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Addiction and Mental Health Treatment California

Inhalants

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.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT
Review Date: 3/1/2023

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?

  • Peer pressure
  • As an escape from their problems
  • As a way to cope with traumatic experiences
  • To experience the high that it brings
  • Some people use inhalants because of their intense cravings that won’t go away.

What are the Types of Inhalants?

Nitrites

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.

Solvents

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

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?

  • Mouth sores
  • Red eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Mouth Odor
  • Cloth stains
  • Tiredness
  • Slurred speech
  • Irritability
  • Confusion

What are the Effects of Inhalant Addiction?

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

Short-Term Effects
  • Muscle weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Suffocation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation
Long-Term Effects
  • Limb spasms
  • Respiratory damage
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Personality changes
  • Impaired memory
  • Slower motor functions

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.

Psychotherapy

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. Contact California Prime Recovery to discuss treatment options.

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