Kava Treatment and Rehab

Also known as Piper Methysticum, Kava is a tropical shrub, used traditionally and recreationally for its relaxant, anaesthetic, and sedative effects. It has an aromatic and bitter taste that induces relaxation and tranquillity when taken in powder or tea form. Kava goes by many other names, including Kava-Kava, Wati, Yaqona, Grog, and Waka.

While it has been used for medicinal purposes and in social, cultural, and family ceremonies for many years in the Pacific Islands, Kava has since become popular around the world. The substance may be found in various forms, including powdered supplements and tea bags to add to drinks; bottled drinks containing Kava; as well as herbal supplements and various food products.

Kava produces effects similar to opioids, so it is imperative to seek professional help if you’ve been abusing it for a long time. If you attempt to quit on your own, you could experience symptoms such as restless leg syndrome, depression, diarrhoea, muscle pain, abdominal pain, high blood pressure, irritability, insomnia, and sweating. With professional help, these symptoms can be managed properly.

What is Kava Addiction?

Addiction is a condition whereby you’ve become so habituated to a substance or activity that you’re unable to stop yourself from engaging in it, even if you’re aware of the negative consequences. Being addicted to a substance, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly attempt to stop taking it.

Kava is often labelled an addictive substance, because it can produce mind-altering effects.  However, this is inaccurate, as Kava alters the mind briefly in a positive way and has been judged to be safe, having been studied and tested for centuries. This substance is not considered to be addictive, even in people who use it every day, as no symptoms of withdrawal are experienced when consumption is discontinued.

It’s important to note that even beneficial substances and activities can be addictive if you take them to the extreme and allow them to control your life. This can take the form of letting your thoughts and actions become consumed with Kava. It is also possible to develop a psychological dependence on the drug, depending on the reasons why you use it.

The Effects of Using Kava

Due to the fact that Kava is a nervous system depressant, it can lead to you exhibiting symptoms resembling alcohol intoxication. Some effects you may experience include loss of appetite, nausea, dilated pupils, sleepiness, relaxation, difficulty speaking and numbness in the mouth and throat.

There’s a good chance you’ll begin to feel the above mentioned effects quickly, due to the action of the active ingredient, Kavalactones, which are absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach. Another possible effect is the reduction of social anxieties, which can lead to psychological dependence.

It is used as a drink to foster storytelling in the Pacific Islands, as well as a social substance to encourage closeness and empathy between people. Depending on how it’s used, Kava can have negative effects such as worsening conditions like Parkinson’s Disease; potentially fatal liver damage; sedative effects when used in high doses; stimulant effects on the brain; depression; allergic reactions; and shortness of breath.

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Long-Term Effects of Kava

Several effects can be experienced with short-term Kava use, though there can be more serious implications for long-term consumption, including: worsening of certain pre-existing mental conditions such as schizophrenia; loss of motivation and drive; and decreased appetite, leading to weight loss and malnutrition.

Contact Dermatitis is another possible long-term effect; it causes a scaly, flaky rash to the skin. Also called ‘kani kani’ or ‘crocodile skin’, it can also bring about white or yellow lesions and ulcerations. Other possible effects include kidney damage, compromised immune function, liver damage, and breathing difficulties.

Long-term abuse can also cause alterations to platelets and blood cells (including red and white blood cells). Visual changes such as photophobia (sensitivity to light) are another potential effect which can result from using the substance for a prolonged period of time.

Short-Term Effects of Kava

The short-term effects of Kava tend to manifest relatively quickly, due to the speed at which the substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. Amongst the effects that you may notice are reduced social anxieties and feelings of closeness and empathy between you and other people.

You can experience effects typically associated with alcohol intoxication, such as difficulty speaking, relaxation, sleepiness, loss of appetite, nausea, dilated pupils, feelings of well-being and numbness in the mouth and throat. Also common are effects such as a skin allergic reaction; temporary yellowing of nails, hair, and skin; and slower reflexes or reaction time.

