Dangers of Inhalant Abuse
Approximately 2 million Americans between ages 12 and 17 use Inhalants, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administrations survey on drug abuse. For youths in 7th grade or younger, Inhalants are ranked as the third most popular drug. Inhalants are impossible to control and their ease of access causes them to often be a starting point for drug addiction.
Inhalants are any chemical vapors or gases that can be breathed into the body. Although other drugs and substances can be taken by inhaling, Inhalants are substances that can only be taken by inhaling.
These drugs produce mind-altering effects that not only damage an individual’s respiratory system but also ones the brain. Inhalants often include solvents, fuels, aerosols, nitrites or gases. Sometimes categorized as volatile organic solvents, these vapors can be easily found in natural products like natural gas, coal, or petroleum. Most Inhalants work by slowing down brain activity and affecting the central nervous system. Inhalants are extremely dangerous and can easily cause irreversible damage and death very quickly.
Street Names for Inhalant
There are many different types of chemicals and substances that fit under the umbrella of Inhalants. These drugs are less commonly referred to by their proper name. Some common street names for drugs that are Inhalants are: Poppers, Laughing Gas, Snappers, Whippets, Bold, Rush.
Inhalants are more likely to be abused by young children and adolescents and are the only class of substances abused more by younger children than by older teens.
Inhalants are one of the more dangerous drugs. These chemicals disrupt the neural signals and create a sense of euphoria. The central nervous system is affected and brain activity slows down. Inhalants are short-acting. Inhalants’ effects include slurred speech, lack of coordination, dizziness and euphoria. The mental effects may additionally include hallucinations or delusions. The more a person inhales, the less control and less connection to reality and consciousness. Drowsiness is another common effect of Inhalants. Vomiting and headaches may occur as the body is not equipped to handle such drugs. Inhalant use and abuse also comes with a long list of potential health consequences. These are some of the most devastating drugs and, unfortunately, they are most often used by young people.
Also read 10 Facts About Inhalants, click here.
Warning Signs of Inhalant Abuse in a Loved One
Determining whether a loved one is using Inhalants can be difficult. These substances are often legal and available for purchase in regular stores. Figuring out whether a product is a normal cleaning product or being used to get high is not easy. Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of Inhalant abuse is imperative to preventing further abuse, which can quickly lead to serious complications and death. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
One warning sign of Inhalant abuse may be the physical side effects. These include lack of coordination, disoriented appearance, confusion, unusual lethargy, lack of responsiveness, slurred speech and irritability. If your loved one is behaving strangely, this could be a sign.
Another sign could be a chemical smell coming from the person’s clothing or breath. Additionally, paint or unfamiliar stains on clothes, face and hands is a good sign that your loved one is using some sort of Inhalant. These may signify repeated Inhalant abuse.
Other warnings signs may point to drug use in general. Depression and changes in personality may suggest a problem. If your loved one is hiding things, lying, distancing him or herself from friends and family members, there may be a significant problem with Inhalants or other drugs.
Factual Dangers: Inhalants
If you suspect that a loved one is using Inhalants, act immediately. These drugs are easily fatal and cause devastating health consequences. Inhalant use signifies a significant problem that must be addressed to save the person’s life. Additionally, people who use Inhalants are often young and such behavior is a good indicator of increasing drug use in the future. Don’t give up on the person. Addiction is a disease and it is treatable.
Best Voted Treatment Centers
Inhalants are more likely to be abused by young children and adolescents and are the only class of substances abused more by younger children than by older teens
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high
55% of deaths linked to inhalant abuse are caused by “Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.” SSDS can occur on the first use or any use due to the heart beating rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.
True Stories of Addiction: Justin Overcomes Addiction
Justin’s life took a turn for the worst when he tried Inhalant. Listen to his story to figure out how he recovered. – View all episodes now
Inhalant Rehab Treatment
Inhalant use indicates an underlying issue. The best way to address Inhalant use is with inpatient rehab. Many Inhalant users are underage and chose these drugs for their ease of access. People who use these drugs often quickly move to other illegal drugs and substances. Not always, but often it is their inability to buy alcohol or other drugs that is driving their drug choice. Whatever the case, there is hope.
