3 Actions You Can Take When You Suspect Your Loved One’s Abusing Inhalants
With the busy lives we all lead, it’s often hard to notice a problem unless it’s right under our nose. However, the way substance abuse has become a major problem in people of all ages, loved ones are now more aware of what signs to look for and what to do when they suspect a problem. Inhalant abuse has become a major problem in recent years, causing both alarm and damage. Do you suspect a loved one is abusing inhalants? If so, here are three actions you can take to help yourself and your loved one.
1. Talk to your loved one.
If you suspect your loved one is abusing inhalants, talking to them can be the first step towards determining if there really is a concern or a problem. Don’t accuse him or her because that may just cause the individual to become defensive. Express your concern for your loved one and let him or her know that you’re worried and concerned. If the loved one is a child, take the time to not only voice your concerns but talk to him or her about inhalants and the damage they can do.
Be prepared to show them brochures or pamphlets to back up what you’re saying so they will know it’s not just “your opinion”. If you later discover that your child wasn’t abusing inhalants, the talk was not wasted. It’s far better to educate children about inhalant abuse before it actually becomes a problem.
2. Be Alert for Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse
If you suspect a loved one is abusing inhalants, it may be for different reasons. You may suspect it because of gossip or because the individual is hanging out with friends known to take inhalants. It may also be because you’ve noticed signs in your loved one – signs that weren’t present before. If, however, you’re still in the stage where you’re just concerned, here are some symptoms you can look for in your loved one.
• Sores or spots around the mouth
• Chemical odor on breath or clothing
• Disoriented or slurred speech
• Dizzy or dazed appearance
• Constantly smelling clothing, especially sleeves
• Paint or stain marks on clothing, face or hands
• Hiding containers of potential inhalants
• Runny or red nose or mouth
3. Seek Professional Help
In a perfect world, we’d be able to provide all the help our loved one needs if they are indeed, abusing inhalants, but it’s not a perfect world. While it’s very unfortunate that inhalant abuse has become such a large problem, the fortunate part is that its widespread use has made the public more aware of the problem.
Because of this increased awareness around abusing inhalants, there are now organizations to which people can turn for help. These organizations can provide advice, assistance and help that you may not have access to if you were acting on your own. One of the first persons you may want to contact is your family physician.
Your family physician may be able to provide you with a list of resources. In addition, organizations that may be able to help you are Narcotics Anonymous, National Inhalant Prevention Coalition and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
One of the hardest things you can do for your loved one is taking action when there’s a serious problem, but it’s also something that may save his or her life. If you truly suspect your loved one is abusing inhalants, go with your good judgment and seek help immediately. It really doesn’t matter as much what professional you call for help as much as it matters that you do it NOW.