Drug and Alcohol

Inhalants Withdrawal: A Major Complication of Inhalants Addiction

Inhalants withdrawal is a complication of inhalants abuse. Learn what to expect from inhalants withdrawal and more in our blog.

Inhalants Withdrawal: The Facts & More About Inhalants Addiction

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

April 10, 2024

The Forge Recovery Center

No addictive substance is ever good for you. And that goes double for substances that were never intended for human consumption.

Inhalants are a wide variety of substances whose fumes are inhaled. They include household cleaners, gasoline, solvents, and even medical gases like nitrous oxide. Nicknamed “whippets” after a popular brand name of nitrous oxide canisters, laughing gas abuse is one of the most common forms of inhalant abuse.

Like other drugs, it’s possible to experience withdrawal symptoms from inhalant use.

What Is Inhalants Withdrawal?

Inhalants withdrawal is when your body reacts to suddenly stopping the use of inhalants like aerosols or solvents.

You might experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, sweating, and irritability as your body adjusts to the absence of the chemicals. Your brain gets used to the effects of inhalants, so when you stop, it needs time to readjust.

It's important to seek support from professionals or support groups if you're going through inhalant withdrawal. They can provide guidance and help you manage any discomfort you may feel during this process.

Substances Classified as Inhalants

Below is a breakdown of the substances classified as inhalants:

Common Household Products

Things like glue, paint thinners, and aerosol sprays contain volatile substances that can be inhaled to produce a high.

Medical Anesthetics

Some chemicals used in medical procedures, like nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), are also used recreationally for their euphoric effects.

Industrial Chemicals

Chemicals found in workplaces, such as solvents and fuels, can be misused as inhalants.


Substances like amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite, often sold as "poppers," are used to enhance sexual experiences and sometimes in club settings.

Spray Paint

Ordinary spray paint can also be abused as an inhalant to induce intoxication.

Inhalant abuse poses significant risks to both your health and overall well-being. Whether it's you grappling with inhalant misuse or a loved one, it's crucial to seek assistance from a healthcare provider or counselor to pave the way toward recovery.

Symptoms of Inhalant Addiction & Misuse

Inhalant addiction has symptoms of addiction that are very similar to other harmful substances.

  • Sudden changes in behavior: You may notice significant shifts in your behavior, such as becoming more secretive or withdrawn.

  • Physical signs: Look out for physical symptoms like frequent headaches, nausea, or nosebleeds, which can indicate inhalant misuse.

  • Changes in appearance: Your appearance might change, with weight loss, unkempt appearance, or frequent sniffing or red eyes.

  • Financial issues: Misusing inhalants can lead to financial strain due to spending money on purchasing inhalants.

  • Neglecting responsibilities: You might start neglecting your responsibilities at work, school, or home due to preoccupation with inhalant use.

  • Relationship problems: Misusing inhalants can strain relationships with family and friends, leading to conflicts or distancing.

  • Loss of interest: You may lose interest in activities you once enjoyed as inhalant use becomes a priority.

  • Inhalant withdrawal: When you try to stop using inhalants, you might experience withdrawal symptoms like agitation, insomnia, or mood swings.

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Would you like more information about inhalants withdrawal? Reach out today.

Specific Health Concerns of Extended Inhalant Misuse

Extended inhalant misuse can lead to specific health concerns that you should be aware of:

Brain Damage

Prolonged inhalant abuse can cause irreversible damage to your brain, affecting cognition, memory, and decision-making.

Cardiovascular Issues

Inhalants can put a strain on your heart, leading to irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and high blood pressure.

Liver and Kidney Damage

Chronic inhalant use can harm your liver and kidneys, impairing their ability to filter toxins from your body.

Respiratory Problems

Inhaling toxic chemicals damages your respiratory system, leading to chronic coughing, wheezing, and even respiratory failure.

Bone Marrow Suppression

Certain inhalants can hinder your bone marrow's ability to produce red blood cells, leading to anemia and increased susceptibility to infections.

Psychological Issues

Extended inhalant abuse can cause anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and even psychosis.

Additionally, inhalant withdrawal can be challenging, so don't hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals for support during this time.

What Are Inhalant Withdrawal Symptoms?

Inhalant withdrawal can be tough to navigate, but understanding the symptoms can help you prepare for what's ahead. Here's a rundown:

  • Physical Symptoms: You might experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and even tremors. Your body's adjusting, so these sensations can be intense.

  • Mental and Emotional: Get ready for mood swings – from irritability to anxiety and depression. Your brain's trying to recalibrate, so it's normal to feel all over the place emotionally.

  • Cravings: Your body's missing the rush it used to get from inhalants, so you might find yourself yearning for that high.

  • Sleep Troubles:

    Don't be surprised if your sleep patterns go haywire. You might struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, leaving you feeling exhausted during the day.

  • Cognitive Issues:

    Your thinking might feel foggy, and concentration could be a challenge. It's like your brain's taking its time to catch up without the inhalants.

These symptoms may feel overwhelming initially, but remember, they won't last forever. Stay strong and seek support if you need it.

You are not alone on this journey. Inhalant abuse is a form of substance abuse that's often misunderstood. If you're struggling, you're not alone. Reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more about inhalant abuse and how we can help you get your life back.

Inhalant Withdrawal Timeline Based on Various Factors

Inhalant withdrawal can vary from person to person based on different factors. Here's a quick breakdown of what you might experience:

  • Duration: Withdrawal symptoms typically start within hours of the last use and can last for days to weeks, depending on factors like frequency and duration of use.

  • Severity: The intensity of withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly. If you've been using inhalants heavily and for a long time, you might experience more severe symptoms.

  • Individual Differences: Your own physiology and mental health can influence the withdrawal process. Some people may find it easier to cope, while others may struggle more.

  • Support System: Having a strong support system in place, whether it's friends, family, or professionals, can make a big difference in how you navigate withdrawal.

  • Medical Intervention: In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary to manage severe withdrawal symptoms or complications.

Everyone's experience with inhalant withdrawal is unique. Don't hesitate to reach out for support if you're struggling. You're not alone in this journey.

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We’re here to help you find your way

Do you have more questions about inhalants withdrawal? Reach out.

Treatment for Inhalant Addiction

Here's a quick rundown of how you can treat inhalant addiction:

  • Detoxification: You'll start by getting rid of the toxins from inhalants in your body. This process can be medically supervised to ensure safety.

  • Therapy: You'll dive into therapy sessions, both individual and group. These help you understand the root causes of your addiction and develop coping strategies.

  • Medication: In some cases, medication might be prescribed to manage withdrawal symptoms or treat any underlying mental health issues.

  • Support Groups: Being around others who understand what you're going through can be incredibly comforting and motivating. Support groups offer a sense of community and understanding.

  • Behavioral Therapies: You'll learn new behaviors and habits to replace the old, harmful ones associated with inhalant use.

  • Relapse Prevention: You'll work with your healthcare team to develop a plan to prevent relapse and maintain your sobriety.

  • Aftercare: Even after formal treatment ends, it's important to stay connected to support networks and continue therapy or counseling as needed. This ongoing support is crucial for long-term recovery.

Embracing Recovery: Your Journey Through Inhalants Withdrawal

Inhalant withdrawal can be a challenging journey, but remember, you're not alone. Recognizing the grip inhalants have had on your life is the first step towards reclaiming control.

As you navigate through withdrawal symptoms, stay strong and seek support from professionals who understand your struggles.

Your journey to recovery is unique, and it's essential to find a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more about how you can take your life back from inhalants.

The path to a healthier, inhalant-free life starts with taking that first step towards help.

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