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Understanding inhalant abuse symptoms

Recognizing the Unseen
Finding yourself trapped in the snare of inhalant abuse is terrifying, yet help is closer than you think. Our rehab in Thailand offers a unique, personalized path to recovery and a life free from addiction
Home » Drug Abuse & Addiction » Inhalant Addiction And Abuse » Inhalant Addiction Symptoms

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Drug abuse can manifest itself in various forms. Aware of this fact are those addicted to inhalants - products often intended for domestic use or different purposes and not consumption.

Because of the fact that these products can be widely available and get misused and abused, it's crucial to educate yourself and your loved ones on how to spot the first signs of addiction, how to address the problem, and if needed seek help from a drug use rehab as early as possible.

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are various substances and products that people inhale in order to get high, but are not made with the intention to be used like this. Often, these are different sprays, paints, paint thinners, glues, nitrites, and cleaning fluids, which contain harmful and psychoactive substances.

The fact is that the demographic especially prone to using inhalants are children and young adults. The statistics show that even 1 in 5 kids report having used inhalants by the eighth grade. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, inhalant substance abuse was a problem that affected the younger groups the most - children age 12 to 17 accounted for 2.7% (683,000) of inhalant users in the U.S. population.

This is a serious problem since many harmful substances that can be found in these inhalants can severely influence a child's development, causing neurological problems.

Inhalants can be used in several ways. Some of the most popular ones include:

snorting and sniffing the abused inhalants directly;
bagging, which includes spraying or placing the substance into a paper or plastic bag and then inhaling it;
spraying aerosols into the mouth or nose;
huffing, which consists of soaking a piece of cloth in inhalants and placing it near the mouth and nose.

Types of Inhalants

On the list of the most common inhalants, we can find:
Aerosols
sprayable substances containing solvents and propellants, for example, hair sprays, cooking oil sprays, spray paint, or spray-on deodorant.

Gases
ranging from chloroform and nitrous oxide to butane lighters, propane tanks, and whipped cream dispensers.

Solvents
volatile solvents that release vapors at room temperature. They can be found in felt-tip markers, gasoline, dry-cleaning fluid, paint thinners/removers, and glues.

Nitrites
more often used as muscle relaxers and sexual enhancers, nitrites are sold under different street names, like liquid aroma or leather cleaner.
symptoms of inhalants

Inhalant Abuse Symptoms

Just like we've talked about above, inhalant abuse is a problem that is quite common, especially with children, teens, and young adults. For this reason, partners and guardians can benefit greatly from knowing the signs and inhalant abuse symptoms.

The fact is that inhalants can be quite addictive, and it's also possible to develop a tolerance for them after prolonged use, which leads to inhalant users needing to inhale more of these substances to achieve the same effects.

It's also imperative to know that inhalants are by no means harmless and safe to use. Long-term effects of inhalant abuse can lead to many adverse health consequences, bone marrow damage, neurological issues, delayed behavioral development, and liver and kidney damage included (source).

Quick reactions and interventions of parents and family for people who abuse inhalants can reduce the risk of severe complications and even death.

The common signs of inhalant addiction may include:

Using more than was initially planned.
Prioritizing using inhalants above important obligations and duties, like schoolwork, professional work, family gatherings, meeting with friends, etc.
Being unable to stop or limit drug use.
Being unable to stop using inhalants even after experiencing adverse effects of the use.
Spending significant amounts of time planning, preparing for, and using inhalants.
Using inhalants in situations when it's inappropriate or even dangerous.
Resigning from engaging in hobbies and activities that were previously enjoyed.
Inability to stop using or limit inhalant use even when it negatively impacts one's relationships.
Needing to increase the dose to feel the same effects.
Frequent fantasizing about using inhalants.
Feeling a wave of negative emotions (anger, irritation, deep sadness) when a planned drug use cannot take place.
Feeling cravings for inhalant use.
What are some of the visible signs of inhalant abuse that you can notice in your friends, family members, or children?
Traces of paint or other substances on fingers, body, and clothing.
Chemical odors on one's clothes and person.
Lack of coordination.
Disorientation.
Problems with speech.
Irritably and mood swings.
Abnormal behavior.
It's also crucial to pay attention to various physical manifestations of inhalant abuse. These would include:
Rapid weight loss.
Lack of coordination.
Depression and anxiety.
Organ failure.
Sore mouth and nose.
Experiencing inhalant withdrawal symptoms.
Dazed or drunken appearance.
Nausea.
Loss of appetite.
Slurred speech.

