Inhalants Addiction

Reach out to us today! Most Private Insurance Accepted

Inhalant abuse: When common household substances become life threatening

A dangerous trend exists among adolescents, involving the inhalation of common household products. Because these items are easily acquired and accessed, many young people mistakenly assume that inhaling them does not constitute substance abuse. But that is a misunderstanding that can have serious and even fatal consequences.

Inhalants are breathable, chemical vapors that can produce mental alterations. They are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases produced from the liquid or solid state of natural substances. Inhalant abuse refers to the sniffing of these common household and office products to get “high.” Recognizing inhalant abuse and seeking treatment is vital so that both mental and physical health can be restored.

What are inhalants?

Common inhalants include permanent markers, paint and spray paint, household cleaning supplies, glue, air freshener, gasoline, cooking spray, nail polish remover, whip cream canisters and thousands of other products. These substances are legal and can be purchased at local drug stores, home stores and grocery stores and, as a result, are widely accessible.

Common names for inhalant use to get high are huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging. Often, a wash cloth, shirt sleeve or some sort of cloth is soaked with the inhalant, and the substance is then placed close to the face and inhaled. Sometimes paper or plastic bags are used with the inhalant. Sniffing refers to inhaling through the nose directly from the substance container.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that manipulates a person’s sense of reward, motivation, memory and a number of related neurological functions.

Stay connected with Sovereign Health

Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements

Who is prone to inhalant abuse?

Children and adolescents are the most common populations who inhale these household substances. National surveys indicate that nearly 21.7 million Americans aged 12 and older have used inhalants at least once in their lives.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “nearly 1 in 10 eighth graders have tried inhalants,” and “even children as young as 5 or 6 years may try inhalants.”

Inhalant abuse can lead to abuse of other drugs that are illegal; therefore, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse so that those who abuse these substances can receive treatment and break the addiction.

Studies have shown that inhalants act to depress the central nervous system (CNS) in a similar fashion to classified CNS depressants such as opioids. Animal models and studies have shown that toluene, a solvent found in many common household products, activates dopamine release in the brain; dopamine is the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for addiction. Since these inhalants resemble a depressant such as alcohol, initial symptoms present with excitability and euphoria, followed by drowsiness and depressive symptoms.

How do I Start?

If you are beginning the admissions process at Sovereign Health, be assured that you will receive high-quality service and care provided by our...

Symptoms of inhalant abuse

  • Drowsiness
  • Belligerence
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Flushness of skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations

Symptoms resulting in death

  • Choking
  • Suffocation
  • Seizures
  • Asphyxiation

Sudden sniffing death can occur after one episode of inhaling these household chemicals. Death can also result from cardiac arrhythmias especially from butane, propane and chemical aerosols.

Common chemicals found in inhalants

  • Trichloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Hexane
  • Methylene chloride
  • Nitrites
  • Benzene

Inhalant withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms of inhalants can include some of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Agitation
  • Chills
  • Tremors

If someone is showing inhalants withdrawal symptoms it may be time to help them fine treatment for inhalant abuse.

We can help you today!

Treatment for inhalant abuse

Unfortunately, there is no acute remedy that can alleviate the signs and symptoms of inhalant addiction, nor is there a specific medication that can treat inhalant addiction itself. A full medical examination is necessary to assess organ damage and begin treatment for inhalant abuse.

Inhalants are fat-soluble chemicals, meaning that they are stored in fat cells throughout the body and will stay in organs for long periods of time, potentially creating excessive damage. A thorough examination of school records and neuropsychological testing should be performed to assess cognitive decline. A follow-up in a few months may be necessary to measure improvement in cognition once the inhalant has been cleared from the body.

What our Clients Say!

‘We learned to talk about things in a safe environment & know we won’t be judged because we all have things we have to work towards here.’

Inhalant treatment at Sovereign Health

Group therapy, individual therapy and family therapy are all useful approaches to inhalant treatment. Involving the school teacher and/or counselor may also be beneficial in the treatment program. Psychosocial therapy is the mainstay of treatment. Sovereign Health offers all types of therapies that are mentioned above as well as treatment for co-occurring conditions, which may be present.

Because many young users do not believe that inhalant use is considered substance abuse, denial is common. Because the users are usually young, they may not understand the concrete harms and risks associated with inhalant abuse, nor the cognitive decline that may occur after chronic use.

If you suspect that a loved one is abusing inhalants, please call our toll-free, 24/7 helpline to find out more about Sovereign Health’s treatment options.