Addiction rehab centers can help the person identify why he or she used and learn better ways to cope with stress and emotions. No matter what your needs, there is a program to fit the bill. Inpatient rehab has the greatest success rates; however, outpatient programs also help heal people from the disease of addiction. Individuals overcome using through one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy, educational groups and more.
Rehab is often necessary for the person to reclaim his or her life. Individuals who abuse Inhalants are possibly impacted by many psychological and social challenges. This is caused by the toxic chemicals that have done severe and irreversible damage to one’s brain cells and chemistry. However long the person has been using, a rehab center that focuses on mental health issues as well as addiction is best. Programs such as these are equipped to handle dual-diagnosis patients, which is often the case when it comes to addiction. – Learn More
Inhalant Detox Treatment
Inhalants can be both physically and psychologically addicting and it is likely that an individual will feel strong urges to use after starting. With detoxifications comes withdrawal symptoms and these symptoms can be very uncomfortable and dangerous.
It is recommended to detox in a place where you can be medically monitored. Some withdrawal symptoms cause be life-threatening. Seizures are a common problem for people in the detox process. When it comes to Inhalants, abusers often use more than one type of drug. This complicates the detox process and it can be impossible to know what to expect. Getting treatment for an Inhalant addiction starts with detox, then continues with a treatment program that is designed specifically to meet one’s needs. Medical experts in a detox center may prescribe medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Other healing techniques are also able to be utilized, such as IV therapy, which can only be done by medical professionals.
If an individual is in a treatment center, he or she can be helped and made more comfortable during this process. Many inpatient rehab facilities offer a detox level of care. This is helpful as the person can then move into the rehab program once fully detoxed and stabilized. It might seem impossible to stop abusing Inhalants, but you can stop. There are facilities full of people waiting to help you achieve it. Don’t give up hope. Help is available. – Learn More
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.
Addiction to Inhalants
In the world of substance abuse, there is one substance that doesn’t seem to get the same level of attention as the other more prominent drugs. The challenges surrounding Inhalant addiction is that it can be just as damaging to the quality of life of an individual and yet, few people give it the recognition it deserves. Because it has put much of the population at risk, especially our youth, it is a situation that needs to be seriously addressed for many reasons. These drugs are especially damaging and are available over the counter. People using Inhalants can disguise their supply as a normal housecleaning product or other common substance.
There are several classes of Inhalants that can easily be found around the home. These items include things like solvents, such as paint thinners, degreasers, dry cleaning fluids, spray lubricants, glues, adhesives, lighter fluid, nail polish remover and furniture polish. They could also be using butane lighters, propane, spray paint, and hair sprays.
The health consequences associated with Inhalants are some of the worst of any drug. Repeated use of Inhalants has the potential to leave the person with irreversible brain, liver, kidney, bone marrow and nerve damage. The result is multiple organ failure nerve spasms, cognitive difficulties, delayed development, hearing loss and other devastating conditions.
Types of Inhalants
Many Inhalants can be commonly found in a home setting. Some types of Inhalants may include some of the following products. Spray paint can be used as an Inhalant and is usually sprayed in a plastic bag and inhaled. It may leave individual feeling giggly, but these effect is the result of killing brain cells.
Whippets are canisters of nitrous oxide used for whipped cream, which are usually put in balloons and inhaled. Using this drug can cause frostbite on the user’s face as well as the entire slew of health consequences. Glue is also used as an Inhalant. Typically, a petroleum based glue is put in a plastic bag. This can cause irreversible lung damage, brain damage and other devastating health issues. Markers are also abusable, especially Sharpie brand markers. These are inhaled right from the marker or by placing a cloth recently marked on over the mouth. This Inhalant also causes irreversible brain damage, death and all other health consequences. Lighter fluid is another household item that is often abused to get high. Butane may be put in a bag or on a rag and inhaled causing lightheadedness, euphoria and every negative health effect possible, including death, and major organ damage.
