What You Need to Know About Inhalant Abuse

Paint cans

The opioid crisis has been receiving a lot of attention (as it should), but there are other threats that are lurking in the shadows. One of the most concerning is inhalant abuse, particularly because young children have been known to engage in this risky behavior. “Sniffing” can begin in kids as young as 10, and by age 12, nearly 60% of kids are aware of friends who use “huffing” to get high.

Let’s learn more about inhalant abuse, the signs to watch for and when Arizona drug rehab is needed.

What is Huffing and What Makes it So Dangerous?

Inhalants include compressed air or duster, gasoline, aerosol cooking spray, aerosol whipped cream or rubber cement. When sniffed, it provides a high that is similar to alcohol. What makes inhalants so dangerous is that they are found all over the home, in kitchens, bathrooms and garages. There are thousands of inhalants available and most can be purchased from an ordinary grocery store for a few dollars. This gives curious teens and young adults a whole new arsenal to experiment with.

Inhalant abuse is extremely risky and potentially deadly because it starves off human oxygen. Usually, the effects are short and wear off in a few minutes, which encourages repeated use. Even if the user doesn’t have any immediate side effects, constantly depriving the body of oxygen can have long-term consequences, including damage to the liver, brain and kidneys.

What are the Signs?

Inhalant abuse is often believed to be a teenage problem, but don’t be misled. As this article points out, approximately 316,000 inhalant users in 2014 were adults. This number has remained steady for the past 10 years.

Child or adult, here are the signs to look for that may indicate inhalant abuse.

  • Chemical smells on clothing

  • Slurred speech

  • Loss of appetite

  • Drunk appearance

  • Stains on clothing

  • Empty containers

  • Chemical-soaked rags

  • Depression and mood changes

  • Weight loss

  • Inattentiveness

  • Lack of coordination

  • Irritability

  • Weakness

When is Rehab in Arizona Needed?

Inhalant abuse can benefit from professional intervention. In fact, it’s very hard to break an inhalant addiction because temptation is everywhere, making it easy to relapse. Inhalant abuse also leads to changes in the brain, so many users need to be treated for a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse. It’s recommended that treatment includes the following:

  • Medical examination to check the kidneys, liver, heart and nervous system

  • Detox, which can last longer than a week because the chemicals can settle in the fatty tissues

  • Counseling, which should be intense as the chemicals may have altered brain chemistry

  • Continuing care plan to address how the person will manage temptation in their natural environment

Inhalant abuse is not only for young people, and it’s certainly not innocent. It can very easily lead to brain damage, coma or death. Treatment is crucial so please call a treatment center like The River Source to learn about your options.