Inhalants have become an increasingly popular category of recreational drugs. These substances can exert a significantly deleterious impact upon the body. Additionally, these substances can be addictive and, when withdrawn, may produce a host of untoward and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Recognizing these physical manifestations might alert a family member or friend that their relative or loved one has been abusing such chemicals.
The Definition Of Inhalants
As the name implies, these substances are drugs that users inhale to absorb the highs produced by the chemicals contained within them. Many different chemicals produce fumes that elicit psychoactive, or mind-altering properties that lead to short lived highs and can often be found in common household items like:
- Aerosol sprays like air fresheners
- Paint thinners
- Gases such as propane
- Magic markers
Cleaning fluids In most instances, these products are favored by individuals seeking a quick high because they are not expensive, easy to purchase and do not require much preparation to use. Users can simply uncap many of these items, inhale associated fumes and anticipate the high each substance produces. Occasionally, the fumes are inhaled using different pieces of equipment.
Inhalants are most often used and abused by teens and young adults. However, individuals representing other age groups have been known to utilize these substances for untoward purposes as well.
The Bodily Impact Of Chronic Inhalant Usage
In the short-term, inhalation of these substances exercises a reduction in brain and central nervous system function. Such action can elicit physical manifestations such as a feeling of euphoria, dizziness, calmness, speech impediments, a lack of coordination and the onset of hallucinations.
Long-term exposure to inhalants can result in: *Permanent brain damage *Central nervous system damage leading to tremors *Kidney problems *Liver damage *Diminished hearing *Bone marrow problems *Behavioral or cognitive issues *Sudden cardiac death (from heart arrhythmias produced by certain substances)
Since the highs produced by many inhalants are shirt-lived, users must intake greater quantities of the substance with greater frequency to produce the intended effects and keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
Despite the dangerous, potentially life-altering and life-threatening maladies inhalants can cause, said substances can be physically addictive and those who attempt to abruptly cease usage may experience significant withdrawal symptoms. Relatives or other close relations of chronic inhalant abusers are advised to pay attention to the occurrence of numerous physical and personal manifestations.
Immediate withdrawal from specific inhalants might result in symptoms including:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased sweating
- Sleep disturbances
- Significant mood changes
- Cognitive disturbances like memory loss and concentration difficulties
Individuals, especially young people who abuse inhalants might be stricken with serious personal issues such as declining academic performance, a waning interest in activities said individuals enjoyed at one time, associating with a different group of peers and experiencing criminal or legal issues.
Steps Loved Ones Can Take
Confirm the Problem
Since the symptoms of inhalant use can mimic other forms of addiction, as well as a host of possible illnesses, discovering other clues might be necessary to confirm a parent or loved one’s suspicion. Such individuals are advised to:
- Detect the strong odor emitted by many inhalant substances on the young person’s clothing or other personal articles
- Check to see if the suspected youth’s personal articles 9such as backpacks) contain any cans or containers that might house inhalants.
- Review banking statements or check for receipts that might confirm the purchase of inhalant products.
Address The Issue
If a parent or loved one can confirm that their child is or has been using a particular inhalant, the youth in question should receive a medical evaluation. Medical professionals can determine how long the problem has been occurring, as well as to detect and potentially treat any associated health problems precipitated by the usage of these drugs.
Once the issue has been confirmed and a medical evaluation has been performed, the goal is to offer the user some form of drug treatment. Treatment will often be dictated by the severity of the addiction and the associated issues in play. However, various therapeutic protocols include cognitive therapy, addiction counseling, and biofeedback.