- Khat Center
- Prescription Drug Abuse Slideshow: Facts and Statistics
- OTC and Prescription Drug Abuse Slideshow Pictures
- Health Risks of Alcohol Abuse Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Khat - Side Effects
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is Khat and what are the street names for Khat?
Street terms for Khat: (pronounced Cot) Abyssinian tea, African salad, oat, kat, chat, and catha. Also referred to as qat in Yemen, tschat in Ethiopia, and miraa in Kenya.
What does Khat look like?
- Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
- Khat that is sold and abused is usually just the leaves, twigs, and shoots of the Khat shrub.
How is Khat used?
- Khat is typically chewed like tobacco.
- The fresh leaves, twigs, and shoots of the Khat shrub are chewed, and then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug.
- Dried plant material can be made into tea or a chewable paste.
- Khat can also be smoked and even sprinkled on food.
What are the health side effects of Khat use?
- Common side effects include anorexia, tahycardia, hypertension, insomnia, and gastric disorders.
- Chronic Khat abuse can result in symptoms such as physical exhaustion, violence, and suicidal depression.
- Widespread frequent use of Khat impacts productivity because it tends to reduce worker motivation.
- Khat can induce manic behaviors, hyperactivity, and hallucinations.
- There are reports of Khat-induced psychosis.
Who uses Khat?
- The use of Khat is an established cultural tradition for many social situations in the areas of primary cultivation: East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
- Several million people may currently be using Khat worldwide.
- The largest concentrations of users are in the regions surrounding the Middle East.
How does Khat get to the United States?
- Khat, while illegal in the United States, is legal in much of Europe, East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.
- Individuals of East African and Middle Eastern descent are mot often responsible for the importation, distribution, possession, and use of Khat in the United States.
- Khat is usually shipped already packaged in bundles, and wrapped in plastic bags or banana leaves to retain moisture and freshness.
- Khat is generally smuggled in passenger luggage, overnight express mail, or shipped as air cargo and falsely labeled as "vegetables."
SOURCE: United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Khat.
Quick GuideAddicted to Pills: The Health Risks of Drug Abuse
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter
Top Khat Related Articles
Bipolar DisorderBipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Chest PainChest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Depression in ChildrenChildhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include anger, social withdrawal, vocal outbursts, fatigue, physical complaints, and thoughts of suicide. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Drug AbuseDrug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Heart AttackHeart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart Rhythm DisordersHeart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus tachycardia, and sinus brachycardia, to abnormal heart rhythms such as tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, brachycardia, or heart blocks. Treatment is dependent upon the type of heart rhythm disorder.
InsomniaInsomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Stroke Symptoms and Treatment
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include
- double vision or vision loss,
- vertigo, and
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
SuicideSuicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year, and 10 million to 20 million attempt suicide annually.