On hearing the term substance abuse, one is usually reminded of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription opioid abuse. However, the spectrum of substance abuse is not so limited. Surprisingly, the abuse of household inhalants like toilet cleaners, hair spray, paint thinner, gasoline, glue and others also falls under the ambit of substance abuse. And sadly, the abuse of these inhalants is a growing problem among teens and young adults in the recent times.
Commonly known as huffing, inhalants are primarily abused to experience mind-altering effects caused either due to the depression of the central nervous system (CNS) or relaxation of the blood vessels. According to experts, volatile inhalants like glue, cheap rubber cement, markers or nail polish remover are essential daily items kept unguarded and within the reach of children. However, they happen to be the first drugs to be commonly abused by youngsters.
Unfortunately, despite the prevalence of inhalant abuse, very less attention is paid toward the concern. The U.S. government is failing to realize that the problem can add to the existing opioid crisis already affecting millions of people economically, socially and psychologically.
Forgotten epidemic of inhalant abuse
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 600,000 Americans aged 12 years and older were current users of inhalants. Still, inhalant abuse is the least-studied form of substance abuse. Majority of the users abuse inhalants only to experience their euphoric effects. Inhalants offer rapid intoxication that can last from 45 seconds to 45 minutes, depending on the strength of the substance. However, an abuse occurs when the substance is overused to maintain the level of intoxication.
Inhalants can be abused in various ways. They can be inhaled as vapor directly from the container, by sniffing the bag where it is sprayed or poured, or by placing a rag soaked with the substance over the mouth or nose. Although the method of using the inhalant plays a significant role in deciding the level of harm, every inhalant has an equivalent potential to cause severe and permanent damage to the body, including death that commonly occurs due to suffocation when sniffed from a bag.
When inhaled or sniffed, the chemicals in the inhalants get absorbed by the fatty tissues of the brain and nervous system and cause dizziness, headache, slurred speech, nausea, unconsciousness or hallucinations. Meanwhile, the continuous use of these substances results in permanent damage like irregular heartbeats or heart failure, damage of organs like the brain, kidney, liver or lungs, loss of hearing and increased risk of developing cancer.
Recovery from inhalant abuse
The fact that inhalants are legal to purchase and easily available as common household products makes them an effortless option for children and teenagers looking for substances to abuse. Additionally, with the majority of parents being unaware of the addiction potential these have, it becomes easier for the children to use them.
However, identifying an abuse of inhalants can be difficult without medical diagnosis. Amidst, symptoms like poor appetite, frequent bleeding of nose, impaired sense of smell, residual chemical smell on the person’s clothes or breath and others can be pointing to inhalant abuse.
Fortunately, seeking an immediate inhalants abuse treatment with the onset of these symptoms can help in preventing the greater damage, and recovering from the dependence. If you are looking for inhalants abuse treatment center, contact Sovereign Health of California to understand the best suitable treatment for inhalants abuse for you or a loved one, battling an addiction to inhalants. Call us at our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our admission counselor for further assistance.