Inhalants Symptoms Signs of Addiction
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What is Inhalant Addiction?
Inhalant addiction is a highly dangerous chemical addiction resulting from inhaling certain types of toxic substances or inhalant medications. Inhalation can be deliberate or accidental and creates an intoxicating effect on the brain.
Research indicates that over 22 million Americans over the age of 12 have used inhalants. However, inhalant use is sometimes referred to as “the forgotten epidemic” and is less studied than other forms of substance abuse. It is also known as “huffing.” And it’s important to recognize the signs of huffing.
This may be because many inhalants are common household and office products, including:
- Spray paint
- Nail polish
- Whipped cream dispensers
- Cleaning supplies
- Room fragrance
These products are legal, affordable, and easily found in homes, schools, and offices. Therefore, they are not typically considered “drugs” by family members, legislators, and concerned parties.
Other than self-reported data and medical reports, tracking the use of the substances is hard since buying or selling illicitly is rare. However, just because the substances used can be purchased in stores does not mean they are not dangerous. Inhalant addiction can have serious, even fatal, consequences.
Effects of Inhalant Addiction
Different types of inhalant drugs can produce varied effects, but typically they produce a rapid “high,” which may resemble alcohol intoxication. However, like many drugs that produce a rapid high, such as crack cocaine, the effect of inhalants also dissipates quickly.
The combination of quick euphoria and sudden crash drives users to repeatedly inhale toxic chemicals to maintain the giddy, light-headed, or intoxicated sensation. Inhalation can be very dangerous as these chemicals can have immediately detrimental effects on the body. Medical issues resulting from inhalant abuse can include:
- choking on vomit
These effects can happen even after a single use of a powerful inhalant. Even if someone does not experience one of these potentially fatal issues, there are long-term health consequences to inhalant use. And another reason it is important to know the signs of huffing.
With ongoing abuse, liver and kidney damage, brain damage, and impaired cognitive function can occur. Central nervous system damage can also occur that is similar to that experienced by those with multiple sclerosis.
These drugs may be inhaled straight from the container. However, they are sometimes placed on rags or in bags and put over the face. These strategies are by far the most dangerous since they can result in suffocation. Rags laying near inhalant containers is one of many signs of huffing.
Fire and chemical burns are also serious dangers that can result from inhalant abuse. These burns are from users handling toxic and explosive chemicals, and users may lose consciousness. It can also be easy to overlook the fact that inhalants can be addictive. As with any substance that influences brain chemistry, there are often symptoms of withdrawal, like headache, nausea, insomnia, depression, and behavioral issues.
Over time, inhalant abuse can become increasingly hard to hide, and some signs of huffing include:
- Red eyes, flushed face or runny, irritated nasal passages
- Apparent intoxication
- Poor academic performance
- Social isolation
- Behavioral disruptions
- Missing or stolen money
- A strong chemical smell on breath, face, hands, or clothes
- Paint, marker, or chemical damage on clothes
- Chemical soaked rags
- Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
- Depression or disengagement
- Poor physical coordination
- Trouble sleeping
- Overheard use of street names for inhalants, such as air blast, hippie crack, moon gas, poor man’s pot, rush, snappers, whippets, and whiteout
Mental Illness and Inhalant Addiction
Inhalant addiction can affect different age groups; and rarely result from accidental misuse of household and industrial chemicals. Inhalant addiction is most common in young adults and adolescents under the age of 25 who are looking to experience a high.
Issues of peer pressure, depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and social isolation are common motivating factors for inhalant addiction. Furthermore, as with many substance use disorders, inhalant addiction can perpetuate many of the issues that motivate inhalant abuse.
For example, inhalant use frequently reduces inhibition and erratic behavior, which can damage relationships and increase social isolation. This isolation can worsen depression and increase the likelihood of abusing inhalants again. The use of inhalants to reduce the effect of insomnia also often worsens underlying insomnia. Worsening insomnia can result in sleep deprivation, increased depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.
Treatment and Inhalant Addiction
Some individuals who struggle with inhalant addiction may require a medical detoxification process. The withdrawal experience from inhalants is not often as complicated or medically as dangerous as alcohol or heroin.
That said, inpatient rehabilitation may still be very beneficial, especially for younger adults, for whom peer pressure is a barrier to recovery. Much of the treatment process for inhalant abuse focuses on counseling and behavioral solutions. These solutions include 12-step programs, family counseling, one-to-one therapy, and other resources.
Additionally, a therapist or treatment team will work to help uncover the underlying cause of inhalant addiction. Underlying causes could be depression, social anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and self-esteem issues.
Immediate Placement in Inhalants Rehab
A professional counselor will help those in recovery develop coping mechanisms and understand the motivating triggers of their addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also be highly effective in breaking the cycle of addiction. This therapy helps with the management of stressors, as well as feelings of self-sabotage and guilt.
Providing a flexible and personalized treatment experience for those in recovery is also important since no two journeys are the same. To that end, recovery centers may also utilize nutrition counseling, financial counseling, fitness programming, lifestyle counseling, and art and music therapy. These, with other holistic treatments, help reduce isolation and empower those in recovery to start a new, healthier life.
No matter your financial situation, there are still affordable recovery opportunities available to you and your family. And Resurgence Behavior Health wants to help take the stress and anxiety out of your recovery journey. Resurgence offers a welcoming environment designed to be flexible and affordable.
We accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment. Worried about your insurance? Don’t be. Our team will communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf, helping to reduce barriers to your recovery. Resurgence offers payment plans that work with most financial situations so that money never prevents you from seeking the treatment you deserve.
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How to Get Help
You can beat inhalant addiction. And Resurgence can help. We understand your struggle, and our experienced and empathetic staff can help you break the cycle. We know that no two addiction journeys are alike, and our programs are customizable, so you get the care and compassion you need.
We offer diverse, customized care options, such as social and medical drug detoxification, residential, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs. We have state of the art recovery resources to support and empower you to take the next step toward holistic wellness.
That is why Resurgence Behavioral Health is Orange County’s foremost drug and alcohol treatment center. Our team includes addiction specialists, medical professionals, certified addiction counselors, and licensed therapists. We are Joint Commission, CARF, and ADP certified and can provide you with the care you can trust.
Resurgence’s gorgeous residential locations are in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, and Fullerton Hills. Our program also offers an Outpatient Campus, with communal spaces, a computer lab, ponds, and water features, to help you relax and focus.
Call Resurgence Behavioral Health, and begin your healing today.