Huffing & Inhalant Addiction Treatment
Doing whippets or sniffing markers and glues are often seen as jokes among teenagers. They are often unaware that inhalants can be both physically and psychologically addictive. Recent studies have concluded that the average age a person tries inhalants for the first time is just 12 or 13 years old.
The prevalence of inhalant use is highest among teenagers, especially in areas of the country that are less densely populated. Common household products that are found in homes all over the US that are used harmlessly as inhalants to pass the time, can instantly become deadly.
What are Inhalants?
Many industrial and home products can be used as inhalants. They are substances that are volatile and often flammable, such as cleaners or paints and even some types of medication like nitrates. These substances vaporize at room temperature and produce effects similar to alcohol. However, the effects are short-lived and require multiple doses to maintain a “high”.
A variety of substances can be inhaled, and some have more common names like whippets or huff. People can use cleaning products, anesthetics, or even gasoline as inhalants. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas which is commonly found in dentists’ offices, is also found in cans of whipped cream and in this form is known as a whippet.
Inhalants fall into four different classes: aerosols, gasses, solvents, and nitrates.
- Aerosols include:
- Spray paint
- Deodorant spray
- Hair spray
- Butane lighters
- Whipped cream cans and other nitrous oxide sources
- Propane tanks
- Lighter fluid
- Paint thinners
- Nail Polish
- Certain cleaners like leather cleaners or electronic cleaners
- Room sprays and other liquid fragrances
How Inhalants Are Used
As the name suggests, inhalants are inhaled to feel their effects. They can be used in a variety of ways with the most common being “bagging” or “huffing”. Often this is done by soaking a rag in liquid and inhaling the vapors through the nose and/or mouth. Another way is by filling a bag or balloon with the liquid and inhaling the fumes. Sometimes, the substance is breathed in directly from the container.
Physical Effects of Inhalants
Inhalant effects quickly occur and have similar effects as ingesting alcohol, however, the effects are short-lived and last only minutes. Usually, users will inhale multiple doses in a session
Someone who is under the influence of inhalants may appear similar to someone who is under the influence of alcohol. Inhalants will deprive the body of oxygen, causing irregular or rapid heartbeat and forcing the heart to work harder than normal.
Physical effects include:
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Blacking out
Inhalants can be deadly and death can occur even the first time that the inhalant is used. They are considered central nervous system depressants, which makes them much more dangerous when combined with other depressants such as alcohol, opiates, or tranquilizers. A high dose can also cause death. Signs of an overdose include nausea or vomiting, and unconsciousness. Death from inhalants is usually a result of respiratory failure or heart failure.
There are also several negative consequences to long-term use of inhalants which sometimes can be irreversible, including:
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Bone marrow damage
- Liver or kidney damage
- Hearing loss or loss of sense of smell
Signs of Inhalant Abuse
Any use of inhalants is considered abuse. Inhalants can be both physically and psychologically addictive. A person can easily become dependent, even after just a few uses.
Signs of dependence include:
- Wanting to stop but unable to
- Stealing in order to get inhalants
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Trouble with personal relationships
- Continued use of inhalants despite knowing or experiencing negative consequences
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
Inhalant Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person becomes dependent on inhalants, they can experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop or significantly cut back on use. How severe withdrawal symptoms will depend on various factors, especially how long and how much the person used. A medically supervised detox treatment is recommended which can reduce withdrawal symptoms experienced and lessen the likelihood of relapse.
Those who have used inhalants over a period of just a few days report several withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating
Treatment for Inhalant Abuse
It is vital for those who are abusing inhalants to get help immediately. Medically supervised detox treatment is essential to help reduce many of the severe withdrawal symptoms and also increase the chances of completing the detox process. If you or someone you love is ready to stop using inhalants, DayBreak Treatment Solutions can help you on the road to recovery.
Immediate treatment can help heal the mental and physical health effects of inhalant abuse. DayBreak Treatment Solutions’ comprehensive programs can walk you through the recovery process and be the support needed to successfully recover from substance abuse. Our inpatient drug and alcohol detox treatments offer 24/7 medical supervision to ensure your comfort and safety through the withdrawal process.
After detox treatment is complete, you can transition into one of our rehab programs including Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Partial Hospitalization Treatment, both of which are tailored to each client. All our treatment programs include individual or group therapy, gender-specific therapy, relapse prevention, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, to help you transition back into society while sober, we offer sober living aftercare. Please contact us today to start your journey to a better you.