Inhalants are vapors from toxic substances that can be inhaled to produce intoxication or an altered mental state. These cover a broad range of household and other common products, easily available at home or workplace. Sniffing glue or nail polish remover to get high are some common ways in which inhalants are used. Other ways of using inhalants include sniffing fumes that are in a bag, known as “bagging;” “huffing” inhalants from a soaked rag, sucking them from a balloon containing nitrous oxide and snorting them.
Though inhalants are available in many forms like spray paint, gasoline, aerosol sprays, glue, cleaning fluids and gasoline, they can be broken down into four broad categories:
Volatile solvents like paint thinners, gasoline, glue, felt-tip markers and correction fluids.
Aerosols like spray paints, deodorant sprays, hair sprays and vegetable oil sprays.
Gases like butane lighters, propane tanks and refrigerants.
Nitrites like amyl nitrite, nitric oxide and nitroglycerin.
Inhalant abuse is typically found in children and teenagers, though adults use them too. In 2016, an estimated 600,000 people in the U.S. used inhalants, including 149,000 adolescents, 121,000 young adults, and 329,000 adults aged 26 or older.
When a person uses inhalants, it has an anesthetic effect that slows down the central nervous system (except for nitrite inhalants). Like many drugs, inhalants are highly toxic and target the brain’s reward center, flooding it with dopamine and giving people a pleasurable high. This is then followed by drowsiness, lightheadedness and disinhibition. The effects are very similar to alcohol intoxication but occur at a faster rate. On the other hand, nitrites dilate the blood vessels, relax the muscles and are often used as sexual enhancers.
Following are some of the side effects of inhalant abuse:
- Impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness
- Flushness of skin
- Lack of coordination
- Memory impairment
- Hearing loss
- Bone marrow damage
- Long-term use can also damage the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys
Following are some of the potentially fatal effects of inhalant use:
- Loss of consciousness from overdose
- Sudden sniffing death syndrome, typically associated with inhalants like butane, propane and air conditioning coolant
- Cardiac arrest
Because the effects of inhalants do not last for long, people abuse them repeatedly to experience the feeling of “high.” This leads to the development of addiction and makes the user compulsively seek out inhalants, often at the expense of everything else.
Inhalant abuse: signs and symptoms
Considered one of the most obvious types of abuse, evidence of inhalant abuse can be very difficult to hide, especially when someone is a frequent abuser.
Following are some of the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse:
- Chemical odors on a person or their clothes
- Stains of paint or similar substances on a person’s hands, clothing or face
- Empty cans or rags soaked with a chemical smell
- Appearing as “drunk”
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of coordination
Because inhalant abuse can cause several effects on the mind and body, it is important to seek timely treatment for the dependence or addiction, from a certified addiction expert so that one can attain recovery before it is late. Without timely or proper treatment, inhalant abuse or addiction can be fatal.
Treatment for inhalant abuse
Undergoing comprehensive treatment for inhalant addiction at a certified rehab center is as important as it is for drugs or alcohol addiction. Treatment programs for inhalant addiction combine medically supervised inhalant detox treatment and counseling or therapy sessions. Attending a detox program is the first step in the treatment of inhalant abuse and helps in getting rid of the toxic substances as well as in managing the withdrawal symptoms.
Following are some of the withdrawal symptoms of inhalant addiction:
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating
Post a successful detoxification treatment, the patient is recommended to attend therapy to help him/her understand the nature of addiction and learn the necessary life skills for a drug-free life. Treatment for inhalant abuse should also treat any co-occurring illnesses, such as depression, to help the user recover completely. This is why it is important to seek treatment from licensed treatment centers or addiction experts.
Why choose us?
Licensed by the State of Texas as a substance abuse treatment facility, we offer specialized treatment to adult men and women (aged 18 or above) with addiction-related and co-occurring disorders.
Dedicated to providing result-oriented treatment, Texas facility offers top-notch treatment services individually tailored to meet the patients’ specific needs. In addition to offering medically-supervised detox, we offer our patients a range of innovative, evidence treatment options, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), neurofeedback, individual, group and family therapy; life skills coaching, relapse prevention programs, anger management classes, and experiential therapies, such as art therapy and expressive arts therapy.
Our patients are at an added advantage, as they have follow-up care programs available to them, to help them stay motivated toward recovery and prevent a relapse. Therefore, post completion of treatment, we encourage our patients to stay connected with us for the next few days or weeks through 12-step programs, educational events and other motivating activities conducted by us or in our facilities.
For those suffering from inhalants abuse and seeking professional treatment, look no further. We are a leading name in treating addiction-related disorders. Our holistic approach to treatment differentiates us from other behavioral healthcare providers and makes us the preferred choice for seeking well-planned and supervised treatment for addiction in Texas.
To find out more about our treatment programs for inhalant abuse or to locate the finest inhalant detox centers near you, contact our 24/7 helpline and speak with our admissions specialists. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.