Inhalants are a class of substances that have been increasing in popularity among those seeking a way to get high, especially young people such as teens. Among these substances are paint thinners that can provide abusers with an easy way to obtain a substance when other drugs or alcohol are not available.
What Is Paint Thinner?
Paint thinner is a popularly used solvent used to thin out oil-based products. It is also used to clean up areas after they’ve been used. Several common products on the market can be used as paint thinners, including the following:
- Mineral Spirits
The two principal ingredients in paint thinners are toluene and xylene, and these are also found in spray paints and glues. Using paint thinners can induce a great deal of harm to the brain and body. Exposure to the vapors from these products may be hazardous.
Why Do People Abuse Paint Thinner?
The human brain reacts to chemicals toluene and similarly to the way it responds to alcohol. The result is an inundation of dopamine in the brain, and users experience euphoric feelings that provide a desirable high. Toluene acts rapidly, and as a result, some immediate side effects are frequently encountered.
Using paint thinners is relatively easy. Individuals use them by either soaking a cloth with them and inhaling the vapors or placing them in a bag and inhaling them that way. The latter method is hazardous because the fumes are so heavily concentrated. Depending on the process that’s being used, paint thinners can result in a relatively long-lasting high.
Why Is Paint Thinner Addiction Treatment Necessary?
Paint thinner addiction treatment may be needed for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s not rare for those abusing paint thinners to advance onto the use of other drugs—in other words, it can be a gateway drug like marijuana. Addiction treatment can also be necessary for paint thinner use due to the potential for devastating results after even one use. Toluene and xylene are potent chemicals, and people have reported experiencing:
- Ongoing headaches
- Reduced inhibitions
- Poor motor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Vision impairments
If not discontinued promptly, paint thinner abuse can result in severe problems, including paralysis, coma, or death.
Paint Thinner Addiction Signs and Symptoms
If you are a parent or believe you know someone who is abusing inhalants, you should take note of the signs and symptoms of this disorder, which can include the following:
- Impaired coordination
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart and lung damage
- Risk of heart attack
- Lasting fatigue
- Appearing drunk
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Impaired judgment
It’s clear that using paint thinners is hazardous, and the risks associated with using them even once are very prominent. Discontinuing their use might not be easy, but certainly possible for those who have access to the appropriate level of support.
In the short term, you may notice that your child (or the person question) always has a runny or red nose. They may sweat a lot or have rashes or sores around the nose or mouth. Their skin may appear pale, and you may even notice that they’re experiencing hallucinations.
Paint Thinner Withdrawal
Fortunately, there are no documented physical symptoms of paint thinner withdrawal. However, that does not mean that quitting them abruptly doesn’t have come with risks. There are psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with using paint thinners, and they’re the reason why so many individuals go back to using when they try to discontinue use on their own.
Typical paint thinner withdrawal symptoms may include the following:
- Panic attacks
- Insomnia/sleep disturbances
- Intense drug cravings
- Transient hallucinations
The course of action for withdrawing from the abuse of paint thinners often involves addiction treatment. Depending on each person’s circumstances, they may also be advised to undergo medical detox.
Getting Professional Help for Inhalant Abuse
For those addicted (or those who have a loved one who is), it can sometimes feel like the situation is hopeless, with no way of escape. Fortunately, however, this isn’t the case at all. Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery are here for you.
We offer comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that feature a wide variety of intensive services and activities custom-designed to help those we treat overcome active addiction and maintain long-lasting health and wellness. Some of the methodologies we provide include the following:
- Medical detox
- Group support
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Relapse prevention
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Dual diagnosis
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events