Inhalants are psychoactive (mind-altering) substances that create a euphoric high when inhaled. Inhalants are usually common products found at home or in the workplace, such as cleaning fluids, markers, aerosols and certain glues that are not intended to be used to get high. Because these products are not designed or made to produce a high and often come with a less potent euphoria, inhalants are often not considered as having dangerous repercussions or addictive qualities, both of which are untrue.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 335,000 people had an inhalant use disorder in 2021, and 2.2 million people reported using inhalants in the last 12 months.
Inhalant Risks and Overdose
Inhalants have long-term effects that negatively impact the body and brain. An overdose can cause seizures and coma. Products with particularly potent chemicals, such as solvents and aerosol sprays, can cause fast and sudden nervous system depression that leads to immediate heart failure or death. This is known as “sudden sniffing death” and can happen to anyone, regardless of age, health or history of substance use.
Some inhalant users use a paper or plastic bag over their head during use, which can lead to death from suffocation.
Some long-term risks of using inhalants are:
- Kidney and liver damage
- Hearing and vision damage or loss
- Nerve damage
- Bone marrow damage
- Muscle atrophy
- Delayed brain develop in teens and young adults
- Hypoxia (brain damage from lack of oxygen)
While sudden cessation or drastically reducing inhalant use usually does not cause withdrawal risk or death as other substances do, such as alcohol or opioids, the withdrawal symptoms of inhalants make reaching sobriety difficult. Even when someone wants to stop using inhalants, the withdrawal symptoms are often so uncomfortable and/or painful that they continue use.
Some symptoms of inhalant withdrawal are:
- Profuse perspiration
- Muscle cramps
- Agitation and irritability
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood changes or mood swings
Although detoxing from any substance can be uncomfortable, clients detoxing from inhalants at Freedom Detox receive medical support and supervision 24/7 to ensure they remain as comfortable as possible and complete the process. We also offer counseling therapies to support our clients emotionally and mentally as they go through the often-difficult process of detox.
Our clients receive an individualized treatment program and leave with a collaborative discharge plan to continue their recovery journey. We are partnered with several programs so our clients can step into a residential or outpatient program for continued support.