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Treatment For Inhalant and Huffing Addiction
What is Huffing and Inhalant Abuse?
Inhalants are household and industrial substances that, while having another intended purpose, are inhaled through the nose or “huffed” (inhaled through the mouth) to experience an intoxicating high. This is known as “Huffing” by people that do it on a regular basis.
The term “inhalants” refers only to products that are sniffed or breathed in, and does not refer to inhaling the fumes from a heated or burning product.
Inhalants have psychoactive properties, meaning they put the user into an altered mental state, even if for only a very short time. Prolonged use can be mentally and physically addictive and difficult to quit without help or proper treatment.
Inhalants produce a short high similar to alcohol intoxification. Because they are readily available in most households, they are a favorite substance of misuse by teens.
Types of Inhalants That Are Misused
Inhalants are not controlled substances, and instead tend to be easily accessible, commonplace household items found in most homes that include many of the following shown below:
SolventsGlue, correction fluid, marker inks, gasoline, and lighter fluid.
Butane lighters, propane, whipped cream aerosols or whippets, nitrous oxide, and chloroform.
Hairspray, spray deodorant, spray paint.
NitritesLiquid fragrances, leather cleaner.
Whippets are a favorite because they can be purchased at many places and are easy to inhale by filling balloons with the gas.
The high from huffing inhalants generally only lasts for a few minutes, but users will sometimes inhale repeatedly in order to re-experience or prolong the effect of the product.
Efforts have been made by some manufacturers to discourage the use of their products as inhalants. In Australia, for example, bittering agents are often added to products that are frequently abused.
The effects of inhalants depend on the type, as well as the amount used. Many inhalants produce these effects because they inhibit oxygen intake from normal breathing.
Solvents (gasoline, contact cement) tend to act as depressants, so the effects are similar to those of alcohol consumption. Nitrous oxide can cause hallucinations.
Generally, the short-term inhalants effects are:
- Slurred speech
The side-effects of short-term inhalant misuse may include:
- Loss of motor
- Chemical burns
- Muscle weakness
- Involuntary eye movement
The long-term effects of inhalants may be:
- Long-term memory impairment
- Impairment of cognitive processing speeds
- Nerve damage
- Delayed psychological development
- Hearing loss
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
It is also possible to overdose while using inhalants. Due to their direct effects on the respiratory system, as well as their effects on the circulation and nervous systems, inhalants can be highly dangerous.
A fatal inhalant overdose can be due to asphyxiation or choking, cardiac arrest, heart attack, or hypoxia.
While considered uncommon by some, it is possible to develop an addiction to inhalants, a form of substance use disorder.
Those who have been using inhalants and suddenly stop may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Body aches
- Widespread or increased pain
- Agitation and irritability
- Stomach pain and nausea
American Inhalant Use and Treatment
Approximately 9% of the United States population 12 years or older has at least once used inhalants recreationally. 58% of these users report their first use of inhalants occurred before completing the ninth grade.
Due to their ease of accessibility, household products are often used as inhalants by younger people, as illustrated by the above statistics.
Many teens begin by sniffing glue or huffing paint because both are easy to hide and they fall under the radar of most parents. Even using aerosol cans such as Dust-Off filled with compressed air to clean computers wouldn’t draw any attention to getting high.
More than 750,000 people each year try using inhalants for the first time. While there is plenty of research yet to be done regarding the associations and effects of inhalant use, some of the serious acute and long-term effects physically, psychologically, and socially are already known.
Information about those at risk of inhalant use will increase the efficacy of preventative measures.
Until more information becomes available about evidence-based interventions for inhalant use, relapse prevention and motivational enhancement therapy are considered the most effective methods of intervention.
If you or someone you know might be considering behavioral treatment or relapse prevention therapy for inhalant use, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible before it goes too far or leads to stronger substances.
Call us toll-free at (888) 595-0235 to find out more about how our treatment programs in Los Angeles and Malibu, California can help with Inhalant Abuse or Misuse.