How Kava Abuse Impacts an Addict’s Life

If you are addicted to Kava, nearly every aspect of your life may be affected. Addiction to any substance can cause serious biological problems, since the drug will most likely work by altering your body’s chemical processes. The longer you use the substance, the more tolerant you become to its effects, meaning that you will need to take larger doses over time to continue to feel the same effects as before.

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Using Kava in large quantities over a prolonged period of time can affect your organs, possibly causing damage to your liver and kidneys. Beyond the biological effects of the drug, there are social effects as well. Addiction can put a strain on your personal relationships with friends and family, especially if you start to neglect them.

Financially, addiction can take its toll. At first, it may seem like you are not spending much, but as your tolerance increases over time, you’ll find that you are spending more and more on Kava. It is best to seek help as soon as you notice that you or a loved one are addicted to this substance.

Kava Addiction Treatment and Rehab

Treatment for addiction is necessary, because it can literally save your life or that of a loved one. There are various forms of addiction treatment available and the best one for you will depend largely on your individual needs and preferences. Regardless the option you choose, treatment typically commences with detoxification (or ‘detox’).

During the detoxification stage of treatment, all traces of Kava will be completely flushed out of your system.

If you experience a difficult withdrawal process – perhaps because of a co-occurring disorder or because your dependency is severe – medications may be administered to help alleviate the symptoms.

Therapy is another crucial element of treatment, because it helps address the psychological aspects of addiction that cannot be alleviated using medications. There are two options available to you when you need to choose a rehab facility – inpatient and outpatient. Each option has its unique advantages, but a physician should be able to determine the best one for you, depending on your personal circumstances.

Why you need Rehab

It’s not easy to admit that you need to get help to overcome an addiction, but it is certainly necessary. It’s possible that you don’t even realise there is a problem until a friend or loved one raises concern. If this happens, it is important to listen and honestly evaluate yourself.

It’s best to seek help as soon as possible, rather than putting it off for one reason or another. Addiction only worsens over time and this means the effects will only worsen as well, whether biological, social, or financial. Treatment does not stop at addressing only one aspect of addiction, but is aimed at focusing on all the different facets in order to ensure complete recovery.

Rehab is the preferable option for quitting substance use, because you will have professional medical attention to help manage any symptoms of withdrawal properly. It is even more important to attend rehab if you have a co-occurring condition, which could cause withdrawal to be more complicated.

Kava Addiction Treatment Options

There are a few treatment options available if you’re looking to recover from addiction, but consulting a medical professional with relevant experience is highly recommended. Although detoxing at home may seem like a good option, it’s not considered effective and can in fact be relatively unsafe, depending on the extent of your addiction.

There are two primary options when it comes to rehab centres – inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient or residential treatment requires you to reside in the treatment facility for the duration of the programme. It’s the generally preferred option, because it is intensive and affords you round-the-clock medical supervision, which may be necessary if you have co-occurring condition or a poly-substance use disorder.

Outpatient treatment is less expensive, less intensive and more flexible than inpatient treatment. You can receive outpatient treatment via your doctor’s office or a treatment facility offering such services. This can be an ideal solution if your case of addiction is not severe and you are able to do without constant supervision. Other options for treatment include support groups and halfway houses.

What Happens During Treatment?

Typically, the first step of getting treatment in a rehab facility is for the medical team to obtain information regarding your addiction and medical history. This could include the factors that could have contributed to addiction and a rundown of how long you’ve been using the substance and how often you take it.

Once the information gathering stage is over, the next phase is detoxification, which is a process whereby the toxins in your body are drained from your system. Often, a technique known as tapering is applied, during which the Kava dosage will be reduced progressively over time. This is to prevent or reduce the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms.

Once detoxification is complete, you’re likely to undergo therapy, particularly for the psychological aspects of the addiction. This can take on the form of group or individual therapy, whereby you interact one-on-one with a therapist or counsellor.

