Getting Help for an Inhalant Addiction
Inhalant addiction is a growing problem. Over the years, it’s become one of the most common types of substances used by adolescents. Youth inhale these substances because they’re readily available and cheap. The unfortunate thing about this type of addiction is that the effects can last for quite some time. However, there are many types of treatments currently available. Here’s a complete guide to inhalant addiction and the different types of treatments.
What are Inhalants?
Inhalants are a class of chemicals inhaled through the nose or mouth to provide a euphoric high. This intoxication occurs when the chemicals reach the brain and interfere with its normal activity. They come in many forms, but they all function similarly by depressing the central nervous system. The most common types of inhalants are:
- Aerosol Sprays: This broad category includes hairspray, furniture polish, and deodorant. Aerosol computer cleaning products are also commonly abused.
- Paint Thinner: Paint thinner is a solvent that is also commonly inhaled for its intoxicating effects. The main ingredient in paint thinner is methylene chloride, which can cause memory loss and other cognitive issues.
- Glue: Glue is readily available as it is found in many household products. Ink resin, a glue-like polymer, is also found in permanent markers, which are another popular inhalant.
- Nitrites: Unlike most other inhalants, which cause a rapid change in mood, nitrites dilate the blood vessels and relax the muscles. Cyclohexyl nitrite, isoamyl (amyl) nitrite, and isobutyl (butyl) nitrite are examples of nitrites. Amyl nitrite is used in certain medical procedures and has been prescribed to relieve chest pain in some patients.
What Are the Signs of Inhalant Addiction?
It’s important to seek help when you recognize the warning signs of inhalant addiction. Here are some of these signs:
- Lack of Coordination: If a person has recently been using inhalants, you may notice that their coordination is off. They might seem clumsy or unable to finish simple tasks like walking or running without stumbling or tripping over things in their path.
- Slurred Speech: People high on inhalants often slur their speech because their minds and mouths aren’t working together as they normally would. It is also a sign that someone may have been drinking alcohol, another commonly abused substance.
- Dilated Pupils: You may notice that a person’s pupils are dilated when they are high on solvents. Their eyes will appear darker and larger than normal.
- Dizziness: Many people with this substance use disorder involving inhalants complain about dizziness and nausea. The body is deprived of oxygen when you inhale from an inhalant canister, leading to dizziness and other problems.
Other Noticeable Signs
- Trouble with memory and concentration
- Mood changes
- Sleep problems or feeling tired often
- Breathing problems such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath
- Chronic runny nose (sniffles) or sneezing
- A sudden drop in grades and school performance
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Skin rashes
Long-term Effects of Inhalants
The effects of long-term inhalant use can result in serious health complications. They include all of the following:
- Damage to the Central Nervous System (CNS): Over time, repeated use of inhalants can damage the brain’s ability to function normally. The effects can range from mild impairment in thinking and reasoning ability to permanent brain damage. Additionally, brain damage can happen when someone uses nitrous oxide in a closed environment like a car or house. The lack of oxygen causes brain cells to die, which results in severe brain damage that may be irreversible.
- Membrane Damage: Long-term inhalant use can damage the membranes that protect your lungs and heart. Damage caused by inhaling solvents, aerosols, gasses, and nitrates over time may lead to pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and pneumonia. It may also lead to bronchitis and permanent lung damage.
- Coma and Death Risks: Inhalant abuse can lead to coma, a deep state of unconsciousness that can last for hours or days at a time. This condition occurs when someone’s intake of inhalants impairs their brain function to the point where they can no longer control their bodily functions. When this happens, people won’t breathe independently and will stop responding to stimuli like pain.
- Kidney Failure: Your kidneys play a crucial role in your body as they remove waste from your blood, keep your electrolytes stable, and regulate the balance of water and acid in your body. When you abuse inhalants, you attack your body’s kidneys by decreasing their ability to function properly. It makes it difficult for the organs to filter out the waste materials from your blood and send them out of your body through urine. As a result, waste materials stay in your blood, leading to an accumulation of toxins in your body’s tissues.
