If you have a problem with inhalants, household and industrial chemicals that contain unstable vapors or pressurized gases, which can be concentrated and breathed in through the nose or mouth to produce a euphoric high, you are not alone. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, over 22 million people in America have admitted to abusing inhalants.
Also, an estimated 750,000 Americans will start abusing these dangerous chemicals every year, according to the same study data. While opioids and other harder drugs have been taking center-stage for years, inhalant abuse represents an equally chronic and pervasive problem in America. And those who abuse these substances are putting their lives at risk.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INHALANTS
In simple terms, inhalants are any household or industrial chemicals that can be used to derive hallucinogenic or other euphoric effects. For example, many people will inhale the nitrous oxide typically found in hair spray to get high. The same also applies to prescription-based inhalers, such as albuterol, for example, which is commonly prescribed to treat respiratory problems. However, according to several studies, most people who abuse inhalants often gravitate toward legal household substances as they are the most accessible and contain the highest concentration of intoxicating chemicals. Some of the more popular legal household products that contain intoxicating chemicals include
Aerosols – These are products that contain fine particles or liquid droplets, which are enclosed under pressure and can be released as either a fine mist or spray. Commonly abused aerosol-based products include cooking oil sprays, insect repellents, and deodorant sprays. Inhaling aerosols can adversely affect the central nervous system and, over time, lead to a decline in brain activity.
Volatile solvents – In many cases, those seeking an even more potent high will inhale volatile solvents, such as permanent markers, glue, lighter fluid, and paint thinners, for example. The chemicals in these products can quickly alter synaptic transmissions that affect critical circuits in the brain, including the medial prefrontal cortex and the mesolimbic dopamine system.
Gases – To derive a euphoric high, many individuals will inhale the nitrous oxide commonly found in lighters, propane tanks, and refrigerants.
Nitrites – Commonly used to treat chest pain, nitrites can be inhaled to trigger a euphoric high. However, given that an individual will need a prescription from a licensed physician to obtain them, nitrites are not abused as frequently as other inhalants. Nonetheless, some of the more popular ones include isoamyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite, and cyclohexyl nitrite.
WHAT DOES GETTING HIGH FROM INHALANTS ENTAIL?
Getting high from inhalants involves breathing dangerous chemicals into the lungs; however, there are several ways to go about doing so, some of which include spraying them directly into the nose or by inhaling rags that have been soaked in the dangerous chemicals. Some individuals may also choose to engage in sniffing, snorting, or bagging as a way to get high from these chemicals as well. Regardless of the approach, the high derived from abusing inhalants can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
COMMON INHALANT WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
Fortunately, many individuals who abuse inhalants have recognized that doing so can significantly jeopardize their health and have decided to seek help for their addiction. Similar to drugs or alcohol, overcoming an addiction to inhalants will require going through detox, which can be especially taxing on the body. Some of the more common inhalant withdrawal symptoms include
- Rapid pulse
- Profuse sweating
- Panic attacks
In addition to these symptoms, some individuals will also experience grand mal seizures while detoxing from inhalants, which can trigger a loss of consciousness as well as violent muscle contractions. Because all of the symptoms associated with coming off of inhalants are severe, most rehab facilities will strongly encourage patients to undergo medication-assisted detox. This aspect of addiction recovery involves 24-hour monitoring by physicians or addiction experts as an individual goes through detox. During this time, they will also be provided with prescription-based medication to help ease severe withdrawal symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE LONG AND SHORT-TERM EFFECTS OF ABUSING INHALANTS?
Studies show that those who do not seek treatment and continue to abuse inhalants have a high chance of experiencing significant long and short-term health problems, which can include
- Muscle fatigue
- Impaired judgment
- Vision and hearing problems
- Heart palpitations
- Kidney or liver damage
- Breathing problems
- Depleted bone marrow
While inhalant abuse may not get the same amount of attention as other substance abuse problems in America, it is still a problem that is impacting the lives of many people. If you would like to learn more about the damaging effects of inhalants or would like to begin addiction recovery treatments, consider speaking with one of our associates today at (866) 840-6411.