Everything you need to know about inhalant dependence and treatment options from Northlake.


Inhalants are substances that are not used in the way they were intended and result in a high when inhaled.

Treatment options at Northlake include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Outpatient Treatment


Inhalants are substances that are not used in the way they were intended and result in a high when inhaled. These substances are products that can be bought at a store and contains dangerous chemicals that can have mind altering effects on people. The most common age groups to use inhalants to get high are young kids and teens. Common products used include:

  • Spray paints
  • Markers
  • Glues
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Redi-Whip
  • Gasoline

How does it work

The substance and the chemicals in the products are quickly inhaled and absorbed by the which results in a high. They call this process “bagging” – when the chemical is placed in the bag, then inhaled. This can be very dangerous as they are inhaling dangerous chemicals into their body. There are different types of inhalants such as:

  • Gases
  • Aerosols
  • Nitrites
  • Volatile solvents


What are the side effects?

Side effects of inhalants can include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lightheadedness
  • Intense feelings of happiness
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Excitability
  • Loss of coordination
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Mucous membrane irritation
  • Sudden death (irregular and rapid heartbeat that leads to sudden heart failure)


Signs of abuse/overdose

These are some signs that a person or a loved one might be using inhalants:

  • Chemical odors on the breath or clothes
  • Paint or other stains on hands, fingers or clothes
  • Changes in behavior including apathy (lack of interest)
  • Significant decrease in appetite and weight loss
  • Sudden change in friends and hobbies
  • Rapid decline in school performance
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Paranoia



Withdrawal symptoms for Inhalants can generally present within the first 24 to 48 hours after the last use. The duration and severity of symptoms vary from user to user, but most people go through the worst of withdrawal in about a week. Psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings and depression, can last significantly longer than any physical symptoms. These are some of the other symptoms that might occur:

  • Hand tremors
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety

Effective Treatments

Obtaining a comprehensive assessment provides a full understanding of the acuity of someone’s Inhalants dependency. If an individual needs to detox before treatment, this is considered acute detox which can last up to a week depending on the severity of use. Individuals with more mild Inhalants dependency can benefit from counseling sessions that are both group sessions and individual sessions that provide important insights and coping methods in a setting such as intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment. Some of the type of the therapies are CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Motivational Interviewing, Family Therapy, and 12-step programs.

The Ness Center at Northlake offers a variety of treatments to help individuals struggling with substance use dependency including:  Intensive Outpatient treatment, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), and Outpatient treatment.

Contact The Ness Center at Northlake today to discuss how we can help you begin your recovery journey: