Facts About Inhalant Addiction

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Inhalant addictions are serious conditions that must be addressed to protect an individual's life and health. Many inhalants are common household products and are often overlooked when considering addictive substances, increasing the need for awareness.

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are volatile vapors or pressurized gases that are often flammable and have mind-altering properties when inhaled. These household, commercial and industrial substances were not created for the purpose of inhalation.

They are easy to buy and find at home or the workplace. Because they are so accessible, people of all ages can become addicted to inhalants, including young children and teenagers.

Inhalants are used by breathing the substance in through the mouth or nose. Different names for inhaling these substances depend on the substance or equipment used, such as bagging, huffing, sniffing or snorting.

What Are Some Examples of Inhalants?

Substances are only considered inhalants when they are inhaled for a desired effect. Many everyday household or office products can be used as inhalants, such as:

  • Volatile substances: These products evaporate into the air or dissolve into other substances. This type of inhalant includes acetone, gasoline, lighter fluid, cleaning products and glue.
  • Aerosol products: Items such as spray paint, hair spray, air fresheners and deodorant spray can be used as inhalants. Even cooking spray and whipped cream dispensers can be misused.
  • Gases: Certain products used as anesthetics, such as ether, chloroform or nitrous oxide, are also used as inhalants. Gases in propane tanks and butane lighters are particularly dangerous inhalants.

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Inhalants?

Inhalants mainly affect the brain and the central nervous system. The immediate effects of inhalants only last a few minutes, creating results similar to alcohol intoxication, such as:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Euphoria or feeling high
  • Blacking out
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting

In addition to effects like those of alcohol intoxication, inhalants may also cause hallucinations and delusions, making individuals see things that aren't there or believe things that aren't true.

While these are the typical symptoms of short-term inhalant use, individuals are at risk of severe injury or death from even just one use of an inhalant. High concentrations of chemicals and frequent inhalant use put individuals at an increased risk.

What Are the Long-Term Risks of Inhalants?

Inhalants can have several damaging long-term effects. Inhaled chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream, quickly affecting the brain and other organs. The lasting effects include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Delayed behavioral development
  • Organ damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Heart palpitations or failure

Inhalants can reduce oxygen flow to the brain or prevent oxygen from entering the lungs. Without adequate oxygen flow, individuals may experience brain damage, seizures or asphyxiation.

Find Compassionate Inhalant Addiction Treatment at Diamond House

At Diamond House Detox, we care about your health and well-being, offering holistic services that address the mind and body. We provide a safe, home-like environment where you can find the support and compassion you need to start your recovery journey. Reach out today to learn more about our detox programs.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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