What does inhalant addiction look like?
Statistics show that between 20% and 25% of students will have tried inhaling or ‘huffing’ a chemical before they reach the 8th grade. In today’s world, almost all kids have access to the internet and information on how to get high on inhalants, as well as which chemicals produce which types of effects.
Inhalant abuse is the addiction of choice for younger kids because of access. All households contain lots of chemicals that can be used to get high. Every corner store, grocery store, and big box store sells the everyday products that can be used for an inhalant high. Even though this tends to be an addiction associated with young people, anyone can become a victim of inhalants. Often an addict in recovery from one addiction will switch to another one.
Staying connected with your kids, keeping track of who their friends are, talking with them on a daily basis and knowing the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse and addiction will help you keep your kids safe.
If you suspect that your child or someone you know is struggling with an inhalant addiction, you might first notice signs and symptoms that resemble someone drunk on alcohol:
2.complaints of dizziness or lightheadedness
3.abnormal clumsiness or lack of coordination
4.hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
5.delusions (strange thoughts or paranoia)
Experimentation quickly leads to inhalant addiction. The high that the person gets lasts only a couple of minutes and must be repeated frequently. Someone who has inhalant addiction or on their way to addiction will have the above symptoms, plus they may also have symptoms like frequent headaches, hearing loss, irritability, constantly runny nose, frequent nose bleeds, loss of sense of smell, mood swings and personality changes. You may notice a chemical smell on their body, their hair and their clothing. They may have redness, a rash, or blisters around their nose and/or mouth. You may see paint stains around their mouth, nose, and on their hands.
Just like any other form of addiction, people suffering from Inhalant addiction may present with a sudden lack of appetite, dilated pupils and loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed. They may become aggressive and defensive. They may be more tired than normal and sleep a lot. As the addiction continues, they will not work as hard to hide their symptoms and their supplies.
You may find hidden signs around the house such as:
1. A stash of empty spray cans hidden in the trash or in the backs of cabinets or shelving.
2. Plastic bags that smell of paint, solvents, gasoline, and other chemicals.
3. Rags soaked with chemicals like paint thinner and gasoline.
4. Household cleaners, solvents and garage chemicals mysteriously missing when you want to use them.
5. Clothing with paint stains and solvent smells hidden at the bottom of clothing hampers.
Inhalant addiction is like playing Russian roulette – the person may die with the very first attempt at inhaling or huffing. The odds that there will be some form of permanent damage rises with every session of inhaling. If you suspect that someone you love has an inhalant addiction problem or even just experimenting with inhalants, get help. Contact your physician or local hospital for referrals to your local addiction services.