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Inhalant Addiction - Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

What is Inhalant Addiction? Causes of Inhalant Addiction. What is the symptoms of Inhalant Addiction? Treatment of Inhalant Addiction. Prevention to avoid Inhalant Addiction. Withdrawal symptoms of Inhalant Addiction.

What is Inhalant Addiction?

Inhalant addiction is a serious condition and has been known to cause nearly 15% of addiction related deaths each year. Inhalants typically involve substances that can only be inhaled, and taken in through the nose and trachea. More often than not, these substances have psychoactive effects on the body, leading the user to experience a high, while the inhalant acts as a depressant on the central nervous system which closely mimics the effect that alcohol has on the body.

Typically, it is the younger age group that is considered to be more at risk from inhalant abuse and prolonged abuse of the same leads to cognitive changes which can impair normal functions of one’s body. This is why, it is vital if you spot some of the signs of Inhalant addiction in your loved one, you compel them to seek immediate treatment. The initial addiction starts off as a simple dare or a one time try, which soon develops into a full-fledged addiction. This results in the addict experimenting with various inhalants to see which is more effective including the method of application. Some of the substances which are often abused include paint thinners, glue, cold and asthma medicines, aerosols, markers and much more.

Causes of Inhalant Addiction.

One of the most common reasons for so many to get hooked onto inhalant addiction happens to be the fact that these substances are widely available and easy to obtain. Those seeking to obtain a high may stick to inhalants since they would be easier to purchase, than say alcohol for which you are required to be 18+ to purchase. The other causes of inhalant addiction happen to be biological, behavioural and social. More often than not, parents who had been addicts tend to have children who show a marked susceptibility to becoming addicted themselves. Behavioural factors, including a loss of self esteem or sudden stress or tragedy can push the teen to try out inhalants as a coping mechanism. Soon, they start experimenting with other inhalants and are soon hooked onto the ‘high’. At times, social pressure often forces the teen to try out inhalants; peer pressure can result in a full-blown addiction.

What is the symptoms of Inhalant Addiction?

Some of the common symptoms associated with inhalant addiction and keep in mind that these can range from mild to severe depending on the inhalant abuse, happen to be –

  • Slurred speech
  • Intoxication
  • Unconsciousness
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired vision
  • Hearing disability
  • Damage to kidneys, liver and brain
  • Cognitive impairment, which can happen as a result of abusing inhalants for prolonged periods of time.
  • Body shakes
  • Visible injury in lips throat, lungs as well as nostrils.

These are some of the most common symptoms that you need to be on the lookout for and should you spot any in your loved one, then you would be well advised to make sure that they get the right treatment on time.

Treatment of Inhalant Addiction.

The next step is to admit your loved one to an inpatient or outpatient rehab so that they undergo rigorous treatment to help them break the cycle of addiction. More often than not, the addict would be made to undergo detoxification through various means as a way to flush the toxins out of his system. Apart from this, he would be provided with regular counselling sessions and behavioural therapy, where he would me made the realize the harmful effects of inhalant addiction and the dangers posed by prolonged usage of the same.

It is important that you love and support your loved one as he undergoes his treatment; it is important for the close family and friends to be part of the treatment process and that no one seeks to ostracize him and that he is loved by everyone. Positive affirmation will help the patient heal faster; it is vital that the addict goes in for regular counselling post rehab, in order to prevent any relapse.

Prevention to avoid Inhalant Addiction.

This is a little harder since the substances abused are quite common and easily available. But there are things you can do to prevent your children from being addicted to inhalants and that is in educating them why they are harmful to one’s health and the dangers of long term exposure to the same. It is vital that you maintain good communication with your children so that you can spot any strange behaviour on their part, which should help clue you in.

Withdrawal symptoms of Inhalant Addiction.

Since inhalant addiction has a pronounced psychological effect, its withdrawal symptoms can include delusions, paranoia and even hallucination. This is why it is important to wean your loved one away from inhalant addiction under controlled environment, preferably in a rehab, amongst professionals. Some of the other withdrawal symptoms can include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Hand shaking
  • Grand mal seizure and much more

This is why it is important that you seek immediate treatment for your loved one before it becomes too late.

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Content Details
Written By
MD - Psychiatry,MBBS
Psychiatry
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MA Applied Psychology
Psychology
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