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If professionals have learned anything from the past few decades, nothing is off the table when it comes to substance use. Bath salts, cough syrup, and even everyday things like catnip or hand sanitizer are all causes of concern regarding addiction. So, what other things could individuals be using to inebriate themselves? Well, inhalants have become a great cause for concern in recent years, and the issue is growing as we continue seeing the long-term side effects of inhalants

Are you struggling with an inhalant addiction? Have you yet to seek treatment for the problem and are worried about the potential side effects you may experience? What does treatment for inhalant addiction look like? If you asked any of these questions, continue reading and consider calling West Coast Recovery Centers for treatment today. 

What Does an Addiction to Inhalants Look Like?

Inhalants include a variety of substances that individuals inhale to experience a high. Fumes from the substance are typically breathed in through the mouth or nose. These substances can cause a number of different effects on the mind and body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are four general categories of inhalants. They include: 

  • Volatile solvents: Liquids that vaporize at room temperature, such as felt-tip markers, paint thinner, glue, and gasoline 
  • Aerosols: Pressurized sprays like hair sprays, spray paint, body spray, and vegetable oil
  • Gases: Include medical anesthetics like laughing gas or gases used in household products
  • Nitrites: Dilate blood vessels and relax muscles, often found in leather cleaners or medications prescribed for chest pain

These substances can be used by breathing in fumes or inhaling chemicals from a bag. Some people even spray substances directly into their nose and mouth or drench a rag in a particular substance and put it in their mouths. 

Moreover, the type of effects that occur depend on the type of inhalant used. Some people black out, while others lose all their senses. In any case, the side effects of inhalants pose many risks. The risks are even more significant when these inhalants are used long-term. 

Why Are Inhalants So Dangerous?

Inhalants briefly cause someone to hallucinate or experience other desirable effects. However, they can also impair judgment. That is one of many reasons why inhalants are so dangerous. Impaired judgment can cause individuals to act out in abnormal ways. That may include using other substances, driving while intoxicated, or overdosing. 

Another significant danger of using inhalants is the risk to the body. Many inhalants – such as household cleaners – are created with harmful chemicals not meant to be ingested. Sniffing or eating these substances can cause severe complications, such as heart failure. Heart failure is one of the top causes of death when individuals use inhalants and is often referred to as sudden sniffing death syndrome. 

Anyone can experience sudden sniffing death syndrome, making inhalants incredibly dangerous, even for those who have not used them for long. So, what other side effects should people be concerned about? 

What Are the Side Effects of Inhalants?

Inhalants produce a quicker effect than other substances because of how they are used. However, the effect only lasts a few minutes, so many will use it repeatedly to maintain a longer high. Some of the short-term effects of inhalants that people experience during this time include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Feelings of euphoria 
  • Reduced cognitive function 
  • Erratic behavior 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Headaches
  • Feeling light-headed  
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Impaired motor skills and coordination 

Extended use in one sitting can also lead people to hallucinate and experience delusions. Inhalants can also cause a complete lack of consciousness. 

Further, some of the long-term side effects of inhalants that can be cause for concern include: 

  • Liver and kidney damage 
  • Delayed cognitive development 
  • Reduced coordination and muscle spasms due to nerve damage 
  • Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain  
  • Overall long-term complications such as damage to bone marrow or other vital organs 

While managing these long-term effects can be challenging, it is possible. The right treatment program can help you recover.

Treating Addiction and the Long-Term Side Effects of Inhalants

Before managing the long-term side effects of inhalants, you must recover from using them. This often requires participation in detox, managing withdrawal symptoms, and using evidence-based modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Additionally, it helps to utilize other practices like attending group meetings, managing cravings through music and art, or considering aftercare programs. These modalities and practices can help you manage long-term side effects. However, additional medical interventions may be necessary if you are experiencing long-term damage to your body because of inhalant use. 

If you experience severe, long-term side effects of inhalants, consult with your doctor immediately and call West Coast Recovery Centers for treatment today. Together, you can create a treatment plan that helps you maintain your sobriety and manage these long-term symptoms simultaneously.

Though rare, addiction to inhalants can be dangerous, as even a single dose of a chemical substance can be enough to cause heart damage or death. Unfortunately, many inhalants individuals become dependent on are easily found in the home, ranging from felt-tip markers to cleaning products. Parents, children, and loved ones must be diligent about recognizing the signs and potential side effects of inhalants within themselves and their loved ones. Inhalants can cause severe and sometimes permanent damage to the brain and body that requires medical intervention to manage successfully. If you or a loved one is struggling with an inhalant addiction, we encourage you to seek help. Call us at (760) 492-6509 to learn more today.