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.
If you are struggling with Inhalant abuse, please give us a call.