Catha Edulis: Treatment and rehabilitation

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 9:41 am

Because the psychiatric manifestations induced by khat are similar to the effects of other known stimulants, treatment of khat dependency is similar to that of dependency on amphetamines.

Reportedly, there are no physical symptoms of khat withdrawal of the type associated with other stimulants such as alcohol, morphine, or the barbiturates. Abandoning the habit, however, is frequently followed by depression, loss of energy, and an increased desire to sleep. The severity of depression varies and may lead to agitation and sometimes sleep disturbances. For the most part, former users are less prone to constipation and smoke less. If they consume alcohol, they usually drink less, and their appetite increases.

In a study published in the July 1995 issue of American Journal of Therapy, researchers described a successful attempt to treat a case of khat dependency using protocols similar to those developed for cocaine. Specific procedures for treatment entailed an outpatient detoxification with bromocriptine mesylate 1.25 mg every six hours. The dosage was gradually tapered downward over four weeks. Previous attempts to treat khat-induced psychosis have employed thioridazine (300 mg a day) for one week without symptom recurrence.

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