Last Updated on November 19, 2021 by Ben Lesser
Inhalant abuse is the intentional inhalation of a volatile substance to achieve an altered mental state. Also referred to as tense substance abuse. Inhalant drug abuse being a global issue that is particularly prevalent among people from minority and disadvantaged groups and is closely linked to social determinants of health. When opposed to other drug abuse types, it disproportionately impacts younger children and crosses social and racial lines who are more active inhalant abusers. Inhalants are a wide range of pharmacologically diverse products highly sort after because for their low cost, legal and ability to induce euphoria quickly. Chronic abuse has serious and often irreversible consequences. The emotional, physical, and social conditions of those affected have improved significantly due to widespread screening and early referrals to recovery services.
Sniffing means inhaling fumes directly, from a plastic tube, ‘huffing’ from a rag coated in the material placed on the mouth, ‘gliding’ from air freshener and ‘dusting’ from aerosol cleaners which often leads to inhalant abuse. To achieve the most extreme euphoric effects, repeated intense inhalations which are often necessary. The brain is affected quickly due to high absorption and lipid solubility. The method of inhaling the drug with the highest concentration of inhaled chemicals is also known as bagging or huffing which is thought to be the most common means among the inhalant abusers.
Inhalant abuse has similar effects to anesthetics, including disinhibition. The rebreathing process makes the intoxication better by inducing hypoxia and hypercapnia. Because of the residual intoxication, drowsiness and headache will last for hours. The effects of inhalants range from simple depressants to those similar to benzodiazepines, alcohol, and barbiturates.
Contrary to other drugs, inhalant abusers usually do not display the same negative effects that the more commonly abused drugs do. A small amount of chemical is required for the effects to occur, the short-term effects are visible immediately, and they will disappear soon afterwards. The purchase of abused goods is usually legal, so their storage and purchase are less noticeable. Adversaries might slow excessive quantities of inhalants in odd locations (like under a child’s bed). inhalant abusers have odors on their breath and may show stains, paint chips, glitter, odor on clothes or skin.
Perioral dryness or pyodermas, nitrite abuser’s rashes, facial and nasal numbness, esophageal burns, and glottis are all possible symptoms facing the inhalant abusers. The neuropsychological effects include developing strong neuropsychological impairment and pulmonary toxic effects, including exacerbations of wheezing, emphysema, and dyspnea.
Symptoms of toxicity include ataxia, tremor, and nystagmus. Friends and family members who suspect child abuse may notice simple changes in thought processes, such as poor hygiene, exhaustion, nosebleeds, visual disorders, muscle weakness, nausea, apathy, poor appetite, or gastrointestinal complaints. Many forms of mood and anxiety disorders including personality disorders which are strongly linked to inhalant abuse, which should be considered during the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.
In many cases, how a drug arrives at the brain will indicate whether it produces a pleasurable effect. It is an inhalant abuse that leads to highs, as they provide rapid high due to toxic vapors. Inhalation of asbestos vapors results in rapid penetration. Aspirations then get inhaled, going through the blood system, reaching a person`s brain and the other related organs.
Inhalant Abusers Often Abuse Household Products, Including Alcoholic Beverages and Medicines.
- Shoe polish
- Paint solvents
- Correction fluid
- Lighter fluid
- Nail polish remover
The other thing about whippets is how popular they are to drug use. Still, it is sometimes misused and repurposed into a psychoactive substance that is highly addictive among the inhalant abusers. A whippet is an all-steel cylinder filled with nitrous oxide. Dentists use nitric oxide before administering Novocain injections or doing dental surgery.
Those Who May be at Risk
It has been noted that adolescents are more prone to inhalant abuse than the most, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). An initial study in 2011 found that the sharing of inhalants usage and abuse was approximately 13 % in eighth-graders. This rate decreased by nearly 7.5 % for 12th graders.
Recent studies from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health have revealed that the number of inhalant abusers has risen in countries around the world. A survey conducted by the American National Foundation for Addiction Studies found that 563,000 Americans of legal drinking age took an inhalant or stimulant in the past year. Another 0.5 per cent of respondents who were 12-17-year-old inhalant abusers came from this age group in this study. The abuse of inhalants is much more prevalent among young people than with their older counterparts.
Besides, according to the study, 0.6% of the youth between 12 and 15 years of age had used stimulants or inhalants within the past month, all of whom were not adults. The use of inhalants dropped to just 0.3 per cent for the age gap of 16-17. The same study found that 0.3% Americans who are in age category 18-25 had used some form of inhalant in the last month. This raises a concern as to why young population is an inhalant abuser and uncertain future projections.
