When we think of drug abuse, there are a list of substances that likely come to mind. However, there is a hidden danger that is likely in your own home that is being abused more often than most even realize. Inhalants are a growing problem, and research has indicated that, between 2002 and 2006, 593,000 teens aged 12 to 17 have used them. They come in many forms. From air fresheners to cleaning agents, spray paint and more, there are dozens of common household products that can be abused. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of abuse can help you understand if there is a problem present under your roof.
Signs of a Problem
Inhalant abuse has likely not received the recognition it deserves, and many unsuspecting parents aren’t even aware it’s a potential problem. If you have noticed a change in a loved one, a little knowledge can bring you closer to the truth. Among the warning signs of inhalant abuse to be aware of include:
- Appearance of being drunk or otherwise dazed
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
- Sores or blemishes around the mouth
- Strange chemical odor on breath or on clothes
- Presence of paint on the face
It can be scary when you are unsure if a loved one is using inhalants, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For starters, since inhalant abuse is common amongst younger people, it is worth the time to speak with your pediatrician. They are familiar with your child and can help you recognize obvious signs of concern. Whether or not you have recognized any of the symptoms mentioned, it is also a good idea to proactively advocate for wise decisions and let your children as well as their teachers and guidance counselors know the dangers of misusing these products.
Other Signs to Look For
Aside from the physiological signs that inhalant abuse produces, there are also certain behaviors that are indicative of a problem you should be aware of. For example, if you notice a loved one is using markers to paint their fingernails, they may be using this as a way to inhale the product without being noticed. You may also notice that they have a tendency to smell their clothing for no apparent reason.
When It Goes Too Far
Abusers of inhalants achieve a fleeting feeling of euphoria that does not last longer than a few minutes. However, when it goes too far, serious consequences can quickly result, leading to permanent brain damage and even death. In an emergency, stay with the person and move them to an area with good ventilation. Call for emergency services and resist asking the person if they have abused an inhalant as this can lead them to become over-excited. The main goal is to stay calm and get help quickly.
Help When You Need It Most
If you have identified that a loved one is indeed abusing inhalants, help is just around the corner. These products can become addictive, and seeking the help offered by A Forever Recovery ensures they’re no longer exposed to temptation. Here, they will receive the support they need to overcome withdrawal symptoms safely and with individualized attention. There is life beyond inhalant abuse for those with the motivation to achieve, and the counselors at A Forever Recovery can help ensure success.