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Inhalant Addiction Facts and Statistics Everyone Should Know

by | Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 4:01PM | Published on Sep 23, 2014 | Eating Disorders

Inhalant Addiction Facts and Statistics

Inhalants are chemical gases that produce a high when people breathe them. The problem with inhalants is most of us have them in our homes. The majority of children, teenagers, and young adults get hooked up on inhalants they have in their houses and then move on to other substances. Let’s explore some interesting inhalant addiction facts to understand how we can help those struggling. 

What are Inhalants?

In essence, inhalants are the chemical vapors or gases that can produce a euphoric or “high” effect after breathing. Some popular inhalants include glue, gasoline, cleaning solvents, and aerosols. What’s worrisome is that these chemicals are legitimate everyday items, but they’re not for human consumption. Yet, they have a high potential for abuse, especially among children and young adults looking to experiment with drugs. 

Types of Inhalants

Inhalants can fall in various categories depending on their makeup and how people use them. 

  • Volatile: The most commonly abused type of inhalants. These types of inhalants evaporate into the air and can dissolve into other substances. Acetone, hexane, gasoline, lighter fluid, cleaning products, and hobby glue are the most popular inhalants. 
  • Aerosol: These are your traditional spray cans, like cooking spray, hair spray, and spray paint. People use the fumes of these aerosols to get high. 
  • Gases: Most of these inhalants are medical anesthetics, such as chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide. However, some of these are commercially available like propane tanks and butane lighters. 
Facts About Inhalants Addiction

5 Interesting Inhalant Addiction Facts You Should Know

Unfortunately, inhalants are a staple at most houses. Sometimes, it’s even impossible to notice when a child is using these drugs because there’s no drug paraphernalia or other drug addiction signs. Take a look at these inhalant addiction facts to learn more about this ongoing issue. 

1. Most Inhalant Users Are Young

The saddest part about inhalant addiction is that the group at the highest risk is under the age of 18. Most people who use inhalants do so for experimenting. The mean age of first inhalant use or abuse is around 13 years old. Inhalant abuse is the beginning of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other substance abuse episodes for most children and teenagers. 

2. Non-Addictive Use is Still Dangerous

Unlike other abusive substances, people don’t have to be addicts to experience potentially fatal symptoms. The effects of inhalants last on average 30 minutes, which makes people inhale several times to prolong their highs. Inhalants quickly pass through the blood-brain barrier, resulting in very high substance levels in the brain. Because these chemicals are not for human consumption, they can be quite toxic and lead to life-threatening symptoms even after one single use. 

3. Inhalants Are Widely Available

Beyond medical use for gas inhalants, other types of these substances are widely available at supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores, and even online. If you look under your skin’s cabinet, you probably have various potential inhalants that your children can abuse. Please read the labels and try to keep them away from your children to prevent them from experimenting with these substances. 

4. People Can Experience Withdrawal Symptoms

Because inhalant addiction doesn’t follow what people know as traditional drug addiction, they don’t expect users to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, when someone who’s a dependent or addicted to inhalants tries to quit on their own, they can experience panic attacks, tremors, hallucinations, and grand mal seizures or convulsions. When alone, these withdrawal effects can lead to death. 

5. Long-Term Inhalant Effects Are Life-Threatening

When someone abuses inhalants for an extended period, they can experience life-threatening or life-altering effects that can be permanent. People can suffer long term effects including brain damage, muscle weakness, depression, and severe nosebleeds, as well as other health problems. Also, inhalant addiction can lead to what’s known as sudden sniffing death, which causes the heart to stop after inhaling solvents. What’s even scarier is that this effect can happen the first time someone tries inhalants or the thousandth time.

Inhalants Addiction Statistics

Inhalant Addiction Statistics

Because inhalants are not controlled substances, information about the use, overdose, and other inhalant statistics are limited. However, various studies, particularly those trying to understand the use and abuse of inhalants among children and teenagers, show many shocking statistics. 

  • About 22.5 million people in the U.S. have used, abused, or become addicted to inhalants at some point in their lives. 
  • Close to 58 percent of people who abused inhalants started doing so by the end of 9th grade.
  • The mean age of first inhalant use or abuse is 13 years old in the United States.
  • Around 5 percent of dentists with substance abuse issues abuse nitrous oxide.
  • There are over 1,400 different products abused as inhalants.

Inhalant Addiction Treatment

Even though addiction to inhalants peaked in the early 2000s, children and adolescents continue experimenting with these substances. Inhalants can not only cause withdrawal symptoms but also the first use can have life-threatening consequences. When someone starts showing inhalant addiction signs, it’s paramount to speak with an addiction treatment specialist to determine the best way to seek help. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our addiction recovery programs include:

Medical Detox: A clinically supervised detox process held in addiction treatment centers ensures the patient’s safety and makes the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs: After detox and maybe a partial hospitalization program, patients can choose an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that gives them the flexibility to attend school, work, or care for family members while still attending addiction treatment. 

Long-term Recovery Programs: It’s easy to relapse after treatment; almost sixty percent of people relapse. Long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety, especially when people with alcohol addiction tend to struggle with related problems all their lives. 

Group Therapy: As part of an alcohol addiction treatment program, patients often find group therapy helpful. So our team integrates 12-step meetings and other group therapy settings to assist in the recovery phase. 

Get Help Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, seek help immediately. Call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction center specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.

Our philosophy revolves around treating each patient on a case-by-case scenario because we know no two addiction stories are alike. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment–your life depends on it. 

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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