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Abuse of Inhalants

The Recreational Abuse of Inhalants

There are a large variety of substances that continue to be issues within our society.  Unfortunately, being that some substances tend to be larger issues than others, there can be major problems that are neglected due to being overshadowed. This leaves these others substance issues allowed to ravage on without having much done to handle them, as all resources are focused on the larger problems.  One type of substance that this has happened with for quite some time is inhalants. Abuse of inhalants has been popularized by addicts, former addicts, teens, and media influences.

Different Types of Inhalants

Inhalants have been a longstanding problem for many years.

An inhalant is a very broad term for a variety of different substances, such as:

  • Aerosols – Hair spray, antiperspirants, and other types.
  • Solvents – Glues, paint thinner, certain markers.
  • Gases – Mainly nitrous oxide like empty whipped cream cans, but could also include propane tanks or lighters.
  • Nitrites – Types of substances used for medical treatments or chest pains.

The above is only a quick summation of some of the substances that can be used as inhalants, but there are many more.  A large issue with inhalants is that they are often extremely accessible substances, such as household products, or those used in work environments. This makes them easy to abuse, and it also the reason that inhalants are often a substance that teens will experiment with.  In fact, according to data on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website referencing the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “…there were 793,000 persons aged 12 or older who had used inhalants for the first time within the past 12 months; 68.4 percent were under the age of 18. In fact, inhalants — particularly volatile solvents, gases, and aerosols — are often the easiest and first options for abuse among young children who use drugs.

Being that this issue is overshadowed by the other large epidemics that are sweeping our nation, it does not get near the attention that it needs. Authorities, politicians, and experts tend to heavily focus on the opioid epidemic as of late, being that it has been skyrocketing.  But, this focus also tunnel visions them in a sense and allows the abuse of inhalants continue to grow as an issue. There have been some smaller attempts to try and curb this issue, such as requiring individuals to be 18 to buy computer duster in certain states.  And while this has helped to some degree, it is nowhere near the only solution that is required. There needs to be further attention pushed into this area, such as further educational programs for teens upon the dangers of inhalant use and abuse.

Why Inhalants are so Dangerous

Inhalants can have a wide variety of health risks and effects upon an individual, and there can be short-term and long-term effects of the use.

Short-term effects of inhalants include:

  • Dizzy or drunk in appearance and demeanor
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired judgment

Long-term effects include:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Impairment of memory
  • Damage to various organs
  • Weakness of muscles

The above is only a portion of the potential effects, but there are much more serious effects as well.  Inhalant abuse can bring about irregularities or increases in heart rate, which can potentially lead to heart failure and death.  It can also bring about suffocation through replacing the oxygen in the lungs. Certain inhalants can also be connected to exact health risks, such as paint thinner and glue with kidney issues.  Over time, abuse of inhalants can heavily impact an individual’s intelligence as well.

With the various health effects and severe addictions that these substances can produce, it is important to get struggling individuals help quickly. The longer this issue is being somewhat neglected, the worse it will get. Parents can do several things to help protect their children from inhalant use and abuse. Ensure that children are educated on the dangers of these substances, and monitor or limit their access to dangerous chemical inhalants.

When Needing Treatment for Abuse of Inhalants

With substances like inhalants and various others being abused around the country, there are many individuals that are needing treatment for addiction.  Fortunately, there is also a multitude of treatment facilities that can help these individuals to overcome their various addictions. With a large amount of treatment centers out there, it can be difficult to know which facility or modality to choose, but New Beginnings can help.  Our advisors are knowledgeable in addiction treatment centers and their offerings, and they can explain the various options available to you or your loved one.  Do not wait, give us a call today.

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