Sudden death can occur after using any of these Inhalants, and more, only one time. These harsh chemicals are toxic to the human body and brain and devastate people’s health, possibly taking their life altogether.
Seeking help for Inhalant Addiction
- Who Do I Include in a Inhalant Intervention?
It is best to include an intervention specialist and those closest the Inhalant addicted individual. It is best to leave out anyone who may not be able to control their anger.
- What Do I Say in A Inhalant Intervention?
You will speak directly to your loved one, only speaking in love and concern while leaving out judgment or anger. Let him or her know the negative impact their Inhalant addiction causes you.
Intervention for Inhalant Abuse
Most people with an Inhalant addiction are adolescent. Middle and high school students specifically are at risk for Inhalant abuse. If you know someone with an Inhalant addiction, staging and intervention as soon as possible is crucial. Inhalant addiction is very serious and kills many people every year. It may be the difference between life and death for your loved one.
Staging an Intervention might seem scary, but it is necessary. Consulting a professional ahead of time can help ease some of these feelings so you can then help your loved one. Interventions are often very successful in helping people discover that they need help with an Inhalant abuse problem. An intervention in its simplest form is a conversation between the person using and at least one other. Often the more people who attend and communicate concern to the individual about his or her using is helpful. However, anyone who is particularly triggering, such as a sibling or parent with whom the individual has a contentious relationship with, perhaps should sit the event out.
Interventions tend to differ on how the person’s using is brought up and addressed. Remember that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. The person using is struggling and needs your love and support, not blame or degradation. The best interventions strongly communication love and concern without putting the individual down. The person will need your continued support throughout the recovery process. If you are pondering whether to hold an intervention for a loved one, contact a professional interventionist for more information. – Learn More
Recovery from Inhalant Addiction
Inhalant addiction, like all other addictions, is treatable and beatable. Most people need professional help to successfully learn how to overcome the symptoms of their addiction. This may be done on an inpatient or outpatient, full or part-time basis. With an addiction as serious as Inhalant addiction, however, the more intensive the recovery program the better. Learning a new way of living and thinking is not easy, but it can be done. In fact, millions of people worldwide have been where you are now and gone on to successfully recover from their addiction and live happy healthy lives.
One of the best ways to overcome addiction is to attend regular meetings of a local 12-step program. There are many 12-step based programs to choose from, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and more. The 12-steps are simply some suggestions for living. If followed, people tend to free themselves from the chains of their addiction and find a life better than they could have ever imagined. Everyone is encouraged to get a sponsor and work the steps. Additionally, regular meeting attendance is beneficial for successful recovery.
People find hope, happiness and a life full of purpose and joy in 12-step programs. Many treatment centers are 12-step based and encourage future attendance once the person has completed the rehab program. Whatever your story, drug of choice, current situation, beliefs and all other matters, you will be accepted, welcomed and encouraged by the people in a 12-step program.
- How Do I Recover from Inhalant Addiction?
The first step in recovery from your Inhalant addiction is admitting you have a problem. Once you have done that, reach out for help and seek detoxification and treatment center.
- Will I Ever Relapse on Inhalant?
Inhalant relapse is always possible. As long as you learn from it and move on in a positive direction you should be fine and able to have a strong and lasting recovery in the future.
Dangers of Inhalant Overdose
Because Inhalant intoxication will only last for about a minute or two, individuals will attempt to prolong the desire effect by continually inhaling several times in an hour. This type of abuse is dangerous and highly fatal. Because of excessive Inhalant use individuals often undergo a loss of consciousness, which can easily turn into sudden death if enough is inhaled. An overdose occurs when too much of the drug is taken and, as a result, a toxic reaction occurs and the person is seriously harmed or killed.
