Inhalant abuse treatment can help to reduce the harmful affects to one’s physical and mental health.

Inhalant Abuse and Addiction

If you look around your home or office, there are probably dozens of products that can be abused as inhalants. Hair spray, shoe polish, cleaning fluid, cooking spray, felt-tip markers, glue, correction fluid … more than 1,000 items have been identified as being used as inhalants.

Inhalants are found in most homes. Almost everyone, even children, have access to products that can be inhaled. And unlike drugs or alcohol, inhalants can be purchased legally and cheaply by anyone.

These everyday products are inhaled by breathing in their toxic fumes through the mouth or nose. Dangerous chemicals move rapidly through the lungs and into the bloodstream, producing a brief but intense high that may last only a few minutes. Many users prolong the experience by repeating the inhaling process over and over.

A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that more than 20 million people in the U.S. have used inhalants at least once in their lives, and many of them do so believing that inhaling is safer than using other mind-altering drugs.

But that’s not the case. Inhalants can kill you. Even healthy people who are using inhalants for the first time can be victims of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. This lethal condition causes cardiac arrest as toxic chemicals in the inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically.

Death can occur within minutes. Butane, propane and certain aerosols are the substances most likely to cause Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.

There are many other psychological and physical dangers associated with inhalant use. Short-term effects include mood swings, violent behavior, nausea, dizziness, numbness, headaches and blackouts.

Over time, people who abuse inhalants may experience long-term damage to the heart, brain, lungs, liver and kidney, as well as bone marrow damage and hearing loss.

Different Types of Inhalants

There and four main types of products that are used as inhalants:

  • Solvents: Solvents are found in household or industrial products such as cleaning fluids, paint thinners, lighter fluid, gasoline, and dry-cleaning fluids. Art or office supply solvents used as inhalants include the fluid in felt-tip markers, glue, and correction fluid.
  • Aerosols: These sprays (which contain solvents and propellants) are among the most dangerous products used as inhalants. Hair spray, spray paint, spray deodorant, fabric protector spray, and cooking spray are commonly used as aerosol inhalants.
  • Gases: Propane, butane, and refrigerants are examples of common gases that are used as inhalants. Medical anesthetic gases such as nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) are among the most popular gas inhalants. In addition to its medical use, nitrous oxide can be found in whipped cream dispensers. It is also used to create products that increase the octane levels in automobile engines.  
  • Nitrites: Nitrites are primarily used as sexual enhancers. Unlike other inhalants that work directly on the central nervous system, they primarily dilate blood vessels and relax muscles. Nitrites used as inhalants include cyclohexyl nitrite, isoamyl nitrite, and isobutyl nitrite, and they are commonly packaged and sold as “poppers” or “snappers.”

How are inhalants used?

People who abuse inhalants normally use one of these three methods:

  • Huffing: A rag or cloth is soaked in the desired substance, then placed over the mouth and the fumes are inhaled.
  • Sniffing: This is similar to huffing, except the rag or cloth is placed over the nose.
  • Bagging: The substance is placed in a plastic or paper bag, which is then placed over the nose and mouth. This method is particularly dangerous because it can cause suffocation if the bag is placed fully over the user’s head.

Inhalant Addiction Treatment

Our recovery centers in Florida, Texas, California, and Colorado are the ideal place to seek residential treatment for your inhalants abuse problem. Our inpatient programs offer the best and safest treatment approach for inhalants, with 24/7 care and supervision in an environment where you do not have access to products that can be used as inhalants.

At all our rehab centers, we conduct a thorough, comprehensive assessment of your physical and mental health before putting together an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific situation and needs. As part of this process, we determine whether you may suffer from anxiety, depression or other co-occurring mental health disorders that could contribute to your substance abuse. And in the case of inhalants, we also look for health-related issues caused by your use of inhalants that may require special attention while you are in treatment.

If you have been using inhalants for very long, you likely need to go through a medical detox program to rid your body of the effects of the inhalants. This process can take a bit longer than a detox for other drugs because the chemicals in the inhalants have built up in your organs and tissues and it takes time to flush them all from your body.

After detox, we begin to address your psychological dependence on inhalants with therapy and counseling. Using evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and group and one-on-one counseling, we treat your co-occurring disorders and educate you on the dangers of using inhalants. We provide aftercare support to help you avoid relapse and stay off inhalants for good.

We can help you put an end to your inhalants abuse. Call Niznik Behavioral Health today!

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