While inhalants don’t have the same risk of addiction as other substances, they can be very dangerous. At Visions Teen Treatment Centers in Los Angeles and Malibu, we work with teens that are struggling with inhalants and need help to overcome inhalant abuse. No one has to struggle with a substance abuse problem alone. Contact Visions Teen Treatment Center at 866-889-3665 to learn more about our treatment programs today.
Learn About Teen Inhalant Abuse
Inhalants are a unique category of substances that can be found in your own home rather than purchased on the street. Common household items, such as glue, hairspray, cleaning fluids and nail polish removal, can be inhaled or sniffed, giving the user a short high. Because inhalants are often found in the home, they are not technically considered drugs. However, these substances can have devastating and even permanent effects on users, making them nearly as dangerous as drugs sold on the street.
Inhalants can be ingested in a number of ways:
- Inhale substances from open containers (sniffing)
- Breathe fumes from rags soaked in the substance (huffing)
- Substance is sprayed directly into mouth or nose
- Substance is poured on shirt, where it can be sniffed periodically
- Fumes are delivered to a plastic bag, which is then sniffed (bagging)
Inhalants are the only substance that is used by younger children more than older teens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 10.8 percent of 8th graders reported to having used inhalants at some point during their lives. In contrast, just 6.5 percent of 12th graders said they used inhalants over their lifetimes.
The Effect of Inhalants on the Body
Inhalants can affect the body in a number of different ways, depending on the specific type of inhalant used. Some cause intoxication results similar to alcohol:
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Impaired judgement
- Delusions and hallucinations
Inhalant abuse can lead to weight loss, disorientation, irritability, depression and memory loss. Use can also lead to damage of areas of the brain that control seeing, hearing, thinking and moving. Damage can lead to permanent impairment in some cases.
Signs & Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction
Inhalant addiction is much less common than addiction to other substances, but it can occur. People that become addicted may experience a strong, nearly irresistible urge to continue using the substance. If they try to stop using, they may experience mild withdrawal symptoms.