55% of deaths linked to inhalant abuse are caused by “Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.” SSDS can occur on the first use or any use due to the heart beating rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of overdose may be exaggerated versions of the drug’s normal effects, such as hallucinations and drowsiness. Other overdose symptoms include seizures, coma, nose bleeds, nausea, diarrhea, and disorientation. Inhalant overdose can be deadly due to oxygen deprivation to the lungs and brain. A person can die suddenly from Inhalant use the first time or any subsequent time. This is now referred to as Sudden Sniffing Death and can happen to a healthy person any time Inhalants are used. Death in this case is caused by the heart stopping a few minutes after the person inhales the chemical drug. It is thought to be related to the highly toxic and concentrated nature of many of the products used as Inhalants.
Inhalants, like many other drugs, have great potential to cause physical and emotional harm. Inhalants are high on the list for the severity of bodily harm caused by use. If you think a person has overdosed on Inhalants, get him or her immediate medical attention. Call 911 or take the person to the Emergency room before it is too late. – Learn More
Inhalant Use, Abuse and Dependency
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s survey on drug abuse, there are about 2 million young people between the ages of 12 and 17 that use Inhalants and more than 18 million people nationwide that abuse Inhalants. It has been ranked as the third most popular drug for students up until about 7th grade, which is around the time when people start to experiment with other drugs.
Inhalants are a starter drug for the young because they are so easy to get. Sometimes referred to as a gateway drug because they lead to harder drugs that can be more damaging to their health and life later. Inhalants produce effects identical to Alcohol, which are lack of coordination, dizziness, slurring of speech and euphoria.
Inhalants are extremely toxic which results in lasting and sometimes permanent nervous system and brain damage from chronic exposure. Inhalant drugs are also toxic to the organ system causing damage of a significant degree to the kidney, heart, liver and lungs.
People use Inhalants through breathing in from one’s mouth or nose in a variety of ways. Examples of Inhalant use may include inhaling nitrous oxide filled balloons. Another method is known as huffing, which refers to covering one’s mouth and nose and breathing through a chemically soaked cloth. Aerosols are used by spraying the contents into one’s nose or mouth directly. Another method is known as bagging, which refers to inhaling toxic fumes from sprayed substances or from inside a paper or plastic bag. Finally, sniffing is a term describing snorting fumes that come from containers.
When chemicals are inhaled they are absorbed into the bloodstream from the lungs which then spread to the brain and organs. Inhalant use intoxicates individuals within a few seconds of inhaling and experience feelings like alcohol produced intoxication. Inhalants differ from Alcohol in that the health consequences and toxicity associated with Inhalants is usually much worse.
Inhalants are known for killing or seriously injuring users the first time they try an Inhalant. Sadly, it is often the youth who are victims to this class of drugs. People feel high or euphoric, but in actuality, the drug is creating the sensation purely through toxins, central nervous system disruption and oxygen deprivation. These are arguably some of the worst drugs that a person can use, period.
Long-term use possibly means something different with Inhalants that Alcohol or prescription drugs. Inhalants use for a year causes infinitely greater damage to the body than other substances. This is not true for everyone as some people are severely hurt or killed shortly after starting other drugs or Alcohol as well. In general, however, Inhalants are more toxic and can cause severe damage to the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other major organs in a short amount of time.
A phenomenon known as Sudden Sniffing Death refers to instances of sudden death shortly following Inhalant use. Use of Inhalants describes the ingestion of highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals have the potential to cause sudden cardiac failure within only a few minutes of use. This is precisely what Sudden Sniffing Death is: sudden death due to heart failure shortly after sniffing chemicals used to get high.
Given the extreme danger and rapid deterioration of an Inhalant user’s health, treatment is necessary as soon as possible. If you are concerned that a loved one is using Inhalants, get him or her help right away. The sooner treatment starts the better the person’s chances of staying sober and survival. The recovery process from Inhalants is not easy, but it is possible and worth it.