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Treatment Timeline

There are various factors which can affect the timeline of treatment; one is the extent of your dependency and how difficult it might prove to kick your Kava addiction. Another important factor to consider is your financial status, because while longer treatment durations are deemed to be more successful, it costs money to stay in rehab.

Depending on the severity of your addiction and the complexity of withdrawal, you might not have to remain an inpatient for too long. It is possible to continue outpatient treatment after you’ve been an inpatient for about a month or so.

If your case is considered to be severe, it could be recommended that you remain an inpatient for as long as two to three months. This might also be a good idea if the home to which you’ll return has negative influences of any form.

Treatment Cost

There’s no question that addiction costs money and isn’t something everyone can afford. Rehabs across the UK and beyond do not follow a uniform cost structure, so you can expect prices to differ from one treatment facility to the next.

There are many different factors that combine to determine the price of treatment; the costs of maintaining the facility, food, maintaining the medical and non-medical staff, equipment and medications all need to be considered. Also applicable is the standard of amenities provided; for example, a luxury rehab centre may feature a mini golf course or a swimming pool. Naturally, you should expect such a treatment facility to be more expensive than a regular one.

Government-supported programmes cost significantly less than private rehab facilities, but treatment is not as extensive. Outpatient treatment options are cheaper than inpatient centres. Your health insurance could cover at least part of the treatment cost. Should you need more money to complete payment, you can look to family, friends or your personal savings.

Kava Recovery

Recovering from addiction goes beyond the treatment you receive in rehab. Formal treatment gets you started on the right foot, but full recovery depends largely on what happens afterwards.

Many rehabs incorporate some sort of aftercare and rehab planning in order to guide you through recovery, after leaving rehab.

Aftercare options could include 12-step programmes, therapy and halfway homes. Actively participating in any of these can help keep you on the right track after treatment. The primary concern is avoiding a relapse, because abusing Kava use all over again can send you right back to square one.

Kava may not be as addictive as many other substances, but it’s really not worth the risk, because it is a mood-altering substance. Since you can build tolerance, it might not be long before you’re again dependent on it.

Live a Clean and Drug-Free Life Again

No matter how severe your addiction, it is possible to rise up again and live a drug-free life. Addiction can be devastating for you and those around you – particularly your closest friends and relatives.

You can stop addiction in its tracks and commit to live a clean life again by simply taking that first step of seeking treatment. You and those closest to you will be all the better for it and you’ll doubtless feel more fulfilled.

It can be dangerous to lose any more time, so reach out to a local expert or an addiction helpline. It’s also a good idea to speak to the most supportive members of your family with regards seeking help and living a drug-free life again.

Support Groups

Support groups refer to people who assemble at regular intervals to lend a helping hand to one another in terms of psychological and social support. Each member of the group is also going through the process of recovery from addiction – just like you.

When joining such a group, you can receive the kind of support you may not be able to get at home, because these are people who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Not only will they offer advice and share their experiences, but you’ll also do the same.

Don’t feel that you don’t have much to offer in the way of mutual support, because you most certainly do. If you don’t like a support group setting after attending a few times, you can always find another to join, because there are several options available nationwide.

Get Help for Kava Addiction Now

Help is never far away. In your local community, look for addiction treatment experts who can help point you in the right direction for getting the treatment you need. There is also the option of getting in touch with an addiction helpline.

Regardless of who you reach out to, it’s best to get help now. You can even call a trusted doctor for advice and recommendations. If you’re not ready for rehab because of the cost or time available, a good place to start is a support group. Getting the help you need, right now, is what matters most.

Place the Call and Make a Fresh Start Today

Making a fresh start in life can be as simple as placing a phone call right now. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to get started on the path to long-term abstinence. Pick up the phone and reach out to your doctor or an addiction helpline today.

