Inhalant Addiction: The Dangers of Huffing Toxic Household Chemicals
As with every substance, repetitive use of inhalants can quickly turn into an addiction and cause long-term complications for the user. The Journal of Neurology recently stated that inhalant abuse is “rapidly rising” in the United States, making drug rehab for inhalant addiction even more vital.
What Are Inhalants?
You likely have inhalants at your home or office. They are products like spray paint, cleaning products, and glue. While they are not intended to get high, people can use the substances to achieve mild-altering effects. Inhalants represent a class of drugs taken by inhalation and include solvents, aerosol sprays, gases, and nitrites. Other examples of inhalants include:
- Paint thinners
- Lighter fluid
- Felt-tip markers
- Hair spray
- Aerosol computer cleaner
- Permanent markers
- Whipped cream dispensers (whippets)
- Nitrous oxide
- Room air freshener spray
- Leather cleaner
Who Is Most at Risk for Inhalant Abuse and Addiction?
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is administered annually to school-aged kids, 12 and older, to analyze drug use, substance use disorders, and mental health issues. Recent surveys have found that 1.8 million people 12 and older had used inhalants within the last year to get high.
Unfortunately, due to the easy accessibility and legal prevalence of inhalants, adolescents are at high risk of developing inhalant addiction. Inhalants offer a unique appeal to adolescents because the substances provide a fast, short-acting high, are often found in their home, can be purchased at most stores, and can be easily concealed. The survey also indicated that teens in rural and urban settings have an increased risk of inhalant abuse.
Statistics on Inhalant Abuse in America
When delving into the statistics of drug addiction relating to inhalants, it’s clear that adolescents are at risk of developing an inhalant addiction. Some stats to be aware of include:
- Roughly 9% of Americans 12 and older have used inhalants at least once in their lifetime
- Experimenting with inhalants usually starts early. 58% of users report they first used them by the end of 9th grade
- White and Hispanic students reported lifetime use that was double that of African Americans
- Children of parents without higher education have an increased risk for inhalant abuse
- A recent study showed, there was an estimated 140,000 cases of inhalant addiction
- That same year, there were more than 10,000 emergency room visits that were a result of inhalant abuse
The Dangers of Abusing Inhalants
Inhalants, also known as whippets or huff, can cause serious long-term complications with chronic use. The high from inhalants is experienced within seconds of inhaling. Instant effects include:
- Slurred speech
- Inability to control movements
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Nausea and vomiting
Long-term use can cause:
- Substance use disorder
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Mild to severe dementia
- Kidney and liver damage
- Hearing loss
- Brain and nerve damage
- Limb spasms
Like alcohol intoxication, inhalants can impair motor functioning and judgment, but they can also have hallucinatory effects. Another difference is that the effects only last a few minutes. If you or someone you love are struggling with inhalant abuse and needs drug rehab, there is hope for recovery at The Source treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Please call our compassionate and knowledgeable treatment specialists at (800) 204-0418 to learn how we can connect you with the resources and support you need to achieve recovery.