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Orange County Inhalant Addiction Treatment & Rehab

Facts About Inhalants

Inhalant addiction has become a growing concern over the past few decades. Since these substances are not considered illicit drugs, and therefore not regulated as such, most households across America have these toxic substances in cabinets or garages. When vapors from chemicals such as spray paint, white-out, cleaning chemicals and nitrous oxide are inhaled, they are absorbed very quickly by the lungs and move into the bloodstream affecting all organs including the brain. Individuals either inhale the vapors directly from the package, which is called sniffing or breathe in the vapors from rags that have been drenched in liquid chemicals. This is called huffing. Another method of use is to cover their own clothes with solvents and sniff them throughout the day. Whatever the method of inhalation, repeated use of dangerous chemicals can cause permanent damage to vital organs including the brain.

Inhalant Addiction Symptoms

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For individuals who choose to abuse inhalants for any period of time, the lasting side effects can be devastating. Inhalants cross the blood-brain barrier and their effects happen quickly. Most of these substances are toxic and leave permanent effects on the brain and body organs. Huffing and sniffing can cause brain damage, depression and other major, life-changing effects. Continued inhalant abuse can lead to death. Some of the more common symptoms of inhalant addiction are the following:

  • Muscle twitching
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Incoherent speech
  • Skin rashes
  • Strong chemical smells

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Inhalant Addiction Facts

Should a loved one show signs of inhalant addiction, the first signs of drug abuse might be the changes in behavior. Common signs of drug addiction include a disproportionate time spent collecting their inhalant of choice. Individuals may also have cravings and urge to use inhalants, even giving up time with friends, family and working. It is not unusual for inhalant addicts to have increasing difficulties financially, socially or scholastically. Another common tip-off that an individual has an addiction problem that may require inpatient drug rehab in Huntington Beach would be the abandonment of hobbies and goals. Once an individual has been abusing inhalants, they will begin to show signs of tolerance, and start increasing their use of inhalants to avoid inhalant withdrawal symptoms from occurring.

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Types of Inhalants

There are four main types of inhalants that contribute to inhalant addiction and abuse. While it is true that individuals usually prefer one type of chemical over another, on the whole abusers are not too picky. Some will develop a specific craving and spend all their available time and resources to obtaining their preferred vapor.


Volatile Solvents

Solvents are liquid chemicals that become vapors when they reach room temperatures. Solvents are found in products such as paint removers and thinners, heavy-duty degreasers, gas, certain markers, white-out, and glue. Often inexpensive and available everywhere, these substances are commonplace in most homes.


Aerosols are chemicals which come in the form of spray bottles. The solvent and the propellants can be inhaled straight from the can, or by bagging. Common aerosols are hair spray, cooking oils, deodorant cans and spray paint containers. Since these are also easily obtained in almost any store, regulating these is almost impossible.


This separate class of inhalants is sometimes more dangerous that solvents and aerosols. Working quickly within the central nervous system, these chemicals alter smooth muscle reactions and change blood pressure. As a result, these are a favorite for individuals seeking extra sensation when sexually active. This class of inhalants are now banned from most over-the-counter products but may still be found in other packages.


Gases such as anesthetics and nitrous oxide are some of the more common types of gas based inhalants. The use of ether and chloroform, gases used for medical applications, is quite dangerous. It may be difficult to control the amount inhaled, which can lead to dangerous side effects, including death. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is also found in grocery stores and found in all whipped cream cans. Sometimes inhalant addiction develops when individuals turn to butane in cigarette lighters, an easily obtained gas available everywhere.

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