Khat use and mental illness: A critical review

Warfa, Nasir and Klein, Axel and Bhui, Kamaldeep and Leavey, Gerard and Craig, Tom and Stansfeld, Stephen Alfred (2007) Khat use and mental illness: A critical review. Social Science and Medicine, 65 (2). pp. 309-318. ISSN 0277-7729. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Khat has been used as a stimulant plant in many parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for centuries. Its current use among particular migrant communities in Europe and elsewhere has caused alarm among policy makers and health care professionals. In the United Kingdom, the debate over the psychiatric and social implications of khat use has led to a demand for stricter legal control of this stimulant plant. This paper (a) provides a historical overview of khat use, and (b) reviews the evidence for the existence of a causal link between khat use and mental illness. To do so, we undertook a detailed search of social and medical science databases for case reports, qualitative and quantitative articles on khat use and mental illness from 1945 to 2006. The validity and reliability of the studies that met our inclusion criteria were examined. Lastly, although highlighting health concerns about khat use we suggest that the debate about this popular drug in migrant populations carries elements of a 'moral panic'. There is a need for improved research on khat use and its possible association with psychiatric disorders.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Review article
Uncontrolled keywords: khat use; drugs classification system; mental illness; harm reduction; moral panic; cross-cultural measurements
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > Kent Institute of Medicine and Health Sciences (KIMHS)
Depositing User: Stephen Holland
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 19:25
Last Modified: 29 May 2014 08:10
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