Substance abuse increased during the pandemic, which can only mean that an increasing number of people are suffering from the harms of addiction. These harms include negative impacts on psychological, physical, and financial health. They may also include harm to others or criminal activity. Unfortunately, these significant outcomes don’t suffice as a deterrent for the person who is addicted. This creates a perpetual circle of harm. While each substance or intoxicant may offer different short-term rewards and variable outcomes, legal intoxicants are a unique risk because of their availability. Alcohol and inhalants remain common substance abuse culprits due to finding these items in local stores. The person considering using the drug doesn’t have to do it covertly.
What Are Inhalants?
Inhalants are described as products that contain fumes that are toxic and sometimes lethal but cause the user to get high. They are everyday products, such as spray paint, markers, glue, and liquid fuel. Their intended uses are ordinary, but their off-label use is mind-altering and intoxicating.
Also known as huffing, the abuse of inhalants as a drug can be addictive. It also has negative health impacts such as heart damage, asphyxiation, seizures, and damage to the brain and nervous system. This damage can result in dementia or death.
Who Uses Inhalants?
The most common demographic of inhalant abusers is adolescents, and the prevalence decreases with age. According to a 2015 survey, 3.4% of adolescents ages 12 to 13 used inhalants in the past year. Felt-tip markers contribute to commonly used substances.
Anyone can easily try inhalants because they are cheap and legal. In the case of school-age children, the inhalant may even be provided at school. This is why it is more commonly used at this stage in emotional and social development. Adolescents will experiment with positive and negative notions in order to establish their identity and assert their independence. Unfortunately, one encounter with inhalants can result in long-term damage or death.
Inhalants and Alcohol
As with many drugs, consuming inhalants with concurrent alcohol ingestion worsens an already dangerous situation. The person who combines inhalants and alcohol enhances the impact it will have on their cardiovascular and nervous system. This can result in an increased risk for heart attack, coma, and stroke. If the person survives, long-term inhalant and alcohol abuse can also damage the liver and kidneys, and it can damage hearing and vision.
Helping Loved Ones With Alcohol and Inhalant Abuse During the Age of COVID-19
Using inhalants and alcohol can have many harmful effects, but the emotional impacts and stigma of drug use can prevent recovery. In particular, children may feel that they’ve irreparably disappointed their parents and adult mentors. Friendships with peers may be difficult to rebuild. The person with addiction may feel shame, anxiety, and depression. All of these emotional effects cause them to return to inhalants and alcohol, seeking a distraction from the reality of their decisions.
To the loved one, watching the process of addiction is devastating. Most would do anything to get their addicted family member or friend back or free them from the chains of addiction. But the person suffering from addiction is unable to see or believe that they can move beyond it.
Find Treatment Options for Alcohol and Inhalant Abuse During COVID-19
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we understand that the body and the mind need to heal in order to recover from the damage caused by inhalants and alcohol. We also understand the hurdles a person will face on the road to that recovery.
A person breaking free from a dual-substance addiction needs a tailored approach to their recovery plan based on the drugs used and the individual needs of the client. The treatment variables must be customized. Thus, the person can cope with the consequences of their addiction but also build a place for hope, joy, and dreams of the future.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today.