There are over 100,000 cases of inhalant addiction yearly. This problem is not restricted to America but is a global phenomenon. 

What are inhalants, and what impact can they have on your physical and mental health?

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are flammable or/and volatile substances that invoke euphoric feelings. As the name suggests, these substances are ingested through the nostrils or mouth. 

While other substances can also be inhaled, inhalants can only be consumed through inhalation.

When inhaled, they can produce mind-altering effects like alcohol and other substances.

Where Can You Find Inhalants?

Inhalants are in over 1000 products, including household products. Unlike other substances such as cocaine, inhalants are not illegal. 

Abusing inhalants is harder to spot because they are smaller and less intrusive.

Why Do People Use Inhalants?

What are the Types of Inhalants?


These are chemical compounds that affect the central nervous system. Nitrites are present in room deodorizers, leather cleaners, and similar products. 

When nitrite is inhaled, they relax the muscles by dilating blood vessels. Street names for nitrites are snappers or poppers. Isobutyl nitrite and isoamyl nitrite are good examples of nitrites.


These are liquids used for industrial and household purposes. Their main goal is to vaporize at room temperature. 

Examples of solvents include

  • Lighter fluid
  • Glues
  • Gasoline
  • Felt tip markers
  • Rubber Cement
  • Paint thinners

Aerosol Sprays

These sprays are a mixture of solvents and propellants. Examples include

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Spray paint
  • Deodorant spray


Gases are used in industrial or household settings. It is also present in medical anesthetics. 

Examples include nitrous oxide, whippets, and laughing gas.

How Are Inhalants Abused?

As the name suggests, abuse mainly occurs by inhaling gaseous substances. This can be done by

  • Spraying substances such as aerosols directly in the nostrils or mouth
  • By snorting or sniffing fumes
  • Inhaling the substance from a balloon or container

Can You Get Addicted to Inhalants?

Getting addicted to inhalants is possible. However, it is not as easy as getting addicted to other substances. 

If you are abusing inhalants, seek medical help.

What are the Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction?

What are the Effects of Inhalant Addiction?

Addiction to inhalants comes with short and long-term effects. 

Short-Term Effects

Long-Term Effects

How is Inhalant Addiction Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually made by a medical professional. Urine and blood tests are generally conducted to detect toluene or benzene.

Elevated liver enzymes are also a sign of inhalant abuse. The process of diagnosis follows DSM-5 guidelines.

Getting Treatment

The first step is to stop using the inhalants and seek treatment. As explained above, you will need to get a diagnosis.

Then, you will need to get treatment at a rehab center. This usually includes a detox program, support groups, counseling, and therapy. 

Your rehab center might recommend staying in the facility (inpatient programs) or coming from home (outpatient programs)

Detox and Withdrawal

Detoxing is the first step for most treatment plans and can last 3-7 days. This is the process of removing all traces of the substance from the body.

Some people experience withdrawal symptoms after detoxing. The severity depends on the frequency and extent of the abuse. 

Withdrawal symptoms include

  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Hand Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Intense cravings
  • Restlessness/agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea

Withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks.

There are no specific medications recommended for this period. However, doctors might treat individual symptoms like insomnia independently.

Support Groups

After detoxing, most rehab centers encourage support groups and counseling sessions. When combined, they can be a strong deterrent against relapses.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help users change their negative traits. 

It also allows them adjust and manage their addiction better and prevent relapses.

Can Inhalant Abuse/Addiction Be Prevented?

Yes, it can be prevented by training adolescents on life skills. This includes better communication, managing social or peer pressure, and dealing with anxiety.

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.