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Inhalant Addiction Treatment Orange County California

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.

Street Names

Here are some street names or slang terms associated with inhalants:

  1. Whippets: Refers to nitrous oxide, which is commonly used in whipped cream dispensers.

  2. Huffing: A general term used to describe the inhalation of vapors from substances like glue, paint, or other household products.

  3. Poppers: Can refer to various substances, including amyl nitrite or alkyl nitrites.

  4. Laughing Gas: Another term for nitrous oxide.

  5. Snappers: Used to describe the act of inhaling amyl nitrite or other inhalants.

  6. Balloons: Often associated with inhaling nitrous oxide, which is sometimes dispensed into balloons.

  7. Rush: A term used to describe the quick onset of intoxication or euphoria from inhaling certain substances.

  8. Locker Room: Refers to the use of inhalants like amyl nitrite in social or party settings.


  1. Prevalence of Use:

    • Inhalant use tends to be more common among adolescents and young adults.
    • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 600,000 individuals aged 12 and older reported using inhalants for the first time in 2019.
  2. Demographics:

    • Inhalant use is often higher among younger age groups. Adolescents may experiment with inhalants due to factors like easy accessibility and limited awareness of the risks involved.
    • SAMHSA data shows that inhalant use is often more prevalent among males than females.
  3. Emergency Room Visits:

    • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that, in 2019, there were about 1,300,000 emergency room visits related to drug misuse or abuse, including those involving inhalants.
  4. Health Risks and Consequences:

    • Inhalant use can have serious health consequences, including damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs.
    • Sudden sniffing death syndrome (SSDS) is a risk associated with inhaling certain substances, leading to fatal heart failure.
    • Long-term use of inhalants can result in addiction, cognitive impairment, and other mental health issues.
  5. Monitoring the Future Survey:

    • The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which tracks substance use trends among U.S. adolescents, includes data on inhalant use.
  6. Legal Status:

    • Many inhalants are legal products, such as household cleaners, paint thinners, and glues. Their accessibility makes them attractive to individuals looking for a quick high.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

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?


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?

  • 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.


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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