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Inhalant Detox and Withdrawal

Inhalants are typically household products containing breathable vapors that provide a sense of euphoria when inhaled. Less expensive than illegal drugs, inhalants are popular among younger drug users. Extensive use can, however, cause psychological addiction and neurological damage, so most medical professionals recommend time in an inhalant detox center to break the addiction once it develops.

Effects-of-InhalantsVolatile organic solvents make up the majority of most of the inhalants used recreationally. The measure of volatility in the solvent is in how quickly it goes from a liquid to a gas. Since the method of taking an inhalant is by breathing it in, a user wants the product to be as volatile as possible to produce as many fumes as possible in a short period of time. Fuel gases and anesthetic gases are also commonly abused inhalants, with commercial products often used along with those products that are usually found in a user’s household.

Dangers of the High Associated With Inhalant Use

The high received from inhalants is compared favorably to that of alcohol intoxication or the effects of marijuana smoking. For many young people, getting an inhalant is easier than getting either alcohol or marijuana, so inhalants often become the primary drug of choice until the addict enters an inhalant detox center to deal with the inhalant addiction.

Most inhalants are extremely toxic chemicals with dangerous fumes and were never intended by the manufactures to be inhaled. As drugs, they can be highly dangerous to use, with extensive use of inhalants causing often irreversible neurological damage. Because of this, stopping use via the help of an inhalant detox and rehab center as soon as possible is critical to the future well-being of the user.

Although inhalants are not physically addictive, the psychological addiction, along with the withdrawal symptoms that accompany stopping cold turkey, makes detoxing under medical supervision one of the best methods for passing successfully through the withdrawal period. With 24-hour medical supervision, the user can be watched for any serious withdrawal effects or hidden medical issues that were masked by the inhalant use. Find out more about withdrawal programs at inhalant detox centers by calling .

The Inhalant Withdrawal Process

While physical addiction to inhalants is rarely seen, psychological dependency on the high received from the drug’s use is a common occurrence. In addition, withdrawal symptoms occur in a large segment of users once the use of inhalants is stopped. According to a paper released by Dove Press on substance abuse and rehabilitation, 47.8 percent of those studied who met the requirements for a dependency on inhalants actually experienced serious inhalant withdrawal symptoms.

Inhalant withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of the last dose. For those seeking detoxification under medical supervision, this means entering an inhalant detox program as quickly as possible after taking that dose. No recognized inhalant withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening, but there are currently no medications that allow a user to go through detox without experiencing some degree of withdrawal symptoms. In some instances, antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs may be given to combat the depressive aspect of psychological withdrawal.

Common inhalant withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Inhalant Detox

Detox at an inhalant withdrawal treatment facility is the first step to ending the psychological hold that inhalants have over the dependent user. Once the user checks in, the process of getting the user clean begins immediately.

Upon entry into an inhalant detox center, the user must undergo medical and neurological screening. These exams help to assess the overall healthiness of the user. The medical exam is accompanied by a medical and drug history interview to determine what other drugs the user might have indulged in. Knowing the full range of drug use is important in treating the user to prevent the administration of medications that could create a harmful mix in the user’s system with any existing drugs present. It also helps to determine if drug use is masking illnesses the inhalant user may have.

Since inhalants can cause neurological damage, it’s important for medical personnel to determine the amount of damage possibly experienced before a fully tailored treatment program can be produced. This is why a neurological screening is a vital part of the entry process to any inhalant detox center. After the exams, detox begins in full; it then becomes a matter of moving through the withdrawal process for the drugs to get out of the user’s system.

While in detox, some medications may have to be administered for issues not related to inhalant treatment, particularly if the medical screening found evidence of ADD, depression or a similar problem. Because an inhalant user must wait for the drugs to pass out of his or her system naturally, if rehabilitation is planned after detoxification, the period spent on both must sometimes be extended beyond the usual minimum of 28 or 30 days used for other addictive substances. A minimum of 90 days is often required, with 120 days sometimes being necessary for successful recovery. It has been shown that longer treatment times correspond with more effective long-term recovery rates. Call to find an inhalant detox center with an opening near you.


  • SAMHSA research found that 43 percent of those receiving treatment for inhalant abuse were ages 17 or under.
  • Though often seen as a youth drug problem, a Drug Abuse Warning Network study of inhalant-related emergency room visits determined that the largest segment of visits included those over the age of 35.
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