Inhalants are chemicals that can be found in certain household or workplace products and emit vapors or fumes, which can then be inhaled to produce a quick, often disorienting high.
Sometimes referred to as huffing, sniffing, or bagging, inhalant abuse can cause mind-altering effects because of the fact that aerosols, gases, and volatile solvents act as depressants to the central nervous system.
Chronic inhalant use can result in inhalant addiction and can produce irreversible side effects. As The Cleveland Clinic notes, inhalant abuse is most common in adolescents, but can occur in small children and can continue into adulthood.
What Are Some Common Signs & Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction?
With more than 1,000 commonly used products falling into four general categories — volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites — the signs of inhalant use can vary. Generally speaking, though, some of the more common signs and symptoms that a woman or girl may experience include:
- Slurred speech
- Glassy or watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Chemical odors
- Poor hygiene
- Decrease in appetite
- Trouble concentrating
What Are the Causes & Risk Factors of Inhalant Addiction?
Inhalants are inexpensive, easy to acquire, and legal, so those factors make them an appealing option for young women or girls looking for a quick high.
There are more specific genetic and environmental risk factors that can make someone more prone to inhalant addiction, however. These include:
- Genetic: Family history of substance use disorders, personal history of antisocial or impulsive behaviors
- Environmental: History of physical or sexual abuse, high level of family conflict, low income, living in rural areas or areas with high unemployment rates
What Is the Prevalence of Inhalant Addiction?
Most research about inhalants looks at the prevalence of inhalant use among adolescents and young adults, as they are the most common users.
- According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study from 2018, 8.7% of 8th graders said they had engaged in inhalant use in their lifetime, while 4.6% said they’d done so within the past year.
- The NIDA also found that 21.7 million Americans age 12 and older have used inhalants at least once in their lives.
- Some studies have indicated that men are more likely to abuse inhalants than women. But according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2015 adolescent girls reported a higher level of inhalant use (3.2%) than adolescent males (2.3%).
Why Should I Seek Inhalant Addiction Treatment?
When breathed in through the nose or mouth, inhalants quickly are absorbed into the bloodstream. That means that instead of having their intended effect of producing a temporary high, inhalants can cause some significant damage and have potentially fatal consequences without proper treatment.
Some of the more common negative effects of inhalant use include:
- Brain damage
- Liver damage
- Kidney failure
- Respiratory distress
- Intestinal inflammation
- Cardiac arrest
What Does Inhalant Withdrawal Look Like?
For any woman or girl who is struggling with inhalant use and decides to abruptly stop using these substances, there can be painful consequences. Your body may become dependent on inhalants over time, and the result of cutting them off can cause significant psychological and physical pain.
Some common inhalant withdrawal symptoms include:
- Cramps and chills
- Panic attacks
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center can help you through the withdrawal process in a safe environment with our ambulatory, nonmedical detoxification services for inhalant addiction. Once you’re stable, you’ll be able to receive therapeutic treatment during detox, helping you get an edge on the road to recovery.
How Can I Choose the Right Inhalant Addiction Treatment?
Inhalant use is particularly dangerous because of the risk for dire consequences even before inhalant addiction can develop. Otherwise healthy individuals can suffer sudden sniffing death when inhaling solvents, and all it takes is one wrong move.
That potential for fatal consequences makes it extremely important to seek inhalant use treatment, and making that decision can quite literally save your life.
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center understands that there is no one-size-fits-all inhalant addiction treatment. We believe that every woman or girl who has struggled with inhalant use is on a unique journey toward recovery, and we’ll treat you as an individual in every aspect of your care.
Licensed therapists and other addiction specialists lead both of our levels of care for inhalant addiction. Depending on your needs, you’ll participate in either our residential program or partial hospitalization program (PHP).
Residential care lets women and girls leave the worries of day-to-day routines behind to focus solely on recovery. At the residential level, you’ll engage in therapeutic programming and stay in one of our on-campus lodges. For women participating in PHP, you’ll take part in the same evidence-based modalities as our residents, but have the option to return home when treatment is not in session.
What Is the Inhalant Addiction Treatment Experience Like?
You’ll work with a team of experts who have your best interests in mind. Our staff will develop an inhalant addiction treatment plan that takes into account your unique needs and caters to your strengths.
Despite the focus on individualized care at our treatment center, we still have common elements to our programming, many of which bring together other women and girls who have experienced similar struggles. These include:
- Medication management
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Family therapy
We focus on community at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, both during your time with us and long after you complete treatment. Our detailed discharge plan will contain community resources and information about inhalant addiction support groups that can help prevent problems from reoccurring down the road.
You’ll also have access to our passionate alumnae community, where you can reconnect with those who shared your experiences and celebrate successes along your journey.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.