Most inhalants are common household products. They include paint thinner, fingernail polish remover, glue, markers, gasoline, cigarette lighter fluid, and nitrous oxide. They also include fluorinated hydrocarbons that are found in aerosols, such as whipped cream, hairspray, spray paint, and computer cleaners. Used as intended, these household products are safe. When these products are sniffed, however, their toxic fumes can produce mind-altering effects. Read on to learn the very real dangers of inhalant abuse and how to properly address this issue.
Signs of Inhalant Abuse
Abuse of inhalants, also referred to as huffing, is the intentional inhaling of volatile substances such as gasses, solvents, and aerosols to produce a psychedelic effect. It is a harmful and frequently disregarded type of substance abuse that can have negative effects on one’s health. For early intervention and support, it is critical to recognize the symptoms of such abuse.
Possible inhalant abuse symptoms can include:
- Odors of unusual chemicals on the breath, clothing, or personal items.
- Aerosol cans, paint thinner, glue, or other inhalant paraphernalia are frequently present.
- Drunk or intoxicated appearance, such as slurred speech or lack of coordination.
- Empty or abandoned bottles that are frequently used to hold inhalants.
- Hand, face, or clothes stains from paint or chemicals.
- Changes in behavior, including impatience, mood swings, or hostility.
- Frequent headaches or lightheadedness with no clear cause.
- Changes in appetite or loss of weight.
- An inability to pay attention or concentrate.
- Physical signs such as rashes, nosebleeds, or red eyes.
- Disregard for one’s appearance and personal hygiene.
- Social seclusion or withdrawal.
- A decline in performance at school or work.
- Financial difficulties or theft to support an inhalant misuse habit.
If you suspect that someone close to you is abusing inhalants, it is crucial to get them to help as soon as possible. The longer they continue to abuse these substances, the greater their risk of developing further, more damaging issues.
Are Inhalants Addictive?
Inhalants do have an addictive potential, though this might differ from that of other drugs that are frequently abused. Inhalants influence the central nervous system, which causes a quick and powerful high and a variety of psychoactive side effects. The chemicals included in readily available and inexpensive inhalant items, including solvents, aerosols, and gasses, are responsible for these effects. Even though it might not get as much attention as other drug usage, inhalant addiction can result in physical and psychological dependence.
The ability of inhalants to cause euphoria and a feeling of intoxication is one reason they can be addictive. The chemicals quickly enter the bloodstream after being inhaled and then exercise their effects in the brain. This quick, pleasant high might produce a strong psychological reward that makes a person want to repeat the experience even more. Additionally, inhalants can have an impact on the brain’s ability to produce and release neurotransmitters like dopamine, which is essential for the functioning of the reward system. Repeated inhalant use can eventually interfere with the brain’s ability to function normally, causing cravings and obsessive drug-seeking behavior.
Furthermore, inhalants are physically addictive due to their impact on the body’s physiology. Abusing inhalants frequently and excessively can cause a variety of physiological changes that support addiction. For instance, inhalant abuse can cause harm to key organs like the liver, kidneys, and lungs, which can impact how well they operate normally. The body may become physically dependent on the inhalant to function effectively as a result of this harm. People who grow physically dependent on inhalants may consequently experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using them altogether or limit their usage.
Addiction to inhalants can cause severe and difficult withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms of withdrawal can vary greatly and include the following:
- Seizures (typically only in more severe situations)
Due to the difficulty of these withdrawal symptoms, some people may continue using inhalants in an effort to prevent or lessen their unpleasant consequences. Inhalant addiction can also be developed and maintained in the context of social and environmental factors such as peer pressure, easy access to inhalant products, and underlying mental health concerns.
Addressing Addiction With Our Clearbrook Rehab Center
Since 1972, our drug rehab in Pennsylvania has been dedicated to helping people battle their addictions. It can be an incredibly isolating experience, but our team of professionals wants you to know that things are not as hopeless as they may seem. For those ready to break free from the shackles that weigh them down, Clearbrook offers multiple options for addiction treatment in Pennsylvania that can help. With a variety of therapies and programs at our disposal, we work to ensure each patient’s voice is heard while offering real solutions to their struggles.
To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one achieve recovery, call our Northeast addictions treatment center at 570-536-9621 today.