Recovery begins with a desire to stop using. Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step. Next, comes the withdrawal process in a detox center. First, the person will need to be seen by a medical professional to assess the amount of damage and to start healing therapies. The detox phase of treatment is focused more on the physical aspect of addiction, with some introductory group and counseling sessions.
This process may take some time because the body stores these chemicals in the fatty tissue, which could lead to a feeling of listlessness for a time. But once the body is clear of the drug further testing will have to be done to determine how much neurological damage has been done and to set up a course of treatment for recovery.
After detox comes the intensive therapy and counseling to get to the root cause of the addiction. This stage of treatment is focused on the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction. Through group and individual work, individuals can learn better coping strategies and a healthier way to live.
To avoid triggering situations, many individuals pursue the options of traveling for Inhalant treatment to change their surroundings for a short amount of time. Traveling away from familiar area, is a great way to combat your addiction to Inhalants. Rehab centers for the disorder of addiction provide healthy environments where you can heal, because you will be safe, supported and stabilized. – Learn More
- What Will I Work on in Individual Inhalant Therapy?
You will work on yourself. Individual Inhalant therapy focuses on bettering your life in ways you never thought were affecting you.
- What is Individual Inhalant Therapy?
Individual therapy is where you would meet one-on-one with a therapist in a confidential setting to talk about your Inhalant addiction.
Dangers of Inhalant Overdose
Individuals who have a dependence to Inhalants from chronic abuse often experience symptoms of withdrawal that are like that of Cocaine. However, individuals who rarely use Inhalant are not likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. It is uncommon for a person to become physically dependent on Inhalants to feel normal. This is due to the nature of the drug and feasibility of using enough to develop the physical addiction. Unfortunately, use of Inhalants enough to produce addiction and withdrawal may more likely result in extreme injury or death. However, it is possible and Inhalants due create withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly.
Some of the Inhalant withdrawal symptoms are: Nausea, muscle cramps, excessive sweating, chills, headaches, shaking, agitation, hallucinations, loss of appetite, tics, sleep disturbances, and frequent mood changes. More common than physical addiction is emotional and psychological addiction. This is where a person feels as though the drug is necessary to behave and function normally, even though there is not a physical dependence.
Inhalants are most often used by younger people, this may manifest as an inability to go to school or any other activities without the aid of Inhalants. The drug may ease anxiety in social situations, for example, that the person does not know how to cope with without the drug. The person may react to a lack of Inhalants by refusing or leaving such situations that are stressful. Avoidance, irritability, depression, anxiety and a host of other emotional and mental disturbances could signify a problem with.
Short-term and Long-term Effects
The chemicals that are found in the large variety of Inhalants are known to produce a range of pharmacological effects. However, many of Inhalants resemble the rapid euphoria high that is often produced by alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts of the chemicals are inhaled, nearly gases and solvent chemicals produce anesthesia. Anesthesia is the loss of physical feeling and sensations which often leads to unconsciousness.
Intoxication may be experienced as disinhibition, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and agitation. The person using will feel an immediate high, which quickly subsides. The short-acting nature of Inhalants makes them prone to be repeatedly used in a short time span. Inhalants are such dangerous drugs, even compared to some of the stronger street drugs. Use of Inhalants at all can lead to serious injury and death. Death is possible via several different avenues, including Sudden Sniffing Death, death by asphyxiation, death by convulsions, death by suffocation, death because of coma, death by choking and death due to injury.
Long-term effects of Inhalant abuse result in highly severe complications to one’s health. The fatality rate of Inhalant use has continued to increase. These drugs are some of the most detrimental to users’ health because the chemicals used are not naturally occurring in the human body. Someone the long-term effects of Inhalant abuse are permanent brain damage, short-term memory loss, hearing loss, damage to bone marrow, kidneys, nerves and liver, limb spasms, and complications to unborn children like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- Will Group Therapy Help My Inhalant Addiction?
