Inhalant abuse is whereby a person breathes in or inhales a mind-altering substance for the purpose of feeling a ‘high’. These substances can be either solvents like rubbing alcohol, Aerosols like a spray air freshener, gases such as air duster cans or butane or nitrates also known as whippets. The most popular form of inhalant is nitrous oxide, known as ‘laughing gas’ which can be found in whipped cream containers and bought online hence the name, “whippet”. Other popular forms of inhalants are deodorant cans, paint thinners and cleaning products.
According to the University of Florida Health, inhalants first became popular with younger teens in the 1960’s with sniffing glue. Today, those abusing inhalants have gone beyond glue and get high a number of different chemicals. It is believed that inhalants are still primarily used by younger generations, and although addictions may not be as prevalent as addictions to cocaine or prescription medication, inhalant addiction can still have a significant impact on a person and their loved ones if is not addressed and treated by professionals.
What is an inhalant addiction?
Inhalants provide the user with a short-lived, mind-altering ‘high’ which mimics the effects of alcohol; leaving the user feeling briefly disorientated and euphoric.
If you or a loved one are using inhalants regularly and over a long period of time, and if the volume of inhalant use is dependent on stressors or inhalants are used as a coping mechanism, there is a high risk of inhalant addiction developing. Furthermore, if a person is unable to cut down or stop using inhalants, even though they are fully aware of the negative health benefits or have already suffered negative consequences as a result of using inhalants, this would be considered an addiction.
The fact that most inhalants are legal, cheap and readily available either in the home or supermarkets mean that it can be incredibly difficult for a person to overcome an addiction to inhalants without professional assistance.
Signs and Symptoms of an inhalant addiction
As a less well-known addiction, it can be difficult to spot the signs of inhalant addiction without any kind of prior indication that there may be a problem. However, if you have begun to notice different, strange behavior in a loved one, or if you yourself are unsure whether you have become addicted to inhalants, here is a list of common signs and symptoms to consider;
- Do you, or a loved one spend more time alone or isolated themselves in their bedroom, avoiding contact with family and friends who don’t use inhalants?
- Have you noticed a change in behavior in yourself or loved one; more distant, combative, defensive, tearful or disorientated?
- Do you or a loved one feel panicky or anxious at the prospect of spending time away from inhalants, going to places where there are no inhalants or the opportunity to use inhalants?
- Have you, or a loved one become more forgetful, absent-minded and less motivated to take part in activities and hobbies which were important before?
- Have you, or a loved one made attempts to stop using inhalants, but found the cravings to use them too much to cope with, and so continued to use them?
Treatment options for inhalant addiction
It can be incredibly difficult to admit that there is a problem with you or a loved one’s inhalant use is a problem. Brushing the problem under the carpet and trying to continue on, ignoring the problem can be an easy short-term fix, but ultimately the condition will worsen over time and become even more difficult to manage.
If you can relate to the signs and symptoms listed above, it is vital that you seek help as soon as possible from a professional treatment center, like Beachcomber.
At Beachcomber, we understand how difficult it can be to make the first initial steps, as well as the hard work and determination necessary to go through a treatment program. So, we aim to make all our clients feel as comfortable as possible, embedding empathy, compassion and understanding in all our services, which include;
- Inpatient Residential Treatment
- One-to-one Therapy
- Group therapy
- Family/couples therapy
- Rapid Resolution Therapy
- Outpatient Treatment
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
- Light-Sound Neurotherapy