Addiction to Inhalants

Inhalants are a kind of volatile substance that mainly produces chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce mind-altering or psychoactive effects. Even though the other abuse substances can be inhaled, the word ‘inhalants’ is mainly used to describe variety of substances that have the main characteristics that are rarely taken by any route other than inhalation.

Of more than one thousand households as well as other common products that can be abused as inhalants include toluene, glue, shoe polish, lighter fluid, gasoline, spray paints, nitrous oxide, cleaning fluid, correction fluid, and lacquer thinner to name some. Most of these produce effects that are similar to anesthetics, which slow down the function of the body. Right after an initial high as well as loss of inhibition, it results to agitation, light-headedness, and drowsiness.

The chemicals are absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. It will then quickly reach the brain and other organs of the body, which sometimes causes irreversible mental and physical damage. The user inhales the chemical vapors directly from open containers, also called as sniffing or even breathes the fumes from the rags soaked in the chemicals, which referred to as huffing. There are some users who spray the substance directly into their mouth or nose, or even pour it into their sleeves, collar, and sniff or cuff them periodically. Bagging on the other hand is where the users inhale the fumes from the substances inside a plastic or paper bag.

Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse

Inhalants mainly include the most common household products such as lighter fluid, spray paints, hair sprays, and glue. These products can be used by a person to get high. The signs and warnings of inhalant abuse are very similar to the indicators that a person is under the influence of alcohol. The key signs mainly include the following:

  • Delusions
  • Lightheadedness
  • Euphoria symptoms
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech

Those chemicals that are mainly found in the wide range of inhaled products might produce variety of symptoms both during and after usage. The repeated inhalant addiction might result in symptoms including:

  • Lingering headache
  • Lack of control
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Periods of drowsy feelings that last for several hours
  • Loss of inhibitions

Statistics on Inhalant Addiction

Inhalants can be abused at any age group all across the lifespan. On the other hand, literature has shown that there are people who tend to abuse various inhalant products at different ages. The statistics can be very helpful when it comes to understanding the risks mainly involved with inhalant addiction.

  • Beginner users of inhalants between ages twelve and fifteen commonly abused the products such as gasoline, shoe polish, spray paints, lighter fluid, and glue. Ages sixteen to seventeen on the other hand frequently abused whippets or nitrous oxide.
  • According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in five Americans teen have used inhalants just to get high.
  • Inhalants are likely to be abused by adolescents and young children.
  • Fifty five percent of deaths linked to inhalants abused are mainly caused by SSDS or Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. This can happen right on the first use or even due to the heart beating rapidly, leading to cardiac arrest.

Causes of Inhalants Addiction

Since inhalants are mainly found in common house ware products, they can be accessed easily. Teenagers who abuse inhalants might perceive inhalants to be a way of getting high without harming themselves most especially because they are very easy to obtain, and most of all they are inexpensive. Those who have repetitively abuse inhalants for a long period of time might report continued need to utilize inhalants.

Addiction to inhalants can be formed once the user feels a continued need to take volatile substances and the need for much more exposure in order to achieve ‘high’. Addiction to inhalants mainly stems from different causes that affect its progression including social, psychological, and biological factors. For instance, woman or man might be genetically predisposed to drug use or even has a history of substance abusers. This might put them at a higher risk of developing inhalant addiction. In addition to that, the psychological factors for developing addiction to inhalants will be unresolved tragedies or traumas as a way of coping.

The social causes on the other hand might affect addiction to inhalant will be environmental condition or peer pressure where a certain person is exposed to the drug. Majority of the factors are interrelated. Aside from that, there might be different reasons why inhalant addiction has triggered or developed. Because of this, it is always advisable to seek for professional help in order to ensure that the causes of inhalant addiction are identified. Also, all possible underlying issues are solved to heal a certain person from addiction.


The Effects of Inhalant Addiction

Both long and short term hazards will surely develop as a result of inhalants addiction. Whilst the physical effects might be the most evident among others, having an inhalants addiction will reap negative effects in one’s life in many different ways:

Physical Impacts

The recreational use of inhalants can damage not only the vital organs, but also other system of the body, which may also damage the overall health. Take note that inhalants have direct impact on the brain cells through preventing them from getting enough oxygen. In some cases, death might result from suffocation or Sudden Sniffing Death. Some of the physical effects of inhalant addiction include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hearing loss
  • Brain damage because of lack of oxygen or hypoxia
  • Suffocation
  • Spasms in feet and hands

Social Effects

As an individual increasingly consumed by the abusive drug behaviors, he is more likely to isolate himself from family as well as social roles once he enjoyed. This will lead to becoming more difficult to maintain not only the relationships, but also family units around him. Among the most common effects of inhalants addiction include:

  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Division within the units of the family
  • Alienation from the social functions
  • Unwillingness to get involved in different activities that they enjoyed once before

On the other hand, the hazardous effects still continue. Those people who are addicted to inhalants will surely continue to bring about some destructive results to the different aspects of their lives such as social life, financial responsibilities, and even familial relationships. Both women and men who abuse inhalants are more likely to continue to experience the aforementioned consequences right until a professional help is sought along with receiving an appropriate treatment.

