Inhalant abuse has become a significant problem in the United States, particularly with younger users. Due to the wide availability of inhalants and the ease of obtaining them, more and more young people are experimenting with inhalants, often times with dangerous consequences.
What are inhalants?
This category includes a wide variety of toxic chemicals that can often be found around the house or easily obtained at a grocery or home improvement store: aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, paint, paint thinner, glue, nail polish remover, typewriter correction fluid, felt tip marking pens, propane and gasoline. Inhaling the substance or the fumes the substance produces, also known as “huffing”, causes an instant and intense high by cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain.
What effect do inhalants have on the user?
When any of these substances are inhaled, they pass quickly through the blood/brain barrier, producing a stimulating, light-headed sensation. The effect lasts only a few moments, which causes many inhalant users to use repeatedly in a short time, increasing the risks. Users of inhalants may feel dizzy and disoriented, and sometimes experience visual and auditory hallucinations. They may become aggressive or unable to speak, and often times will lose consciousness.
What are the symptoms of someone under the influence of inhalants?
In addition to appearing to be drunk, dizzy or disoriented, users often complain of headaches or nausea. They may smell like paint or chemicals, and their may smell unusual. Because most of these chemicals are caustic, the user’s nose may bleed or become excessively runny. The eyes may also be red, watery or bloodshot.
What are the potential dangers of using inhalants?
Inhalants are extremely dangerous, and can cause death on the first use. These substances rob the body and brain of oxygen and cause the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. This can lead to permanent brain damage, coma or death.
Other health complications include loss of hearing, loss of smell and short-term memory loss due to the destruction of brain cells during the huffing process.
How do you treat inhalant abuse?
Because inhalant abuse is so dangerous, it’s imperative that users receive inhalant treatment to conquer their addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with inhalant abuse, inhalant treatment might be the answer. At Turning Point Treatment Center, our individualized treatment plans, highly qualified staff and personalized approach to recovery have a proven track record of success. For more information on inhalant treatment at Turning Point Treatment Center, please contact us.