How to Recognize the Signs of Inhalant Addiction

Inhalant addiction is something that’s often overlooked. When people think of addiction, they think of someone misusing prescription drugs, indulging in illicit drugs, or binge drinking alcohol. Not many people would suspect that a can of whipped cream on the second shelf of the fridge would be a substance that would be abused. Therefore, this topic is not frequently discussed.

However, taking time to understand what inhalants are and the risks involved with misusing them can bring much-needed awareness. What’s more, young adults may find relief from inhalant abuse with 12 South Recovery. The good news is that when someone seeks addiction treatment, this can help them overcome inhalant addiction and significantly improve their quality of life.

What Are Inhalants?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an inhalant can be defined as a volatile substance that can produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled by individuals. Inhalants are known to induce a mind-altering, psychoactive effect. These substances can be found in several different products in various categories. These include:

  • Volatile solvents: These are liquids that, when vaporized and inhaled, can alter mood.
  • Aerosols: These are sprays that consist of solvents and propellants, which can also alter mood.
  • Gases: These are medical anesthetics, household, and commercial products and can alter mood.
  • Nitrates: These can be used to relax muscles and dilate blood vessels as well as for sexual enhancement.

Different Types of Inhalants

Based on the NIDA web page mentioned above, an individual with inhalant addiction will typically misuse any substance that is easily accessible. Depending on the product chosen, different effects may be produced. Therefore, an individual may intentionally choose a specific substance. For instance, an individual may choose “Texas Shoeshine.” This is a shoe polishing spray that is popular due to the fact the product contains a strong chemical substance called toluene. Other types of inhalants that may be used include:

  • Paint removers and thinners (solvent)
  • Gasoline (solvent)
  • Glues (solvent)
  • Spray paints (aerosol)
  • Vegetable oil sprays (aerosol)
  • Propane tanks (gas)
  • Refrigerants (gas)
  • Room deodorizers (nitrate)
  • Video head cleaning solution (nitrate)

The Dangers of Misusing Inhalants

According to NIDA, an individual who abuses inhalants generally inhales toxic fumes through their mouth and nose. The effects produced by inhalants typically only last about three minutes or less. Although this is true, many individuals try to extend the effects by repetitively inhaling the substance for hours on end.

Negative Effects of Inhalant Addiction

Misusing inhalants can have detrimental effects on an individual’s central nervous system. Abusing inhalants may work by slowing down an individual’s brain activity at a gradual rate. Short-term effects may include:

  • Distorted or slurred speech
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased coordination
  • Fainting

Long-term negative effects may consist of:

  • Damage to the liver or kidneys
  • Hearing impairment
  • Limb spasms
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Behavioral developmental delays
  • Brain damage

Additionally, misusing nitrate inhalants can lead to unsafe sexual activity and risky behavior as they are often misused to achieve sexual pleasure and improve performance levels.

How to Recognize Inhalant Addiction and Abuse

Early intervention can be the ultimate way to help someone stop abusing inhalants. Also, learning to identify inhalant addiction can significantly reduce the potential for any serious health risks. For example, a parent, family practitioner, or teacher may easily recognize an individual’s inhalant addiction by knowing the various signs. An individual may exhibit the following signs:

  • Slurred speech
  • Chemical odors on the breath or clothing
  • Paint stains on the face, clothing, or hands
  • Loose empty spray cans, solvent containers, chemical-soaked clothing, or rags
  • Inattentiveness, irritability, or depression
  • Nausea or reduced appetite

Engaging in a Decision-Making Process

It can be difficult to avoid inhalant triggers as most inhalants are basic household products. Removing kitchen staples may not be the easiest move. However, removing them can be a smart move, as intense cravings may be a serious challenge for individuals facing problems with inhalant addiction.

It can be distressing to see a loved one go through the phases of inhalant addiction. Seeing someone become a different person can be scary, and it also is hard to see their level of functioning decrease so markedly. Any type of addiction can make it incredibly hard to function daily. An individual with inhalant addiction may experience issues functioning in the workplace or even maintaining relationships with others. Choosing to surrender to addiction and mental health treatment may greatly improve the family’s quality of life as a whole.

Moving Forward With 12 South Recovery for Inhalant Addiction

When considering treatment for inhalant addiction, it can be hard to know where to turn. However, taking time to research and tour different treatment facilities can increase the odds of a successful outcome. Formally meeting the staff and getting a feel for the environment can help someone decide on the best-fitting environment for them. Here at 12 South Recovery, our team can help individuals decide what they need and what path may be required for healing.

At 12 South, we strive to get to the bottom of what led an individual down the path to inhalant abuse. Our staff understands that trauma is often linked with drug dependence. We have a team that is trained to diagnose and treat addiction and mental health issues, including a dual diagnosis that involves both types of issues. Our specialists can help individuals learn to safely recognize inhalant abuse and build a healthier future.

The effects of inhalant misuse can be dangerous to one’s health. Fortunately, we offer various programs to address the emotional, physical, and psychological aspects of inhalant addiction for long-term recovery.

Inhalant addiction is often overlooked. As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. At our facility, our goal is to provide you with compassionate care during your inhalant recovery through evidence-based treatment and the best in medical care. Many individuals with inhalant addiction also grapple with underlying mental health concerns. Our dual diagnosis program can be a great option for those who need additional support. We recognize that every individual’s journey to recovery is unique. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and are seeking professional care, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 for support.

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