Human beings abuse various substances just to get high. Same way, there are some toxic chemicals that give a high on inhaling. These substances are commonly referred to as inhalants. Abuse of such substances, like glue, spray paint, nail polish remover, Freon (used in refrigerator and air conditioner) and aerosol is quite common. Moreover, these things are easily available at workplace or at home and involves a high risk of getting misused or abused by kids.
A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 5 to 10 percent of high school-going adolescents use inhalants at least once in their lives. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) projected that nearly 546,000 people aged 12 years or older used inhalants in 2014 to get a high. Of them, around 149,000 were children aged 12 to 17.
Why kids use inhalants?
Kids or adolescents often start using inhalants by chance as they get attracted towards the smell of gasoline and glue. Out of curiosity, they inhale and get a high. For many others, they are introduced to inhalants by friends. Moreover, accessing drugs like marijuana, tobacco, cocaine and alcohol is difficult for a 13-year-old. Inhalants are easily available in the market and are inexpensive. Most of the times they are easily available in the house and convenient to hide.
Inhalants are normally abused by methods such as sniffing, huffing and bagging. Individuals huffing inhalants, dip a cloth in the substance, place it on the nose or mouth and breathe deeply. In sniffing, the substance is put on cloth or inhaled directly from the container. Bagging of inhalants involves soaking the cloth in inhalant and placing it in a bag.
As inhalants are commonly available for day-to-day work and are legal, some people believe that they are safe and do not lead to addiction. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people who abuse inhalants for several days have an urge to use the drugs again and again. They feel cravings for inhalants, thus taking the first step to addiction.
Risks and effects
Inhalants create a sensation of being drunk, often followed by dizziness, sleepiness, and confusion. This feeling is known as intoxication, which is similar to the effects created by alcohol, but more immediate and intense than alcohol. In small doses, a user feels intoxicated for a short time, but taking high doses can lead to unconsciousness.
The use of inhalants causes side effects like slurred speech, lack of coordination, impair in judgement, and vomiting. In the long run, it can lead to loss of sense of smell, bleeding nose and headaches. Additionally, even the first time use of inhalants can cause irregular heartbeats which involves the risk of death. It also leads to reduction in oxygen levels in the brain, causing brain damage.
Dealing with inhalant abuse
Be it dependence on any substance or inhalant, the best way to manage it is seeking professional help that may involve both psychotherapeutic and medical treatment. It is thus helpful in addressing cravings, tolerance, mental and physical issues. They help manage the signs of addiction and develop coping mechanisms to overcome addiction.
Sovereign Health realizes the condition of someone who is unable to stop the use of harmful substances like inhalants despite realizing its consequences. Our addiction or inhalant abuse treatment is customized to individual needs. If you or your loved one is battling addiction to inhalants or any other substance, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know more about the effective addiction treatment programs at our addiction and inhalant abuse treatment centers.