Inhalants are easily accessible, everyday products that are found in most homes and workplaces. Inhalants include everything from spray paints and markers to glues and cleaning fluids. Because these products contain volatile substances with mind-altering effects, people inhale them in order to achieve a high.
Inhalants are especially popular among young people, with the American Association of Pediatrics stating that nearly 20% of all eighth graders have experimented with some form of inhalant. In fact, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, inhalants are the only class of substance that is abused more by younger than older teens.
People who abuse inhalants typically ingest them by “huffing”. Huffing is a term used for breathing inhalants through the nose or mouth. However, users can also sniff or snort fumes, spray the substance directly into their mouth, or place a rag soaked in chemicals in their mouth.
When ingested, the volatile chemicals in inhalants are quickly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. These chemicals reach the brain and other organs within seconds, causing a short-term “high”. Because inhalants work directly on the nervous system, users will experience mind-altering effects and other intoxicating effects. The intoxicating feeling that inhalants produce contributes to its addictive nature. People begin to use more and more of the substance in order to achieve their high, leading to tolerance and sometimes addiction.
Most inhalants produce effects that are similar to anesthetics, meaning they slow down the body’s functions. The initial high consists of a loss of inhibition and feelings of euphoria. Sometimes, inhalant use can have hallucinogenic effects that can distort the way you perceive time and the world around you.
Nitrites, a special class of inhalants, are abused mostly by adults to enhance sexual pleasure and performance. As a result, inhalants are associated with unsafe sex practices. People who use inhalants are more at risk for contracting and spreading infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis.
Common long-term complications associated with inhalant abuse include:
The first and most important step towards recovering from an inhalant addiction is seeking treatment. Inhalant abuse treatment typically begins with a short detoxification process in which the patient will receive supervised care by a licensed professional. Turning to an established detox and treatment center is wise as many people will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms including fatigue, hallucinations, tremors, and nausea.
The next step after detox is receiving therapy and support at an inpatient rehabilitation center. Because inhalants are readily accessible and easy to acquire, it is important that the patient is separated from those products for a short time. During inpatient inhalants rehab, the patient will receive counseling from trained therapists who will help them understand their addiction and teach them coping mechanisms.
Seeking the appropriate treatment for inhalant abuse and addiction will provide you with the tools, resources, and support you need to set yourself up for long-term success in your recovery process and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you or a loved one are struggling with an inhalant addiction and are ready to be admitted in a trusted rehab for inhalant abuse, contact HARP today at 561-379-3299 for inhalant treatment.