Psychological Effects

Inhalant addiction might lead to psychological disturbances including cognitive impairment and loss of consciousness. Aside from that, those individuals who are addicted to inhalants may also experience depression and increased anxiety as a result of abusing such substances. Some of the psychological effects that might be experience by an individual are the following:

  • Paranoia
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorder
  • Altered perception of reality

Withdrawal from Inhalants

Whilst physical addiction is possible with inhalant addiction, psychological dependence is considered as more common. Those who have been recklessly abusing inhalants are likely to suffer from psychological withdrawal issues including delusion and hallucinations. Even though it is not common, the physical withdrawal symptoms might lead to six up to thirty six hours right after the usage and may include the following:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Hand tremors
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating
  • Agitation


Treatment and Help for Inhalants Addiction

The first step when it comes to beating inhalants addiction is finding the right treatment. Treating an addiction to inhalant usually involves support group, inpatient rehabilitation program (suited for those who have severe inhalants addiction), 12-step programs, and outpatient therapy.

Even though it is rare, there are still people who may experience withdrawal symptoms especially when they stop taking inhalants. For those individuals who are suffering from this, inpatient rehabs provide the best chances of a more successful recovery mainly because there is around-the-clock care, which in the first place keeps the users from being tempted to setback.

Inhalant addiction treatment mainly depends on numbers of factors such as the gender and age of the patient, the severity and length of the drug problem of the patients, the abuse of or an addition to some other substances, the type of inhalants being used as well as the presence of co-occurring disorders.

The inhalant addiction treatment especially for young individuals who have been involved in inhalant abuse might be done on a partial hospitalization, residential, or outpatient basis. The good thing is that, there are numbers of therapeutic boarding schools, residential drug addiction recovery programs, and therapeutic wilderness programs that offer effective inhalants addiction treatment options for young individuals who have been abusing inhalants.

The treatment for inhalant addiction and abuse may include any of the following therapies as well as techniques:

  • Recreation therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • 12-step education
  • Neurofeedback or biofeedback therapy
  • DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Relapse-prevention instruction

Detox from Inhalants

Detox is considered as the first phase in terms of treating people with inhalant addiction. Detoxing from inhalant abuse might take a bit longer than any other substances. Take note that those chronic inhalant abusers might need several weeks in order to fully detox.

The inhalants mainly accumulate in the fatty tissues of the muscles, liver, brain, and heart. This is perhaps the main reason why those chronic inhalant abusers take a bit longer to fully get rid their own body of the substance. The detox period lets the chemicals that are stored in the body to be flushed out. During the process of detox, those are getting cleaned from inhalants might experience both psychological and physical symptoms of withdrawals. The withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Brief hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hand tremors
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Majority of those who stop from taking inhalants do not experience the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms. But if they do, the symptoms begin showing up around twenty four to forty eight hours right after quitting. They are no medications that are specifically designed to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from inhalants. On the other hand, medical professionals may advise some supplements in order to help with the sleeplessness and nausea.

Rehab is the ultimate solution if an abuser cannot quit

Those people who cannot quit from using inhalants need drug rehab as much as alcoholic or cocaine addicts. Some of the substances are physically addicting, and are psychologically addicting.

Those who are suffering from inhalants addiction can find the help that they crucially need at drug and rehabilitation centers. This is a residential program that enables people to focus on repairing the damage that they have suffered.

After that, there would be a thorough detoxification, which is mainly followed by life skills training as well as counseling. These will enable people in the drug program to see things in a new perspective so that they can live a productive and enjoyable life again. This is how drug and rehabilitation programs primarily work.

The Need for Residential Rehab Facility

Attending residential rehab facility is one of the best options for overcoming inhalant addiction. Those individual who chronically abused inhalants have sorts of psychological and social problems. Because of the negative impact that inhalant addiction has on the brain, some of the rehab centers treat abusers for both mental illness and substance abuse problem. Whilst some of the techniques mainly used to treat other types of drug abuse can be utilized to treat inhalant addiction, there are still other issues specific to the use of inhalant that are best solved in residential setting.

What happens right after rehab?

The inpatient inhalant rehab centers are very helpful as it guides one to build a concrete plan in order to avoid the circumstances that may lead to inhalant addiction. Patients will have the skills needed to cope with their life circumstances without the need to resort to inhalants.

Majority of the rehabilitation centers advice that patients should attend support group meetings as these are effective ways to maintain their commitment to an inhalant-free lifestyle. Aside from that, the drug rehabilitation centers may also encourage the patients to continue individual therapy. Call 714-443-8218 today to speak with an addiction counselor.