What Are the Uses of Inhalants?
Young children and teens who make a higher percentage of inhalant abusers often use these drugs in different ways, demonstrating their dangerous ingenuity. The following methods are used to gather information:
- The act of inhaling vapors by inhaling with the mouth or nose through a timed pattern.
- Toxins in the toxin’s container can be inhaled directly after being sniffed or snorted.
- I’ve heard of people who spray an aerosol straight into their mouths or up their noses.
- Place a paper or fabric soaked in toxin into the mouth
- Taking in fumes that have been enclosed in a balloon or plastic/paper bag
A rise of inhalant abusers among the youth requires parents to be aware of the dangers of their use and their side effects. Despite their origin in products that can be found in virtually any toolbox or under almost any kitchen sink in America, these compounds are deadly if abused.
Inhalant Abuse and Its Dangers
A major factor contributing to their danger is that inhalant abusers are quick-acting. Inhalant users often use these intoxicants, and they can do so because many of these intoxicants can be found readily available, including aerosols, gases, and nitrates. There are many short-term side effects associated with the inhalant abuse.
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness
The use of inhalants can differ greatly among individuals; some will experiment with inhalant abuse, while others can be long-term users. Several potential health consequences may result from inhaling or ingesting inhalants such as:
- Kidney and liver damage
- Hearing loss
- Brain damage
With successive use, an inhalant abuser may self-induce psychosis, including hallucinations. It is also possible for a person to lose consciousness. Young people who are unaware of the dangers of inhaling toxins and who are young are often at a disadvantage because they may not comprehend the repercussions of their actions.
Inhalant abusers are vulnerable to sudden sniffing death syndrome (SSDS). Any time after the first use results in this fatal condition. Numerous products can trigger this syndrome, but particularly hazardous items include butane, air-conditioning coolant, oxygen-depleting sprays, and petroleum-based products. SSDS occurs when the heartbeat is accelerated due to inhalation of an intoxicant, resulting in cardiac arrest.
Can an Inhalant Abuser Overdose?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on inhalants. When a person takes too much of a drug, a toxic reaction occurs, resulting in extreme, life-threatening effects or death.
Convulsions and coma are possible outcomes of these symptoms. They have the potential to be lethal. The concentration of certain solvents and aerosol sprays is extremely high which means they are composed of a lot of active ingredients and chemicals. most inhalant abusers experience heart halt just in minutes. This may strike otherwise healthy young people who use an inhalant for the first time. Suffocation can occur when inhalants are used in a plastic bag or paper in a confined space.
What is the Best Way to Treat an Inhalant Overdose?
Since an inhalant overdose may trigger seizures or a heart attack, emergency room physicians attempt to treat the overdose by treating the underlying conditions. They’ll try to halt the seizure or re-start the heart.
Is it Possible for Inhalants to Cause Addiction?
Although it’s not very common, inhalant abusers show signs of addiction, which is a type of substance abuse disorder (SUD). When long-term use of a drug causes complications, such as health problems and inability to fulfill commitments at work, school, or home, an SUD develops. SUDs can range from mild to severe, with addiction being the most severe.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Inhalant Abusers May Include;
- Loss of appetite
- Problems sleeping
- Mood changes
Receiving Treatment as An Inhalant Abuser
Indeed, vaping does not possess the same physiological and behavioral effects as other drugs such as alcohol, but it does result in physical dependence. Among the most important factors of preventing stimulant abuse is limiting user’s reach to medications at first, but this may be challenging due to the ease with which these products may be readily available. An inpatient program is the best option for this purpose.
Individual and family counselling, group therapy, and family therapy are forms of psychological therapy that can be prescribed for people suffering from psychological dependence on inhalants. As a result of inhalant abusers receiving counselling, they become aware of the unseen causes of their behavior, and they learn about the dangers of its own.
Among the Help of Inhalant Abusers May Include Behavioral Therapy Which is Thought to be Helpful:
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy assists patients in recognizing, avoiding, and coping with their symptoms in cases where they are most likely to use. Motivational incentives uses vouchers or small cash rewards for positive behaviors such as staying drug-free.
Our mission at FRN is to provide with tailored recovery help tailored to each client’s individual needs while ensuring that our clients receive the highest quality of care. Irrespective of whether inhalant abusers are isolated or occur together with other debilitating mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, it can be dangerous. At our clinic, we offer a tailored treatment plan to the individual. Get in touch to discover more about your recovery options. Contact us today 615-490-9376 to get more help about inhalant abuse.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.