Inhalant Addiction Treatment
Inhalant addiction is a serious problem that many people face. The good news is that different types of treatment are available to help those who want to break their addiction. Understanding what these treatments entail can help those struggling with an inhalant addiction make the best decision for their situation.
The first step in treating an inhalant addiction is detoxification. This process will remove all the harmful toxins that your body has absorbed from the inhalants you were using. Treating inhalant addiction requires withdrawal from the substance, and monitored detoxification is crucial in this process. Detoxing is not an overnight process, but it is an important step a client must undertake if one wishes to overcome their substance use disorder.
At Granite Recovery Centers, our staff monitors clients constantly for at least 24 hours following their admission. After this initial period, we assess their condition and either move them to a rehabilitation program or keep them in detox to continue the detoxification process. The process allows the clients to stop using inhalants gradually while minimizing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also allows them to have a controlled environment while learning to cope with life without your drug of choice.
This program provides a safe and distraction-free environment for the client to recover. It gives the client time to get away from their environment and learn new ways to cope with everyday situations without turning to drugs or alcohol. Inpatient programs vary in length but usually last from 28 to 90 days. Inpatient facilities also help clients experiencing withdrawal symptoms from substance use disorder.
Treatment typically includes individual and group therapy sessions where clients learn about their addiction and find their true identity and purpose. These sessions can also provide an opportunity for clients to develop peer relationships with other young people. After inpatient treatment, clients can attend aftercare programs to help them continue with their recovery journey. The aftercare program is designed to reduce the risk of relapse while providing support as you transition back into everyday life.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
These programs are less restrictive than inpatient programs because clients do not live at the treatment facility. Our outpatient programs typically include detoxification services and weekly counseling sessions with therapists or addiction counselors. Our outpatient programs also offer group therapy and individual therapies.
Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Additionally, we have an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP is used for those who need more support than weekly individual therapy sessions but do not require medical detox and residential treatment. The program can last several weeks to several months and usually includes meeting several times per week. During IOP sessions, clients learn skills to help them stop using, learn about the consequences of continued use, and get involved in relapse prevention planning. The program includes skills development groups, assertiveness training, stress management skills, and psycho-educational group programs.
Residential Treatment Programs
People who abuse inhalants receive residential treatment programs similar to other drug and alcohol rehab. Our facility provides 24-hour care and monitoring for the clients. We recommend this program when an outpatient program won’t be enough to help you stop using inhalants or another substance. It is also ideal for clients who just completed a detox program. It can also be helpful if you don’t feel safe at home or if your home is a place where it’s easy to get drugs or alcohol.
Psychological treatment and counseling are essential to help treat the mental health aspects of addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help those in recovery learn how to avoid relapse in the future. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can help people with inhalant addiction recognize situations that increase their risk of using substances and learn ways to avoid these situations or cope with them effectively. A therapist might help individuals recognize situations where they might be more likely to relapse (for example, socializing with past friends who also abused inhalants) and teach them ways to prevent it from occurring.
Many people who abuse inhalants also struggle with mental health disorders like depression or anxiety. These co-occurring disorders can increase the risk of inhalant addiction and complicate recovery efforts. A comprehensive treatment program can treat both the substance use disorder and the co-occurring disorder simultaneously, improving outcomes.
Alumni programs are often run by former addicts who have been clean for a long time. We design them to offer support and advice for people just starting on their recovery journeys. Participation in alumni programs allows people to connect with others committed to sobriety and recovery. Alumni programs provide longer-term support for individuals who have completed a treatment program and wish to continue their recovery journey with like-minded people who share a common goal of remaining substance-free.
This is a psychotherapeutic technique that helps addicts realize how their addiction negatively impacts their lives and what they need to do to overcome it. It can help an addict recognize that they have a problem, which can be the first step toward seeking treatment.
Seek Help Today
If you’re trying to figure out how to break your inhalant addiction, you have many options available. Not all treatment programs are the same, so understanding what each one offers might help you make a more informed choice. The most important thing is finding a program that will work for your specific needs because not all treatments are right for all patients. Reach out to us at Granite Recovery Centers for the best treatments and services.