At first glance, glue, paints, cleaning products and aerosol hair sprays may not have much in common with serious drugs such as cocaine and heroin. However, they all have the potential to be addictive. Those common household objects are fine when you use them properly. But if you use them as inhalants, they can cause serious health problems. They can also become addictive, if you find that you need to inhale, or “huff,” these substances more and more often to get the high you are trying to chase. If this sounds like your situation, it may be time to ask yourself if you are addicted to inhalants.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 21.7 million Americans have tried using an inhalant at least once. What’s even more concerning is the high number of young people who have experimented with huffing: One survey pegged the number of American eighth-graders who have tried an inhalant at 13.1 percent. In addition to being widely available, especially to younger people, inhalants are also dangerous because the high they produce is quick, and users tend to huff frequently to replicate that high. That repeated use can lead to health problems such as heart arrhythmia, lowered oxygen levels and even organ damage that can lead to death.
Inhalants can be taken in a variety of ways: spraying aerosols into the nose or mouth; snorting fumes, either directly from the container or from a bag filled with the substance; or huffing them from a rag soaked with the substance and then put in the mouth. Because these inhalants are easy to obtain and use, you can run the risk of addiction. In turn, it can cause serious difficulties for your career and relationships, and young users can suffer a drop in grades and other school-related problems. It’s important to recognize if you have an addiction to inhalants and seek out professional help.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction?
Inhalants affect the brain in many ways, generally creating a pleasurable sensation either via the central nervous system or by relaxing the blood vessels. Some liken it to the effect of alcohol on the body, with an initial burst of enthusiasm and excitability, which leads to feeling lightheaded or sleepy, along with a loss of control. A solvent called toluene may have the same effect on the brain’s dopamine mechanisms as do other addictive drugs. There are several symptoms associated with inhalant addiction:
- Poor judgement skills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings—feelings of apathy, anger or euphoria
- Slow reflexes and poor coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Speech problems
- A hot feeling in the body
- Tendency to compulsively use inhalants
Inhalant Addiction Self-Assessment
Research indicates that inhalant users have a higher rate of abusing other drugs and substances compared to people who don’t use inhalants. If you are experiencing the symptoms listed here, take this inhalant addiction self-assessment. Once you have the information you need and are ready to get help, reach out to the professional team at Casa Palmera today.