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Inhalant Treatment At Tennessee Wellness Center, we understand the grip addiction has on your life—but you do not need to go it alone.

Knoxville Inhalant Addiction Treatment

Join Our Family at Tennessee Wellness Center

Tennessee Wellness Center takes a family-oriented approach to treating all types of addictions, including addiction to inhalants. Our team is here to remind you that you’re not alone in your struggle – more than 22.9 million Americans have experimented with inhalants at some point in their lives.

Taking the time to admit you need help is a big step, and it’s important that you take it sooner rather than later, as inhalants can be potentially toxic and sometimes lethal. Committing to sobriety isn’t easy, especially when inhalants are legal and easy to acquire, but through your hard work and our guidance and resources, a better future is within reach. Give us a call today to learn more about our intensive outpatient program and partial hospitalization program.

Contact us by filling out our form online or call (865) 205-2770 to learn more about our facility and programs. At our center, you’re a member of our family.

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What Are Inhalants?

Though there are a variety of drugs that can be consumed by inhaling, inhalants refer to a class of substances that can only be inhaled. Inhalants are any substance that produces chemical vapors, from hairsprays to paint thinners. Though they’re primarily used for purposes like cooking or painting, people have been known to inhale the vapors to obtain a quick high.

There are different kinds of inhalants, but most produce similar highs to anesthetics. Inhalants are typically inhaled by snorting, sniffing, or “huffing” the substance. When the chemicals from the vapors are absorbed into the bloodstream after traveling through the lungs, they act on the brain to slow down your body and give you feelings of euphoria, as well as dizziness, slurred speech, and lack of coordination. The high typically lasts a few minutes, which is why people commonly inhale their substance of choice multiple times in a session.

Inhalants are classified under four distinct categories depending on their forms. The main types of inhalants that are commonly abused include:

  • Aerosols: These inhalants are household sprays that typically contain solvents and propellants. Common aerosols include hairsprays, vegetable oil sprays, fabric protector sprays, spray paints, computer cleaning products, and deodorant sprays.
  • Gases: Gas is a broad term that refers to both gases used in household/commercial products and medical anesthetics. Common types of household and commercial gases include refrigerants, butane lighters, and propane tanks. Whipped cream aerosols also count as a gas and are referred to as “whippets.” Medical anesthetics commonly abused include nitrous oxide—aka “laughing gas”—ether, and chloroform.
  • Nitrites: While most inhalants act on the central nervous system to produce side effects, nitrites are a special class that relaxes the muscles and dilates your blood vessels. Some types of nitrites include isobutyl nitrite, isoamyl nitrite, and cyclohexyl nitrite. Though they’re now prohibited, some can still be found in the form of leather cleaners and video head cleaners, sold in small brown bottles.
  • Volatile solvents: These inhalants are typically household and industrial products in the form of liquids like dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, markers, paint thinners and removers, and glues. They can be found and purchased everywhere, from offices to art supply stores.

It’s worth noting that adolescents are far more likely to abuse inhalants than adults because inhalants are legal and extremely accessible. Many teens can find inhalants in their own homes, from the markers they use to the cleaning fluids their parents keep underneath the sink.

Can A Person Overdose On Inhalants?

People with addictions can also overdose on inhalants. An overdose refers to a person taking too much of a drug and experiencing dangerous symptoms as a reaction, which can lead to death if left untreated. An inhalant overdose usually involves seizures and comas. People can also die as a result of “sudden sniffing death,” which refers to sniffing an inhalant that almost immediately causes the heart to stop. Individuals can also suffocate when they use inhalants with a bag.

On the other hand, the short-term effects of inhalant abuse can be immediate and intense, often resembling the effects of alcohol intoxication.

These effects can include:

  • Euphoria and Excitement: Users might experience a brief sense of pleasure, excitement, or a feeling of being high.
  • Dizziness and Lightheadedness: Inhalant abuse can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and loss of coordination, leading to impaired judgment and clumsiness.
  • Slurred Speech: Similar to alcohol intoxication, inhalant abuse can cause slurred speech and difficulty articulating thoughts.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some individuals may experience nausea and vomiting shortly after inhaling these substances.
  • Headaches: Inhalants can trigger headaches or migraines in some users.
  • Drowsiness or Unconsciousness: Inhaling large amounts of certain inhalants can lead to drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or even a coma-like state.
  • Confusion and Disorientation: Users may become confused or disoriented, leading to impaired decision-making abilities.
  • Lack of Inhibition: Inhalant abuse can lower inhibitions, leading individuals to take risks they might not otherwise consider.
  • Visual and Auditory Distortions: Some users report visual or auditory distortions, similar to hallucinations, during inhalant use.
  • Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS): In some cases, inhalant abuse can lead to SSDS, a condition where the heart beats irregularly or stops suddenly, resulting in death. This can happen even after a single use.