Risk Factors that May Contribute to Inhalant Abuse

There are numerous genetic and environmental risk factors that may increase a chance of someone developing an inhalant addiction. These could be:
family history of substance use disorders;
history of mental disorders;
history of physical or sexual abuse;
unstable family environment;
low income;
high unemployment rates
prolonged stress.

Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Abusing inhalants can result in a range of mild and severe health problems, both cognitive and physical. This drug abuse can influence the parts of the brain responsible for motor functions, thinking processes, vision, and hearing.

The body will also react to substance abuse. Both short-term and chronic inhalant use can result in irregular and rapid heart rhythms, heart failure, liver failure, seizures, and even death.

Some of these health issues may be temporary, and there is a chance for full recovery after getting off drugs, but often these symptoms are irreversible or can cause health complications for a long time.

Can a person overdose on inhalants?

It's possible to experience an inhalant overdose, which can even be fatal. The risk is there due to the nature of the inhalants. Most of these substances produce a high that is short-lived, so inhalant users are inclined to inhale these substances repeatedly across a limited span of time.

This practice can be very dangerous and can result in an overdose and death. A “sudden sniffing death” can occur after only one session of inhalant use and can be caused by an increased and irregular heart rate. Such a sudden death is often the result of inhaling butane, propane, and aerosols.

Another often cause of death from inhalant abuse is related to asphyxiation. This is the state in which fumes from the inhalants limit oxygen intake. There is also the risk of suffocating when using drugs with a plastic bag on the head, blocking air from getting to the lungs.

What are some of the symptoms of inhalants overdose? Most commonly, a person who is at risk of fatal overdose will experience seizures, coma, and hallucinations. Immediate medical intervention is required when an overdose is taking place. If you see someone exhibiting these or similar symptoms, don't hesitate to call an ambulance.

Inhalant overdose prevention

What is the best way to minimize the risk of overdosing on inhalants? As explained above, dealing with inhalants is risky, even when it's only a first try. The best method of avoiding risks associated with inhalant abuse and overdose is refraining from using them.

If you're addicted and unable to stop using inhalants, there are many ways through which you can receive help. There are support groups, substance use disorder therapies, mental health specialists, and family therapy mediators that can offer substantial support for those affected by inhalant addiction and their loved ones.

Where To Look for Help?

Inhalant use disorder may be incredibly difficult to battle on your own. Often, the support of specialists who know how to work with drug addiction can be immensely helpful. Many inhalant abusers find sufficient help while undergoing treatment for inhalents, whether it is through individual therapy and counseling or staying at the addiction treatment center.

Often, it's beneficial for addicts to go through behavioral therapy, which focuses on understanding the underlying issues that led to addiction and how to navigate them better in the future.

The support of family and friends is also invaluable, as a strong support system promotes recovery and staying in sobriety.

Find the Help You Deserve

The most important thing to remember is that you don't have to stay with your addiction alone. In our Residential Rehab in Thailand, you can find the help you deserve. Our team of specialists will consider your individual needs and predispositions and create a personalized treatment program for you, so you can work on your recovery in the most productive and harmonious way.

At Miracles Asia, you'll be able to benefit from medical assistance to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms. You'll also be able to go through individual therapy, which will shine a light on your addiction mechanisms and triggers and how to manage them.

Our group recovery sessions are also an important part of our treatment program, allowing you to express your feelings, thoughts, and experiences with a group of people who are going through the same thing.

You'll also find time to relax and explore the beauty of Phuket. Beautiful beaches and forests create the perfect atmosphere to promote healing and finding balance that you'll be able to take with you once you leave our program.

See what we can do for you and how you can change your life for the better.

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