Effects of Long Term Use of Inhalants & its Treatment, Rehab

What are Inhalants and How are They Used?

Inhalants are extremely volatile substances which produce vapors which when inhaled can cause intoxication similar to alcohol or recreational drugs. In other words, inhalants are chemicals which tend to make you “high.” Although other abused substances can be inhaled, inhalant gets it name just purely because there is no other way to consume it except through vapors and inhalation.

There are a wide variety of chemicals which can be used as inhalants but usually there are four types of chemicals which are widely used by teenagers as inhalants to get high. These chemicals are volatile solvents, aerosols, certain gases, and nitrites which are easily accessible as they are present in various household and medical products. Some of these chemicals are also used in industries.

Some of the ways that people can use inhalants are by way of sniffing or snorting the fumes from containers in which these chemicals are stored, spraying them directly to the nostrils or mouth, spraying the fumes in a plastic bag and covering the face with the bag and sniffing the inhalant.

Effects of Long Term Use of Inhalants

Effects of Long Term Use of Inhalants

Initially, the inhalants may make an individual feel ecstatic and high just like any alcoholic beverage or a recreational drug would do but inhalants are extremely harmful to the overall health and may prove to be fatal in some cases.

Long term use of inhalants can result in the compounds mixing in blood and causing loss of consciousness, lack of oxygen resulting in severe damage to the cells and neuromuscular toxicity. They can also cause severe damage to the brain resulting in permanent disability. Long term inhalant use can also result in severe damage to the liver and kidney. In some cases, long term inhalant use can also cause cardiac arrest which can be potentially fatal.

The effects of Long Term Inhalant Use can begin with sudden weakness in the muscles, muscle spasms, central nervous system depression. This may then progress to loss of sensation in the upper and lower extremities. Some people may even feel pins and needles sensation as a result of Long Term Inhalant Use.

Gradually over time Long Term Use of Inhalant can cause dependence on inhalants and stopping the use of the inhalant may cause severe withdrawal symptoms. If an individual experiences such withdrawal symptoms which are extremely tough to handle then it is recommended to see physician who can formulate the best possible treatment plan to get the individual out of the situation and prevent any permanent damage to the vital organs of the body due to long term use of inhalants.

Treatment & Rehab for Long Term Use of Inhalant

If an individual recognizes that long term inhalant use is doing more bad than good to their overall health, then there are treatment and rehab options available to prevent any further damage to the body as a result of long term addiction to inhalant use.

The treatment and rehab of long term use of inhalants is done in three stages:


This is the first stage of the treatment process in which the patient gets off the inhalant use in a medically safe manner with minimal withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms usually may last for a day or two before you are completely detoxified from inhalant use. The patient may be given mild sedative in some severe cases to cope up with the withdrawal symptoms of long term inhalant use.


This is the next stage of treatment in which the patient is counseled on the harmful effects of long term inhalant use. The patient will be told how long term use of inhalant has affected his or her life and health in a negative way and also ways to stay away from this addictive habit so that the individual does not get back into the habit after being treated and discharged from the rehab facility.


This is the final stage of the treatment and rehab for long term use of inhalant in which various methods are taught to the patient on how to stay away from inhalant use and carry out day to day work in an uninterrupted way. In some cases, the patient may be referred to an assisted care facility where he or she may live for some time and adjust to the life without inhalants.

In summary, inhalant use is a growing menace in our society today. They are the best alternatives for drugs and alcohol and are not cost prohibitive. This is precisely the reason why teenagers are getting more attracted to this form of substance use and addiction. Addiction to Inhalants not only affect the overall thinking of the individual but also tends to affect the overall body functioning which may become fatal for the individual due to long term inhalant use.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 5, 2017

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