what he was in for when he started using drugs like Khat. When he was about to lose his family, he made the decision to recover. – View all episodes now

Khat Rehab Treatment

Depending on the severity of your Khat addiction, rehabilitation that provides residence such as inpatient may be a better option for your recovery. Outpatient treatment is always an option that can be considered as well. Treatment allows an individual to get all around care for addiction.

Treatment that is all inclusive supports individuals through medically assisted and observed detoxification that immediately leads into therapeutic rehabilitation. Therapeutic rehabilitation includes counseling and therapy sessions as well as recovery meetings and relapse prevention. Getting treatment for Khat addiction you will have medical staff and professionals that are available 24-hours a day to help you through your recovery.

Here are some specific therapeutic treatments that may be beneficial to your recovery: Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Psychotherapy that instills strategies to identify and correct problematic behaviors to strengthen self-control and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Contingency management: A therapeutic approach constructed on monitoring the target behavior and providing positive rewards when the target behavior occurs. One on one therapy as well as group and family therapy. Working through your problems with therapy will help you to overcome your Khat addiction and move on to live a better, healthier and happier life. – Learn More

Khat Detox Treatment

If you have made the decision to change your life for the better, you are ready to get the treatment you deserve. After you admit you have a problem and are ready for help, you should find an inpatient rehab facility that offers a medically supervised detox. You will want to go to a medically supervised detox because the withdrawal symptoms from Khat are uncomfortable and can be life threatening due to suicidal depression.

You will be evaluated by a doctor and they will give you medication to help ween you off Khat, making your detox period more comfortable. Some of the withdrawal symptoms of Khat are excessive sleeping, increased appetite, heightened anxiety, psychosis, paranoia and profound depression. Since you could fall into a psychosis and become paranoid, it is good to be around medical staff if anything were to go wrong. When you are in that state of mind it is going to be difficult to tell the false from reality and having people there to help talk you through it will be a safer alternative than being alone.

Making the decision to change your life is going to be more than difficult but if you stay on the right track things are only going to get better. Once you have medically detoxed, you should follow up with inpatient rehab. Detox will help clear your mind so you can be more alert and active while in rehab learning to how to live your new, sober life. – Learn More

Addiction to Khat

Khat is a plant that is found in East Africa and Southern Arabia, however, it has been found in the United States where it is being abused for its stimulant effects. People who get their hands on Khat find it so useful and perfect because it is a plant and they think it is not dangerous or addictive.

What these people fail to see is that Khat is a stimulant just like Cocaine and Methamphetamine. Because it is just like Cocaine and Meth, means it is also just as addictive as the two drugs. Just because it is a plant doesn’t make it safe. If you have been using Khat for a while, you are going to find it difficult to stop. You have probably become addicted and once you are addicted your body is going to need it to function. Without it, you will go into withdrawal. Because Khat is so limited in the United States, if you become addicted and the supply runs out this may cause you to move to other stimulants for the same effect.

Once this happens, your addiction is going to take you to places you never thought you would go. Khat and stimulant addiction can take your home, job and family away from you with just a few uses. It will change you into a person you never thought you would become. You are going to feel hopeless with no way out of the mess you created of your life. However, there is hope for Khat addiction, if you truly want the help, it is there. – Learn More

Khat Dependency

If you were introduced to Khat, you may have not known the dangers that came with it because it is a plant. You are going to notice, after a few weeks of use and you try and stop, your body can’t seem to function without it. When it gets to this point, you probably have a physical dependency to the drug.

If you stop now, when you catch your body becoming dependent, the chances of you recovering are way higher than they would be if you waited. However, you may feel like there is no problem and want to keep using. If this is the case, your dependency has grown into a full-blown addiction. There is only a small stint of time where you are dependent on a drug before you become addicted. When you are dependent, you may need some medical help getting off Khat but when you become addicted, it is going to take medical help and a life of therapy and support to keep you off Khat.

