Due to the overwhelming number of crimes and deaths that occur as a result of abusing substances like crack cocaine and heroin, society often overlooks other drugs, such as inhalants.

There is a great amount of risk in abusing inhalants, and people are dying from consequences that stem from this abuse every day. According to Health Research Funding, among all inhalant abusers, 22 percent will die from sudden sniffing death syndrome — a condition that kills the drug abuser due to heart arrhythmia that causes cardiovascular failure.

What Are Inhalants?

True to their name, inhalants are substances that are inhaled through the nostrils. Often in gas form, most abusers of inhalants find their favored substance in normal household items that are both inexpensive and easy to come by. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, approximately 22.9 million people in the US have used an inhalant at some point in their lives.

Commonly abused intoxicative inhalants include:

  • Nitrous oxide
  • Shoe polish
  • Spray paint
  • Amyl nitrate
  • Paint thinner
  • Nail polish remover
  • Toluene
  • Gasoline
  • Glue
  • Lighter fluid

Who Abuses Them?

Inhalants are most popular among the teen and young adult demographic. About 10.1 percent of 8ths graders, 5.6 percent of 10th graders, and 1.5 percent of 12th graders surveyed reported inhalant use at least one time in the previous year, according to the Council on Drug Abuse. Despite that, these aren’t the only people using them. These drugs are somewhat popular in club cultures — which often includes young twentysomethings — but not as popular as standard club drugs like Ecstasy.

Substance abuse as a whole is more common among those struggling with mental health issues. Helpguide reports around 53 percent of drug addicts and 37 percent of alcoholics have at least one serious mental health disorder. Most often, the reason behind substance abuse for the mentally ill is an effort to self-medicate. Frequently, these individuals have no idea that the way they are feeling and the cognitive troubles they are experiencing are due to a mental health disorder. Under-diagnosis is a major problem in the mental health arena.

Many addicts don’t find out about their underlying disorder until they are in treatment for their drug abuse issues. Others may be aware of their condition but lack the means to treat it.

Help Is Waiting

The treatment process for an addiction to inhalants isn’t much different from the treatment process for addictions to other drugs. You’ll participate in an intake assessment. This will serve as a solid starting point to figure out what you need from the treatment experience in order to set yourself up for a long and lasting recovery.

During this interview, you will be encouraged to share details about your drug abuse habits. Although it can be uncomfortable to talk about these topics, it’s important that you’re honest to ensure that the best treatment plan can be developed to meet your needs.

You’ll also be questioned about your personal and family health history, and this includes any history of mental illness. Many who abuse inhalants are simultaneously dealing with other mental health issues. In fact, depression and anxiety alone affect around 20 percent of all substance abusers, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

As with abuse of any substance, treatment can consist of a variety of therapies that address the root causes that led to inhalant abuse in the first place. While treatment is tailored to the individual, it often includes a combination of one-on-one counseling sessions with a therapist, group therapy, and other alternative forms of therapy, such as art therapy, music therapy, or experiential therapy. Overall wellness plans are often incorporated into treatment as well, such as yoga, meditation, and exercise regimes.

At Black Bear Lodge, you’ll find a serene facility with compassionate staff and top-of-the-line professionals. With proper care and support, you can discover new things about yourself in treatment and get in touch with the strong and capable person that you are beneath the veil of inhalant abuse.

If you’re ready to take the first step on a lifelong journey of health and wellness, give us a call at 706-914-2327 today. We are here 24 hours a day to take your call and answer your questions.