Kicking the inhalant habit

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Since the most commonly abused inhalants are typical household items, such as paint thinners, glues, and cleaning products, it's extremely difficult to spot someone with a problem. Although there are certain warning signs to watch for, such as loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing, sneezing, and facial rashes, there's seldom any truly incriminating evidence. There's no special equipment, like pipes, rolling papers, or needles, necessary for inhalant use. Most users breathe the fumes from an easily disposable bag or chemical-soaked cloth. What's more, even if you do manage to discover someone you know is using inhalants, it's virtually impossible to forcibly stop them. Treatment facilities for inhalant users are rare and difficult to find, and users generally suffer a high rate of relapse. Addicts usually require between 30 and 40 days of detoxification, during which they're likely to experience a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, nausea, excessive sweating, hand tremors, muscle cramps, headaches, chills, and delirium tremens. Follow-up treatment is extremely important, and generally involves one-on-one counseling or group therapy. Most experts agree that education and continuous support are necessary to discourage continued use. For more information about kicking the inhalant habit, consult a local healthcare provider.

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