Inhalant Abuse, Addiction and RehabInhalants comprise a broad range of chemical substances, but are one of the few drugs that can kill you with your first dose--even if you don't get high.
Many inhalants work by depleting brain function and killing brain cells and, additionally, can interfere with normal respiration and oxygen exchange - which means that you can die even if you don't feel high. Indeed, around 22% of users who die under the influence of inhalants have no previous history of inhalant abuse.
Are Inhalants Addictive? How Addictive Are Inhalants?
Inhalant addiction is less common than addiction to other drugs, primarily because of the challenges of accessing and getting high from these drugs. Prolonged use of inhalants, though, can produce mild withdrawal symptoms.
And because inhalant use stimulates dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and motivation, the temptation to continue using can be powerful--even when you know the risks.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
If you're concerned you might have become addicted to inhalants, here are some telltale signs:
- Withdrawal symptoms when you quit using.
- Using inhalants all or most of each day.
- Lying to others about your use of inhalants.
- "Needing" the drug to feel normal.
- Relying on them to cover up the pain of mental or physical illness.
- Using inhalants to cope with stress.
Am I Addicted to Inhalants?
Because inhalants are dangerous to use even once, it is irrelevant whether you have an addiction; if you're using these dangerous drugs, you could lose your life. Inhalant addiction can manifest in a host of brain and cardiovascular injuries. These drugs are so unpredictable that doctors have
identified a condition called sudden inhalant death syndrome. Even with no risk factors and no history of addiction, users can die. If you think you might be an addict, though, your risk is even higher, so the time to seek treatment is now.
How to Encourage Someone to Get Treatment
Inhalants are among the world's most dangerous drugs. Some users, though, don't recognize their dangers, justifying their use on the grounds that everyday household chemicals couldn't be so lethal. Thus, educating your loved one is a key ingredient in the recipe for getting him or her off of inhalant abuse.
Beyond this, all you can do is offer support for your loved one's sobriety while avoiding enabling behaviors, such as giving your loved one money for drugs.
Staging an Intervention
If you're concerned that your loved one's abuse of inhalants could endanger his or her life, an intervention is a last-ditch strategy to get him or her to seek treatment. You'll need the cooperation of other people who love the addict, and you'll all have to be on the same page regarding the need for treatment. Most interventions are surprise endeavors since the element of surprise can encourage the addict to listen to words they might not otherwise hear.
An intervention typically begins with each member of the group sharing the ways in which the addict's inhalant abuse has harmed them. You'll each also:
- Set clear guidelines for what will happen if your loved one does not accept treatment.
- Conclude with a plea to the addict to seek treatment.
To make the intervention as low-stress as possible, it's best if you already have treatment lined up, at a facility that you know will work well for your loved one's needs.
Support Groups for Family and Friends
A support group can help you better understand the disease of addiction while offering you the compassionate support you need to set clear boundaries and prevent the addiction from overtaking your own life.
No one is strong enough to manage the pain of loving an addict alone.
Inhalants are debilitating and dangerous drugs - if you love an inhalant abuser, and have witnessed their declining health, you may be preoccupied with anxiety and frustration. A support group can help you better understand the disease of addiction while offering you the compassionate support you need to set clear boundaries and prevent the addiction from overtaking your own life.
Nar-Anon, the sister program of the wildly popular Narcotics Anonymous, is one such program, with free meetings taking place throughout the week in order to give loved ones consistent support.
Inhalant Addiction Treatment
Finding the Best Inhalant Treatment
If you're ready to pursue treatment, don't settle for treatment that's one-size-fits-all. Every addict has a unique set of needs, and getting yours met is the first step on the recovery journey. Ask about what you can expect from treatment, how long treatment will take, and what you can do to improve your odds of sobriety. Then trust your gut.
You deserve treatment that makes you feel good, especially since inhalant addiction can leave you feeling so ashamed and hopeless. Drug rehabilitation centers are available to help you overcome your addiction and live a healthy life.