If you see all the warning signs and decide to keep using, a common side effect of abusing Khat long-term is suicidal depression. Once you are in a suicidal depression it is going to be harder for you to fight for your life back because you are now dealing with a co-courting disorder- depression and addiction. You can, however, win the fight against the two but it will take time and dedication to recover. To prevent a long miserable life of addiction, stop abusing Khat once you have noticed your body has become dependent. – Learn More

Seeking help for a loved one

  • How Do Khat Interventions Work??
    There will be a gathering of family and friends in a safe environment who have prepared a speech to say to their Khat addicted loved one and will often be led by an interventionist.
  • Will an Intervention Save My Khat Addicted Loved One from Abuse?
    It will certainly help him or her, even if he or she does not accept Khat treatment. If your loved one does not accept Kaht treatment, he or she will know it is there for him or her in the future.

Intervention for Khat Abuse

When you reach the point where you are done watching your loved one destroy his or her life and want to try and help put a stop to their Khat addiction, it is time to plan an intervention. For an intervention to be most successful, you will want to hire a professional interventionist. A professional interventionist does this for a living and knows how to persuade addicted loved ones into getting the treatment he or she deserves.

Having a professional interventionist will also help take the stress off you so you can really focus on what to say when it is time to bring the Khat addicted loved one in for the intervention. It will be your job to gather a group of family members and friends who are also concerned for the addicted individuals Khat abuse. You will want people who are only going to show love and concern for him or her and remove anyone you feel would cause more harm than good in the process. The only thing that is going to be told to the addicted individual is how much he or she is loved and the concern you have for his or her life.

You want to make clear how your loved one is not just damaging his or her own life but everyone’s lives around them. Voicing love and concern to your lived one will hopefully convince him or her that he or she deserves to get treatment and have a better life. The main goal of the intervention is to get your loved one treatment. If he or she is to deny the treatment, he or she will know for the future treatment is there when he or she is ready for a positive change in life. – Learn More

Recovery from Khat Abuse

Khat addiction is no joke and it requires the same amount of recovery as someone with a Heroin addiction. Just because Khat is a plant does not make it safe for human use. It is the same as any other drug that can control your life bringing you to places you could never imagine yourself going. If you are done and ready to better your life, it is time for you to get the treatment you deserve.

You will want to start out with a medically supervised detox because Khat withdrawal can be uncomfortable. When you have medically detoxed, you will want to enter an inpatient rehab facility immediately. There, you will go through a multitude of therapies that will help teach you how to live life without the use of Khat and all other mind-altering substances. Your recovery journey doesn’t just end there it has just started. When leaving treatment, you will want a strong aftercare program that includes attending 12-step meetings and working through the 12-steps with a sponsor.

Working through the 12-steps and going to meetings will allow your life to keep progressing in a positive way making relapse extremely difficult. You will meet new, sober friends in recovery that will motivate you to keep moving forward in your life and make better decisions. You will begin to rebuild relationships and get the life you had before using Khat back just ten times better. Recovery is a life long journey filled with happiness and love. There is no point in living life addicted to Khat if you can recover.

  • How Do I Recover from Khat Addiction?
    There are many ways one could recover from Khat addiction. One of the most effective ways would be to attend inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Will I Be Bored in Khat Recovery?
    If you attend Khat support groups, you will connect with many people, attend various events and participate in numerous activities.

Dangers of Khat Overdose

Although there is no known overdoses due to Khat abuse, it is believed there is still a potential of overdose just like other stimulants. If you were to overdose on Cocaine or Methamphetamine, you would have dilated pupils, rapid heartrate, difficulty breathing, chest pains, heart attack, stroke, high body temperature, high blood pressure, kidney failure, stomach pain, altered mental status, agitation and paranoia.

It is believed if you were to overdose on Khat you would go through the same symptoms. To prevent an overdose, you will need to stop using. There is no other way to prevent one other than to stop. If you are ready for change and want to recover, you will want to get into a detox facility and follow up with inpatient rehab. Both detox and inpatient will teach you how to live life without the use of Khat. You will go through therapy and learn about the disease of addiction which will make relapse less likely.