Lastly, long-term inhalant abuse can lead to severe and sometimes irreversible damage to various organs and systems in the body.

Here are some of the potential long-term effects:

  • Brain Damage: Chronic inhalant abuse can cause significant damage to the brain, leading to cognitive impairment, memory problems, and difficulties with learning and decision-making.
  • Nervous System Damage: Prolonged use can harm the peripheral nervous system, causing tingling, numbness, or weakness in the extremities.
  • Liver and Kidney Damage: Some inhalants are toxic to the liver and kidneys, potentially leading to organ damage or failure over time.
  • Cardiovascular Issues: Long-term use can cause irregular heartbeats, increased heart rate, and increased risk of heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Respiratory Problems: Inhalant abuse can severely damage the lungs, leading to chronic respiratory issues, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing.
  • Muscle Weakness: Prolonged inhalant abuse can cause muscle weakness and atrophy, impacting motor skills and physical abilities.
  • Bone Marrow Damage: Certain inhalants can affect bone marrow, reducing the production of red blood cells, leading to anemia and other blood-related issues.
  • Psychological Effects: Long-term inhalant abuse can contribute to mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders.
  • Reproductive Issues: Inhalant abuse can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to reproductive problems in both males and females.
  • Social and Behavioral Consequences: Chronic inhalant abuse can lead to social isolation, strained relationships, and difficulties in work or school due to cognitive impairment and health issues.

It's important to note that the specific long-term effects can vary based on individual factors such as the type of inhalant used, duration of abuse, frequency of use, and overall health. Additionally, the damage caused by inhalant abuse may not always be reversible, making prevention and early intervention crucial in mitigating the risks associated with these substances. Seeking professional help and support is essential for individuals struggling with inhalant abuse to address both short-term and potential long-term consequences.

Signs of Inhalant Abuse

If you suspect someone you know of abusing inhalants, keep an eye out for these common signs:

  • Chemical smell on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on fingers, clothing, or face
  • Painting fingernails with markers or correctional fluid
  • Possessing multiple butane lighters even if the person don’t smoke
  • Constant red or runny nose
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dazed appearance
  • Sores around the mouth
  • Multiple empty aerosol cans
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Fatigue or changes in sleep patterns

You may notice changes in personality or mood swings related to inhalant abuse that are out of the ordinary. Substance abuse may also lead someone to withdraw from social situations, develop troubles with interpersonal relationships, or lose interest in activities they may have once enjoyed. A decline in school or work performance may also be an indicator of an underlying substance abuse problem.

Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms from inhalant abuse can vary in intensity and duration depending on the extent and duration of use. Though inhalants don't typically cause severe physical dependence compared to substances like opioids or alcohol, they can still lead to withdrawal symptoms when someone abruptly stops using them.

Some common withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea and vomiting, as the body adjusts to the absence of inhalants.
  • Sweating and Shakiness: Some users might experience sweating, tremors, or shakiness, which can be signs of the body readjusting to the absence of the inhalant.
  • Anxiety and Irritability: Withdrawal from inhalants can lead to increased anxiety, restlessness, and irritability as the brain tries to rebalance neurotransmitter levels.
  • Depression: Feelings of sadness or depression can occur during withdrawal, as the brain's chemistry tries to stabilize after prolonged inhalant use.
  • Insomnia or Disturbed Sleep: Disrupted sleep patterns, including insomnia or vivid dreams, might be experienced during withdrawal.
  • Cravings: Individuals may experience strong cravings or urges to use inhalants again to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Headaches: Some individuals might experience headaches or migraines during the withdrawal period.

How We Can Help

Though inhalant addiction is uncommon, it can develop slowly and lead to long-term health problems and affect a person’s life, from their work to their relationships with family and friends. Addiction can also involve negative and painful withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to quit cold turkey, from sweating and loss of appetite to nausea and insomnia.

Our facility offers a whole-person approach to drug addiction treatment that involves therapy, counseling, and group sessions. Through our programs, you can gain the tools you need to ease into recovery and face your triggers head-on.

If you’re struggling with your mental health or addiction, don’t hesitate to call Tennessee Wellness Center today at (865) 205-2770. Our Knoxville inhalant addiction treatment programs can be tailored to your needs.

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When you need a team who knows what it is like, look no further than Tennessee Wellness Center. Our dedicated professionals are here to help you recover.

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