Your recovery is in your own hands, so make the first move. Speak to close family and friends about your readiness to get the help you need. There’s a good chance they will be supportive, but you’ll still need to make the call.


FAQs

Is Kratom Tea and Kava Harmful to Those in Recovery?

The effects of taking Kratom differ, depending on the stem from which it has been obtained. It can cause you to feel ‘high’, sharpen your ability to focus, or provide relief from pain. The substance can be taken as a tea (which is the most popular) or in leaf, capsule, or powder form.

It has become a drink of choice for many people who are recovering from addiction to more potent drugs, because it is relatively easy to obtain and not perceived to be a problematic substance. Kratom tea also helps to suppress the symptoms of withdrawal associated with more powerful drugs, like cocaine and heroin.

Studies have found that Kratom tea can help kick addiction, but has to be used in the right amounts or it can turn out to be harmful. Therefore, it’s important to be extra careful when using Kratom or Kava whilst recovering from addiction, because Kava can be mind-altering and lead to other problems if you’re careless with it.

Why Do People in Recovery Drink Kava?

The ‘Kava bar’ is now the favourite place for many who are recovering from addiction to a more potent substance. The plant’s psychoactive effects create feelings of mild euphoria and relaxation, which is what draws many to it in the first place. Kava is believed to be an acceptable alternative to alcohol and drugs, because it is completely medicinal and natural.

There is also the spiritual theme of recovery that comes with engaging in a ritual of meeting with friends at a ‘bar’. All the elements of socialising and sharing a drink to take the edge off after a hectic day are there – and that in itself can be therapeutic.

Psychologically, you may associate drinking Kava in this manner with pleasure, relief, or escape, but you must beware that you could begin to depend on the substance in the same manner that you did with alcohol or certain other drugs. Taking Kava in the way you used to consume alcohol could be problematic in terms of the possible effects on your brain chemistry. Essentially, you would likely be preventing your brain from healing appropriately.

Is Drinking Kava in Recovery considered a Relapse?

Yes. Drinking Kava whilst you are recovering from addiction can be regarded as a relapse. It doesn’t matter what excuses you might make for consuming the substance, as they’re likely only a product of your ability as an addict to deny a fact that is clear to every other person. It’s therefore best to avoid Kava entirely in order to prevent the same old cycle from reoccurring.

You might argue that Kava is natural, but that argument doesn’t hold any water, because even heroin, cocaine, gin, vodka, beer, and marijuana are natural (or derived from natural products grown from the earth, whether it’s the poppy flower or fermented barley and hops).

Kava is a mind-altering substance that can change your sensation of being and leave you inebriated. Intentionally taking any substance capable of doing this can be regarded as a relapse, so it’s best to avoid Kava when you’re recovering from addiction.

Is Kava Legal?

In the UK, Kava has been banned by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) since 2003. The herbal remedy was banned due to concerns that it could result in liver poisoning. The importation, supply or sale of any unlicensed medicines and medicinal products containing Kava are included in this ban. The herb is also restricted for sale and use in many other countries including United States, Germany, France, and Australia. Regardless of these restrictions, it is possible to purchase from a plant store (and online in the case of the ground powder).

What’s It Made of?

Kava is a pepper plant, with roots and stumps that are brewed for tea. The name of the plant is taken from Captain Cook, who called it a name that translates to ‘intoxicating pepper’. The plant comprises a drug, which acts as a muscle relaxant, diuretic, hypnotic, and narcotic. Use of the plant was previously restricted by ritual. However, nowadays it is widely available for social use, since those restrictions are no longer in place.

Kratom and Kava: What’s the Difference?

Both substances are derived from plants found in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Kratom is derived from a plant belonging to the coffee tree family – typically found in Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

While Kratom is used traditionally in these regions for religious and medicinal purposes, it is also consumed for recreational purposes in western countries, because it’s believed to help reduce the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Kratom and Kava are similar in the way they are used, but the major difference is that each substance derives from different plants.