In rehab, you will learn about yourself and figure out who you truly are. It is possible you were using drugs and alcohol for so many years you lost sight of yourself. Being away from others in an inpatient facility will allow you to really work on who you would like to become without the use of Khat and all other mind-altering substances in your life. You will be able to live life like you have never before imagined. There is a lot you can do and get back if you are willing to recover from your Khat addiction. – Learn More

The Reality of Khat Addiction

If you are using Khat you need to be aware your life is going to be taken from you by the disease of addiction at any second. Khat is a powerful stimulant that has the same effects as drugs like Methamphetamine and Cocaine. The only difference is that Khat is a plant you can find in places like Africa. Just because it is a plant, people think it is safe to use. This is far from the truth. Khat holds with it powerful addictive properties and is not safe for human consumption. When you start using Khat it is going to be hard to stop.

When you chew on the Khat leaf, after about 30 to 45 minutes, you will begin to feel the same effects as you would if you were using Meth. You will feel euphoric, alert, productive, talkative, lose your appetite and have a sense of well-being. These symptoms are favorable for people who like to get the job done or like to feel upbeat at the time. You could think to yourself, “What is the harm in using Khat if the symptoms aren’t severe like other drugs?” Well, the symptoms will be good in the beginning just like any other drug. It takes time for you to see the true side of Khat and what it can do to you.

If you decide to keep abusing Khat because you see no harm in it because it doesn’t cause you havoc, you just haven’t been using long enough. You should stop before it gets worse because it is not going to get better. You will eventually become manic, paranoid, hallucinate, fell aggression and have psychotic episodes. Once this happens, you won’t be sane enough to realize it and chances are you will keep using. If you keep using Khat, these symptoms will only get worse and your personal life will start to fall apart faster than you can blink.

Because of the psychotic episodes and aggression, if you are married and have children, your significant other will throw you out of the house for being a danger to yourself and the rest of your family. If you don’t have kids and aren’t married and live at your parents, the same exact thing is going to happen. They are going to be scared for you and their life and make you leave before anything tragic happens. You won’t understand what is going on and will want to get back in the house as soon as you can but that won’t happen unless you clean yourself up.

Chances are, you chose abusing Khat over living at home with your family. Because you are not living at home, it is hard for you to get to work and you end up losing your job. Your boss may have given you a multitude of chances to prove yourself but you can’t keep it together because your addiction is progressing so quickly. This, in turn, will cause you to lose your income while you are without a home and result to you living on the streets with nowhere to go. You have couch surfed at friends but they are tired of seeing Khat rule your life and don’t want to be a part of your self-destruction so they throw you out too. It seems that Khat is taking over your life and the psychotic episodes and aggression keep getting worse day by day.

  • What is Individual Khat Therapy?
    Individual therapy is where you would meet one-on-one with a therapist in a confidential setting to talk about your Khat addiction.
  • Is Individual Khat Therapy Right for Me?
    Yes; this type of therapy will help you walk through fearful and stressful situations you may have gone through in your Khat addiction.

Individual Khat Therapy

When you are in rehab treatment, you will go through a multitude of therapies that will help you in the moment and for the future outside of treatment. One of the most effective treatments you will go through is going to be individualized therapy. In individual therapy, you will work one-on-one with a therapist that is going to help you to recover.

For most addicted individuals, the reason they started using was because of some unresolved emotion or trauma they experienced in their past. It could have been childhood trauma or something that happened just before they started using. If this is the case for you, your therapist will ask you many questions and give you assignments to try and figure out and work through whatever your Khat addiction has stemmed from. This may sound scary, opening up the past and all, but it needs to be done and best if done in treatment while you are in a safe place. The therapist may bring up some unwanted emotions of the past you thought you forgot about years ago. However, you didn’t forget about the situation, it has just been sitting with you triggering you to keep using more Khat as a means of escape.

This process might not be easy at first but you will get though it and come out from it on the other side a better, happier person. Individual therapy will work on a lot more but the main focus is to get to the root of your problem so it doesn’t show in the future and trigger a relapse. Individual therapy will give you the tools you need to be successful long after treatment has ended.

Group Therapy for Khat Addiction

Suffering with a Khat addiction is no joke. It can and will take your life into the pits of addiction and show you places no one should ever see. The only way out and in to recovery is to admit you have a problem and become willing to do something about it. Once you have done something about it, you should end up in a treatment facility that offers therapy to help you overcome your addiction.

One therapy you should never miss is group therapy. In group therapy, there will be a therapist and other people who are also in the treatment program in a room. The therapist will usually give a topic for everyone to share about. Sharing your feelings with other people who understand will help you grow in your recovery. Also, it will help you reach out to other people when you need help. Addiction is very isolating; group therapy helps to break that cycle.

