Detox & Drug Rehab In Orange County
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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

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.

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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Inhalant Withdrawal Facts

Inhalants come in many different forms and are available to the general public across America. When addiction occurs, inhalant withdrawal symptoms will begin and inhalant detox in Huntington Beach should be a consideration. It is true that most individuals requiring drug treatment often have addictions to opiates like heroin or oxycodone, but there are an increasing number of inpatient drug rehab centers that treat inhalant addiction now. Most struggling with inhalant withdrawal symptoms do not understand the potential complications that drug detox can bring with it.

Withdrawal from inhalants usually occurs after an individual has been abusing inhalants for a period of time, but it can happen after only one use, too. Different inhalants carry different addiction risks. One solvent called toluene causes intense amphetamine-like highs. It has also been shown to carry a significant addiction risk as it triggers a massive release of a brain chemical called dopamine. The body can quickly come to expect this dopamine storm, and inhalant dependence will occur. When drug dependence or tolerance takes hold, it often pushes drug addicts to use more just to keep the same level of pleasurable feelings with each use. As soon as levels of the inhalant within the body begin to drop, inhalant withdrawal symptoms will appear.

Inhalant Withdrawal Treatment

Should family members suspect that a loved one has become dependent on inhalants and need treatment options, Coastline Rehab Centers has counselors on call to answer any questions. It is not unusual for individuals and their families to attempt drug treatment for addiction at home, but unfortunately, this rarely ends up being successful. Many times, there are co-dependency issues or other family dynamics that make attempting detox alone very unwise. The support and medical help that most individuals require when in drug detox programs makes inpatient rehab in Huntington Beach a good solution.

In order for individuals to have treatment success, a few things must be made clear to family members and addicts. First, inhalation addiction is usually linked back to behavioral problems and patterns that are hardwired into our genetic makeup and environment. Changing behaviors is complex and tedious, and will require specialized behavioral therapies. Second, all addictions, whether they be heroin addiction, cocaine addiction or inhalant addiction require involved treatment plans that include therapy, medications for addiction, group support and experiential therapy to help make recovery possible.  Should you need more information about Coastline’s addiction treatment programs in Huntington Beach, simply give us a call or fill out our contact form.

Inhalant Withdrawal Symptoms

As with any opiate addiction or alcohol addiction, once the drug of choice is not used, or doses are cut down, withdrawal symptoms will start to occur. These symptoms are just the bodies way of crying out for the sense of physical and psychological balance felt when under the influence. Inhalants work by depressing the central nervous system causing an individual to experience a decrease in certain body functions. Once inhalants are no longer used, those functions that were suppressed will become hyperactive. This response is withdrawal.

For many addicted to inhalants, withdrawal symptoms can be less severe than other illicit drugs. Recovery from any type of drug addiction can require support during drug detox in Huntington Beach. There will often be both physical and psychological symptoms as a patient goes through drug withdrawal. Care should be taken when going through inhalant withdrawal in order to avoid serious complications that may require medical intervention. There are some common symptoms felt by most in inhalant withdrawal and they are the following:

  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Tremors and sweating
  • Drug cravings
  • Hallucinations and distortions
  • Depression
  • Seizures
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