How is Kava Taken?

Kava may be taken in many different forms. Traditionally, in parts of the world where native people consume it, the roots may be turned into a pulp and mixed with water or they may simply be chewed. In fact, it’s often offered as a drink to guests in the Pacific Islands.

Here, the substance may be obtained as a tea, powder, tablet, liquid, or as tinctures. The powder may be placed in cheesecloth (or something similar), added to water, allowed to soak and then strained. The resulting brew can then be consumed. For the more traditional experience, you could go through the lengthy kneading and straining process involved, when you put ground Kava root in a muslin cloth and steep in water.

There’s also an instant version of the root, which you can simply add to a drink. This appears as a fine powder called micronized Kava. There’s also a concentrated liquid form of the substance, which can be added to any other drink of your choice. Other options include supplements and teas.

Which Kava Dosage Is Safe?

There are a number of factors that come into play when trying to determine a safe dosage. These include: the type of Kava you’re consuming; the specific chemo type; the reason you’re taking it; and the method of consumption all need to be considered when determining a safe dosage.

Like other herbal remedies, there are no set guidelines on how Kava should be used, so you must exercise caution. There’s no way to know what dosage is right for you, based on the effects you would like to induce. Generally, the recommended dosage of Kava is kept between 100mg and 300mg, daily.

It’s best to limit your exposure to Kava as much as you possibly can, because the side effects can be severe. Never take more than needed for any intended purpose, as an overdose can result in the impairment of cognitive and physical function.

What are the Effects of Drinking Kava?

The effects of drinking Kava can vary, depending on factors such as whether you’re consuming other substances simultaneously; the amount you’re consuming; the strength of dosage; whether you have taken the substance before; your general state of health; and your body size.

If you consume a small dose of Kava, you may experience effects such as loss of appetite, mild loss of feelings in the mouth and throat, feelings of relaxation and wellness, sleepiness and relaxed muscles. For larger doses, you could experience effects like reduced muscle control (ataxia), induced sleep, stupor, nausea, reddened eyes, and dilated pupils.

Kava is a mind-altering substance and can be habit-forming. Therefore, it is possible to develop tolerance and addiction if you use it for an extended period of time. Long-term use can lead to effects such as the worsening of conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, depression, liver damage, allergic reactions and shortness of breath.

What Does Kava Have to Do with Addiction and Recovery?

Kava is powerful for calming nerves, so many people who are just recovering from addiction are drawn to this substance. Many don’t believe it can lead to dependency, but it remains problematic to rely on a mood-altering substance whilst recovering from addiction.

This substance actually helps with symptoms of withdrawal from certain substances, which makes it an attractive option during addiction recovery. While Kava can bring about feelings of relaxation, it can also produce light euphoria. That alone can be sufficient to remind the brain of previous addiction, making it difficult to recover properly.

Why Do People Consume Kava?

There are many different reasons why people might want to consume Kava. The people of the Pacific Islands have been using it for spiritual and ceremonial purposes for hundreds of years. It has been used to communicate with the spirits and rapidly foster h4 kinship. Before now, use of the substance had been controlled by ritual. Without those limitations today, many people use and abuse Kava to the point of addiction.

Kava may be used as a muscle relaxant, diuretic, hypnotic or a narcotic. It can also be used to treat asthma, fight fatigue, treat anxiety and urinary infections, and even serve as a numbing agent or sleep aid.

Does Kava Make You ‘High’?

Reports have indicated that Kava produces a feeling of calm that is somewhat similar to the effects of benzodiazepines or alcohol. However, it is different from these substances in that you’ll remain clear-headed. While you may be hit by a ‘buzz’ of sorts (as you would with alcohol), you won’t necessarily experience a ‘high’.

In some people, Kava produces feelings of mild euphoria and may make them more sociable, but the effects tend to vary significantly from one person to another, depending on factors such as body mass index.

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