Many people have the impression that inhalants are somehow safer than other mind-altering drugs because they are legal, easy to obtain and inexpensive. But common substances such as glue, cleaning fluid, paint thinners and literally hundreds more home and office products become dangerous, even deadly, when they are used as inhalants.
Inhalants contain toxic, highly concentrated chemicals that can cause damage to the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. The long-term negative effects of inhalant use include brain damage, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss and bone marrow damage. Certain inhalants can cause heart failure in a matter of minutes – called sudden sniffing death syndrome – and it can happen to an otherwise healthy person even if it’s their first time using inhalants.
Studies have found that more than 20 million people in the U.S. have used inhalants, which are defined as substances that are commonly abused only by inhaling.
There are three basic methods used for inhaling, including huffing (substance is soaked into a rag then inhaled through the mouth), sniffing (similar to huffing, but inhaled through the nose), and bagging (substance is placed a bag and inhaled through the nose and mouth). When users breathe in the dangerous chemical fumes, it produces an intense but brief high, lasting only a few minutes. Many users prolong their high by repeating the inhaling process again and again.
Offices and homes everywhere contain items that include chemicals that could produce a high when inhaled – more than 1,000 products have been identified as being used as inhalants. They generally fall into four categories:
The fumes from these products act on your central nervous system and slow down your brain activity. Common side effects of inhalants are distorted speech, dizziness and euphoria. People who inhale repeatedly often feel less self-conscious and less in control of their surroundings.
Some users also feel light-headed or have hallucinations.
Your personalized recovery plan at Golden Peak Recovery is based on a thorough assessment of your physical and mental condition and a comprehensive look at your history of inhalants abuse. We also consider any co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression that could contribute to your addiction. And we look carefully for any health-related issues that could have been caused by your use of inhalants and may require special medical care.
For many people, we have found the safest way to recover from inhalants abuse is with our residential, in-patient treatment program that provides 24/7 care and supervision in a secure setting where you will not have access to any products that can be used as inhalants.
As you begin drug rehab, you may require a medical detox program, depending on what inhalants you used and how long you used them. Our team is trained to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible as you deal with the withdrawal symptoms. This process can take longer than it does with other drugs because the chemicals in the inhalants build up in your heart, brain, liver and muscles, and it takes time to get them completely out of your body.
After detox, our therapists and counselors use cognitive-behavioral therapy, group and one-on-one counseling, and other therapies to address your co-occurring disorders and educate you on the dangers of using inhalants. We teach you life skills and coping mechanisms that help you learn how to replace your harmful actions with more positive behaviors. And after your residential program is complete, we provide support services to help you maintain your sobriety and avoid relapse in the future.