Yes. Group therapy will show you that you are not fighting your Inhalant addiction alone.
- What Do I Do in Inhalant Group Therapy?
In group therapy, you will talk about your Inhalant addiction and relate with others’ battle with their addiction.
True Stories of Addiction: Breana’s Story
Your loved one feels isolated and alone in their fight against their addiction. Give them the backup that they need. Holding an intervention for a loved one not only brings their problem to the surface, but shows them that people still care about them. They might be in denial with other people, but most people who have a substance abuse problem are not in denial with themselves. Deep down inside, they know they need help. If you show them that they have support if they decide to get that help, they will be more willing to go to rehab. Let them know that you are not giving up on them.
Rehab for Inhalant Addiction
- Why Should I go to Inpatient Treatment for My Inhalant Addiction?
You should go to inpatient treatment to save your life from Inhalant addiction. You will learn a new, healthier way of life while in inpatient rehabilitation.
- Why Should I Attend Inpatient Rehab?
You should attend inpatient rehab for your Inhalant addiction so you can learn how to live your life in a positive way without the use of drugs.
Inpatient Inhalant Rehab
Inhalant addiction indicates a serious problem. Addiction is a disease of the mind and body. Characterized by compulsive drug seeking and using and continuing to use despite negative consequences, addiction never gets better without treatment.
The best way to address an Inhalant addiction is with the most intensive treatment possible. Inpatient rehab is the way to go. Many cases of Inhalant addiction require an initial detox level of care where the individual will receive 24-hour supervision by medical professionals. Many inpatient treatment centers provide this service, which allows the individuals to seamlessly step down when he or she is ready. Inpatient treatment centers have the best success rates. This is due to their intensive and comprehensive treatment programs. Individuals are exposed to an array of therapeutic methods and supported around the clock.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, is a favorite form of individual therapy. Counselors help clients identify negative thought patterns and teaches the individual to replace them with positive, rewarding ones. Group therapy helps clients connect to each other and benefit from the experiences of the group. Group members give and receive advice in sessions. Different therapies help people differently. Some people may benefit more from individual therapy than group therapy, while for others it the opposite. Luckily, inpatient treatment programs offer all types of therapy so that everyone gets the insight and support necessary for a successful and long-lasting recovery. – Learn More
Outpatient Inhalant Rehab
Outpatient rehab is another great way to get and stay clean from Inhalants and all other mind-altering substances. Outpatient is quite different from inpatient rehab and should only be considered for people who have fully stabilized and detoxed. Outpatient programs are conducted on a non-residential basis. This means that program participants live at home or elsewhere while commuting to IOP several times a week. Some programs may be scheduled once a week, while others may be every day. Typically, outpatient programs are conducted during the evening so that people can attend after work or school.
Because people attending outpatient therapy sessions can leave the facility and access drugs or alcohol without anyone knowing. This reduced level of accountability and supervision is not for everyone. Most people who are newly sober should first consider inpatient rehab. The ideal situation consists of a person attending inpatient rehab and following that program with outpatient rehab combined with sober living. This allows the person to stay in a supportive, substance-free environment that is focused on sobriety the longest.
Outpatient rehab offers similar therapeutic techniques on a less intensive basis. Some outpatient programs offer only group therapy while others offer a variety of therapies. Make sure to research a program before starting to ensure it meets your needs. Many programs are 12-step based and encourage or require regular 12-step attendance. 12-step meeting attendance helps people stay connected to a sober community and on the path of recovery themselves. – Learn More
- Will Outpatient Help my Inhalant Addiction?
Just like inpatient, if you are willing to do what it takes to recover, outpatient rehab will help you learn how to live your life without Inhalant.
- When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
Following up your inpatient treatment with outpatient rehab can help provide you with a better chance at Inhalant recovery.