Effect of Chronic Khat Chewing on Mental Health, Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate in Hosanna Town, Ethiopia

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Addis Abeba University


Khat chewing habit is widespread in Ethiopia with ever increasing socioeconomic and health anomalies. Compared to its acute effects, few studies have been conducted regarding its long-term effects on the mental health, blood pressure and pulse rate. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to assess level of mental distress, blood pressure and pulse rate among chronic khat chewers in Hosanna town, Ethiopia .To this end, data was collected from a total of 576 study participants of which 384 were khat chewers and 192 were non- chewers. Both cluster sampling and systematic random sampling methods were utilized to select study participants from the source population. World Health Organization Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20) format was used to assess symptoms of mental distress and digital spygmomanometer was used to measure blood pressure and pulse rate among study participants. The result indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the two groups with regards to blood pressure, pulse rate and mental health. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate of khat chewers was greater than non- chewers group.The mean systolic blood pressure was 134.33+14.33 for chewers and 104.99+12.48 mmHg for non-chewers group ,(p<0.001). The mean diastolic blood pressure was 90.77+ 14.66 for chewers and 68.04+8.27mmHg for non-chewers group, (p<0.001). The mean pulse rate was 104.46+19.69 for chewers and 72.33+10.39 beats /minute for non-chewers group, (p<0.001). Further more, this study found that statistically significant association between chewing khat and mental distress.Chi-square analysis showed that there was a statistically significant association between chewing khat and mental distress (p < 0.001).Thus, this study suggestes that khat chewers should stop this habit in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure of money and to maintain positive health.



Chronic khat chewing, Mental health, Blood pressure , Pulse rate