Listening to other people’s battle with addiction will prove to you that you are not alone and deserve to have a life free from Khat addiction. You are also going to make new friends in recovery by attending group therapy. You won’t want to hang out with people who you used with when you leave treatment. So, making friends in group therapy will give you support other than loved ones when you leave treatment to live your life. You will also be helping others recover by sharing your story. People will be able to compare stories and learn from each other’s mistakes to prevent relapse in the future.

  • Why Should I Go to Group Therapy for Khat Treatment?
    Group therapy will show you that you are not fighting Khat addiction alone and teach you that it is okay to open up to others on how you are feeling.
  • Is Group Therapy for Khat Addiction Helpful?
    Group therapy with will not only help you learn how to express your feelings on Khat addiction, but it will also help you form lasting and healthy friendships.

True Stories of Addiction: Michael’s Story

Michael grew up into a drug using and drug dealing lifestyle. At just 11 years old, he was using and selling a drug very similar to Khat. Because Michael was abusing this drug at such a young age, he ended up overdosing. His brother warned him that if he is not better by tomorrow he will drop him off in the desert to die. Michael cleaned up his act for a little bit, but didn’t have the proper treatment for long-term recovery. He ended up using drugs once again, but shortly after went into the hospital and asked for the help he deserved.

Seeking help for a loved one

  • Will Inpatient Treatment Help my Khat Addiction?
    If you are willing to do the work the rehab asks you to do, you can make a full recovery from your Khat addiction.
  • How Long is Khat Inpatient Treatment?
    The length of your stay in an inpatient program depends on your Khat addiction and the program you choose to go to.

Inpatient Khat Rehab

Being addicted to Khat is the same as being addicted to drugs like Meth and Heroin. It has the potential to destroy your life after the first use. Once you become addicted, it is hard to see another way of life. When you are ready for change, there is another way of life patiently waiting for you on the other side. When you are willing to put in the work to recover, finding an inpatient rehab is going to be your first step.

Once you have found an inpatient rehab, you will meet with the staff where they will do an evaluation. In the evaluation, they will ask you many questions about your past, addiction and why you want to stop. With the information you give them, they will be able to create a solid treatment plan for you to follow so make sure you are as honest as possible.

You will then move into the first phase of rehab, which would be detoxification. In detoxification, if a medical detox, you will also be evaluated by a doctor. You will explain your use and the symptoms you get while you are experiencing withdrawal. With the information, the doctor will be able to give you medication to help relieve your withdrawal symptoms making your detox more comfortable. Then, you will enter the therapeutic part of treatment where you will get to the root of your problems and recover mentally, spiritually and emotionally. You will stay in the facility for a period of time until you and the staff feel like you are ready to conquer the world. – Learn More

Outpatient Rehab

Khat addiction is like any other addiction out there. It will take you down and drag you to places you would have rather not seen. When you are ready to get the help you deserve, you should search for a rehab facility right away. If you decide to go to outpatient rehab, make sure you give yourself time to detox in a facility with a doctor around before you start the program.

It would be difficult to listen to anything being said if you were to be withdrawing in the middle of a rehab session. Unlike inpatient rehab, you will not be staying in a facility surrounded by a support staff 24-hours a day. You will go to a facility a few times a week for group and individual therapy sessions. If at all possible, it is best if you go through inpatient before outpatient. You will learn how to cope with society without Khat while in inpatient treatment and learn how to combat triggers before you are faced with them.

You will be taught the same in outpatient but won’t know how to before your rehab sessions. This could make traveling to rehab extremely difficult. You can, however, recover just with outpatient rehab if you want to. Going to inpatient first just might make things go smoother. Outpatient rehab has helped many people, to be safe, you should pair outpatient rehab with a 12-step program. This will keep you occupied and busy with new sober friends which will make relapse difficult. – Learn More

  • Will Outpatient Help my Khat Addiction?
    Yes. Outpatient will help your Khat addiction, but works best if you attend inpatient rehab first.
  • When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
    When you are ready to recover from your Khat addiction, you should go to inpatient treatment and follow it up with outpatient rehab.