San Diego Inhalant Abuse And Treatment Programs
One of the greatest dangers of inhalants is that they are so readily available. Homes and office buildings everywhere contain items that can be used as inhalants – glue, shoe polish, felt tip markers, cleaning fluids, hair spray, nail polish remover, correction fluid, pain thinners … the list goes on and on. And unlike alcohol or drugs, most inhalants can be purchased legally and cheaply by anyone, even children.
More than 20 million people in the U.S. have used inhalants at least once in their lives, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Many of these people use inhalants without being aware that their behavior can have serious health consequences. Even when inhalants are used just one time, they can cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and liver, and in some cases can even cause death from cardiac arrest or suffocation.
While many substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” refers specifically to those that are commonly used only by inhaling. Users breathe in the dangerous chemical fumes through their mouth or nose, which produces an intense but very brief high, sometimes lasting only a few minutes. Many users attempt to prolong the experience by repeating the inhaling process over and over.
The long-term negative effects of inhalant use include:
- Bone marrow damage
- Brain damage
- Hearing loss
- Liver and kidney damage
- Spasms and loss of coordination
Identifying The Different Types Of Inhalants
There and four main types of inhalants:
- Solvents: These include household or industrial products such as paint thinners, lighter fluid, and dry-cleaning fluids. Art or office supply solvents used as inhalants include glue, the fluid in felt-tip markers, correction fluid, and others.
- Aerosols: Sprays that contain solvents and propellants are among the most dangerous inhalants. Spray paint, hair spray, spray deodorant, fabric protector spray and cooking spray are all examples of aerosol inhalants.
- Gases: Both medical anesthetic gases, as well as gases found in household products, are used as inhalants. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is one of the most popular gas inhalants. In addition to its medical use, it can also be found in whipped cream dispensers and in certain products that increase the octane levels in automobile engines. Propane tanks, butane lighters, and refrigerants are other gases used as inhalants.
- Nitrites: Nitrites are different from other inhalants in that they primarily dilate blood vessels and relax muscles, with other inhalants act directly on the central nervous system. Commonly sold as “poppers” or “snappers,” they are primarily used as sexual enhancers. Nitrites have been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission but can still be found, usually packaged as small bottles of “leather cleaner” or “liquid aroma.”
How Are Inhalants Used?
There are three basic methods used for inhaling:
- Huffing: Users soak a rag or cloth in the desired substance, place the rag over their mouth, then inhale.
- Sniffing: Similar to huffing, except the rag is placed over the nose and the substance is inhaled nasally.
- Bagging: Users place the substance in a plastic or paper bag, then place the bag over their nose and mouth to inhale.
How We Treat Inhalants Abuse At Hope Canyon
If you are addicted to inhalants, the safest path to recovery is our in-patient, residential rehab program. We provide around-the-clock care and supervision in a secure environment where you will not have access to any products that can be used as inhalants.
When you first come to Hope Canyon, we put together a personalized recovery plan based on a thorough assessment of your physical and mental condition. We consider any co-occurring mental health disorders – such as depression or anxiety – that could be a root cause of your inhalants abuse, and we look for any health-related issues that could have been caused by your use of inhalants and may require special care.
Depending on what inhalants you use and how long you’ve been using them, you may experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms and require a medical detox program. Detox from inhalants can take longer than other drugs because the chemicals in the inhalants build up in your heart, liver, muscles and brain, and it takes time to flush them all from your body.
After detox, as part of drug rehab we address your psychological dependence on inhalants through cognitive-behavioral therapy, group and one-on-one counseling, and other therapies to treat your co-occurring disorders and educate you on the dangers of using inhalants. After your residential program is complete, we provide ongoing support services to help you avoid relapse and stay away from inhalants for good.