Inhalant abuse is a global issue, affecting over 100,000 individuals annually. This problem extends beyond the borders of the United States, impacting communities worldwide. To help you understand the risks we’ll explore what inhalants are, their impact on physical and mental health, the different types of inhalants, the signs of addiction, and the treatment options available.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are volatile and flammable substances that induce euphoric sensations when inhaled. As the name suggests, these substances are typically ingested through the nose or mouth, and their effects can be likened to those of alcohol and other mind-altering substances. Unlike some illegal drugs, inhalants are found in various everyday products.

Where Can You Find Inhalants?

Inhalants can actually be found in quite a surprising array of everyday products, and they’re often right under our noses – sometimes quite literally! Unlike substances like cocaine, which are illegal, inhalants are present in over 1000 products that are completely legal to purchase and possess. This unique accessibility makes it quite challenging to spot inhalant abuse because these substances are often small and inconspicuous.

These everyday products containing inhalants can be discovered in various parts of our daily lives, including:

1. Household Products:

  • Cleaning Supplies: Some cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, contain inhalants.
  • Adhesives: Household glues and rubber cement may also contain these substances.
  • Art Supplies: Even everyday items like felt-tip markers and paints can include inhalants.
  • Aerosol Sprays: Products such as deodorant sprays and vegetable oil sprays fall into this category.

2. Automotive and DIY Products:

  • Lighter Fluid: Used for lighting grills and fireplaces.
  • Gasoline: Commonly used for vehicles and various home appliances.
  • Paint Thinners: Used for thinning paint.

3. Medical and Dental:

  • Nitrous Oxide: Often referred to as “laughing gas,” it’s used in dental and medical procedures.

4. Recreational Products:

  • Nitrite Inhalants: These substances can be found in products like room deodorizers and leather cleaners, and some people use them recreationally by inhaling them.

The thing to remember is that these products are generally safe when used for their intended purposes. However, they can become sources of abuse when inhaled for their mind-altering effects. This widespread availability underscores the importance of education and awareness to prevent inhalant abuse.

Why Do People Use Inhalants?

Well, people have their own unique reasons for turning to inhalants. Here are some common motivations:

What are the Types of Inhalants?

1. Nitrites

Nitrites are chemical compounds that affect the central nervous system. They are commonly found in room deodorizers, leather cleaners, and similar products. Inhalation of nitrites relaxes muscles by dilating blood vessels. Street names for nitrites include “snappers” or “poppers,” with examples like isobutyl nitrite and isoamyl nitrite.

2. Solvents

Solvents are liquids used in both industrial and household settings, designed to vaporize at room temperature. Examples include lighter fluid, glues, gasoline, felt-tip markers, rubber cement, paint thinners, and aerosol sprays.

3. Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol sprays combine solvents and propellants and are found in products like vegetable oil spray, spray paint, and deodorant spray.

4. Gases

Gases, also utilized in industrial and household settings, include nitrous oxide (commonly known as “whippets” or “laughing gas“) and are also used in medical anesthetics.

How Are Inhalants Abused?

As the name suggests, abuse mainly occurs by inhaling gaseous substances. This can be done by

Can You Get Addicted to Inhalants?

Yes, it’s entirely possible to become addicted to inhalants. However, the path to addiction isn’t as straightforward as with some other substances. If you or someone you know is struggling with inhalant abuse, it’s essential to reach out for medical assistance and support.

What are the Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction?

What are the Effects of Inhalant Addiction?

Addiction to inhalants comes with short and long-term effects. 

Short-Term Effects

Long-Term Effects

How is Inhalant Addiction Diagnosed?

Diagnosing inhalant addiction is something best left to the experts – medical professionals. They use a combination of methods to figure out if someone is grappling with inhalant abuse:

  • Urine and Blood Tests: These tests are pretty common and help spot the presence of specific inhalant-related chemicals, like toluene or benzene.
  • Liver Enzymes: Sometimes, elevated liver enzyme levels can be a red flag for inhalant abuse.
  • Guidelines: The diagnostic process sticks to the guidelines laid out in the DSM-5 ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). It sets the criteria for identifying substance use disorders, including inhalant addiction.

Getting the right diagnosis is super important because it lays the groundwork for a tailored treatment plan that can make a difference. So, if you suspect someone’s dealing with inhalant addiction, reaching out to a pro is a smart move – it’s the first step on the path to recovery and feeling better.

Getting Treatment

Taking the step to seek treatment for inhalant addiction is a big deal and a crucial part of getting your life back on track. Here’s what the process generally looks like:

  • Stopping Inhalant Use: First things first, you’ve got to stop using inhalants. This decision is essential and sets the stage for everything else.
  • Getting Diagnosed: As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to understand what you’re dealing with and how best to tackle it.
  • Rehabilitation Center: The next step often involves enrolling in a rehabilitation center. These places offer comprehensive treatment programs that usually include detoxification, support groups, one-on-one counseling, and therapy. Some people experience withdrawal symptoms after detoxing. The severity depends on the frequency and extent of the abuse.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

Inpatient or Outpatient: Depending on your unique situation, the rehab center might recommend either staying at the facility full-time (inpatient) or going back home while attending scheduled sessions (outpatient).

The choice between inpatient and outpatient programs depends on various factors, including your specific needs and the severity of your addiction. Seeking professional guidance and support can make a world of difference in your journey toward overcoming inhalant addiction and finding lasting recovery.

Can Inhalant Abuse/Addiction Be Prevented?

Absolutely, we can take steps to stop inhalant abuse and addiction before they even start. One way to do that is by giving the younger generation the skills they need to navigate life successfully. That means:

  • Better Communication: Teaching them how to talk openly and honestly, so they can express themselves and their feelings effectively.
  • Handling Peer Pressure: Helping them deal with those tricky situations where friends might push them to do things they shouldn’t. It’s about making smart choices.
  • Coping with Stress: Showing them healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety. When they have those tools, they’re less likely to turn to inhalants as a way to escape.

By focusing on these life skills, we’re setting up the next generation to be healthier and more resilient, making them less vulnerable to the dangers of inhalant abuse and addiction.

Getting Treatment With New Hope Healthcare

If your loved one is abusing inhalants, know that help is available. At New Hope Healthcare no issue is too insignificant. We offer a holistic treatment approach. Call us at 866-806-1027 to ask how we can help!

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At New Hope Health in Tennessee, we offer free insurance verification for our clients who feel they need some help. When you contact us, we will carry out the thorough analysis of your addiction problem, and then recommend a workable drug treatment program. Next, we will contact your insurance provider on your behalf and verify your benefits. We will also let you know if you will be responsible for any out-of-pocket expense not covered under your plan.

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