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inhalant addiction

About Inhalants

What might seem like a new combatant in the ever evolving epidemic of addiction, inhalants actually have a storied past. Inhalants, as we define them in the realm of addiction, is the act of inhaling chemicals to alter ones consciousness. This has become exceedingly popular in adolescents, ranging from the abuse of chemicals within gasoline and glue, to butane lighters, propane tanks, refrigerants, and even nitrous oxide found in everyday items such as whipped cream dispensers. While renewed activity is prevalent today, inhalants were used dating back to the 1800s. Some of those most commonly used inhalants are listed below:

Most Common Inhalants:

  • Solvents:
    • paint thinners or removers
    • dry-cleaning fluids
    • gasoline
    • lighter fluid
    • correction fluids
    • felt-tip marker fluid
    • electronic contact cleaners
    • glue
  • Aerosols:
    • spray paints
    • hair or deodorant sprays
    • aerosol computer cleaning products
    • vegetable oil sprays
  • Gases:
    • butane lighters
    • propane tanks
    • whipped cream aerosols or dispensers (whippets)
    • ether
    • chloroform
    • nitrous oxide
  • Nitrites:
    • video head cleaner
    • room odorizer
    • leather cleaner
    • liquid aroma

The additional concern, is that, while inhalants are not particularly addictive in their chemical construct and interaction with the brain, these drugs are in fact very harmful and very dangerous. Inhalants have the short term effects of slurred or distorted speech, lack of coordination and body movement, euphoria, and dizziness, but over a longer period of use can cause liver damage, kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage, loss of coordination and limb spasms, nerve damage, delayed behavioral development, and brain damage. There is also the increased likelihood of overdose, coupled with potential seizures, and comas, all of which may be life threatening.

Reaching these levels of usage with inhalants, and developing an inhalant addiction is critical, and it is recommended to seek inhalant addiction treatment at a detox facility.

How Long Island Center for Recovery (LICR) Treats Inhalant Addiction

Inhalant addiction treatment would be administered by a multidisciplinary team to address both the physical and emotional aspects of this particular addiction. While there is no prescribed detox protocol for inhalant addiction, there are many cases where clients have multiple substances in which they are struggling with addiction. Therefore, our staff at LICR will assess each individual client and their unique case to determine what kinds of medications would best help to ease clients through the early process of withdrawal.

It is important for inhalant addiction clients to attend group sessions to further learn about their disease and connect with peers who have gone through similar experiences. The group process is beneficial to people who are addicted to inhalants due to their ability to reduce isolation and show the recovery of others, which quickly draws the new client into a positive culture of recovery.  Counselors at LICR are also trained in psychoeducation and 12-step facilitation along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing techniques, where they assist clients in both group and individual settings. Continued support is key and meeting such as the therapies listed below are held periodically at LICR to help addictive clients of all types:

Oftentimes, inhalant addiction is experienced among younger clients, so learning as much as they can about the impacts of using inhalants, and the long term effects on their bodies/mind is essential when striving for recovery. It is also imperative that clients continue to build positive social relationships as well in order to maintain positive changes which will be furthered at our inpatient facility through the assistance of these programs

Frequently asked questions from clients seeking inhalant treatment at Long Island Center for Recovery (LICR)

I thought inhalants weren’t that bad, why do I need an inpatient facility?

As mentioned previously, Inhalants can be extremely dangerous and can cause death even with one use. Chronic use can lead to damage of many organ systems. Furthermore, inhalants are commonly found in every home and, like alcohol, are primarily legal to purchase and very visible. Inpatient treatment allows the physical separation from those substances to begin to heal and learn the strategies needed to achieve and maintain abstinence.

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