Inhalants Addiction & Abuse Explained
Inhalants – a range of chemicals inhaled through the nose or mouth to produce an intoxicating “high” – have been abused in the UK for generations, despite the stigma attached to their use and the dangers that inhalant abuse entails. If you have an addiction to inhalants, your life is at risk; however, fortunately there are a number of clinics operating across the country which can help you overcome your addiction and get back to a healthy and happy life.
If you are addicted to inhalants, your first port of call should be your GP, who may be able to give you immediate treatment and who can recommend further treatment options for you. You should also speak with an addiction specialist who understands the addiction treatment landscape in the UK: it can be very difficult to navigate through the many different choices you will face when contemplating treatment for your inhalants addiction, and the more help you can get at the start of your journey, the easier those choices will be – and the more likely the eventual success of your treatment.
Importance of treating inhalants addiction & when to seek treatment
Abusing inhalants can kill you – both immediately, through asphyxiation, hypoxia, cardiac arrest and many other conditions which can result from inhaling chemicals, and in the long term as a result of the permanent damage, including brain damage, which inhalant abuse can cause. Every day that goes by when you are abusing inhalants makes it more likely that you will suffer permanent damage as a result of your habit, and even that you will die from it. Therefore, the sooner you can get help to overcome your inhalants addiction, the better.
There is no wrong time to get the help you need; however, the longer your addiction goes on the harder it will be to break, so as soon as you can accept that you have a problem with inhalants and can decide to seek treatment, it is important that you reach out to your GP and/or an addiction specialist to get the process going as quickly as you can. Certainly, if you have tried and failed to stop abusing inhalants, and/or if your inhalant abuse has begun to have a serious detrimental impact upon your life or on those of the people around you, seek help immediately to prevent further harm.
Understanding inhalants addiction treatment and rehab options
Because inhalant abuse is such an entrenched problem in Britain, medical authorities have developed significant expertise in treating it, and there are now a great many different options for addiction treatment from which to choose. Not every kind of treatment, nor every specific clinic, will suit you and your circumstances – many different factors, including the state of your health, the length and severity of your addiction, your financial circumstances, and where in the country you live will all affect your choice of addiction treatment – but whether you opt for treatment provided by the NHS, a private organisation, or a charity, the important thing is that you do get help; failure to do so could cost you your life.
- NHS Options
- Private Rehab
- Residential Care
Private rehab vs free treatment options for inhalants addiction
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Executive/luxury rehab programmes for inhalants addiction
Some addicts who work in senior, high-pressure roles are reluctant to seek treatment because they do not feel they can afford the time away from the office which treatment requires. If you have such a role, you should check out executive rehab options, in which you will have access to facilities such as videoconferencing suites, secure internet et cetera which will enable you to stay active within your professional role while you receive treatment.
If you are a high net worth individual used to a high standard of living, you may prefer to be treated in a luxury rehab environment, in which the standard of accommodation and facilities is on a par with those offered by high-end hotels or holiday resorts and in which you can relax and focus fully on your inhalants addiction treatment with minimal stress and optimal levels of comfort.
What Happens in Inhalants Rehab
No two inhalants addiction treatment clinics are the same, and nor are any two individual journeys through treatment and recovery: everyone responds differently to treatment, and the way in which one clinic approaches the treatment of inhalants addiction – including the type of therapy required, the regime governing interaction between clients and many other factors – will differ, perhaps significantly, from that adopted by another. As a result, it is important that you do not build up too many preconceptions about inhalants addiction treatment.
Nevertheless, and with that in mind, it is possible to draw up a rough guide as to what you might expect when you in role in inhalants rehab.
Inhalants rehab admission process
If you have an inhalants addiction and have decided to seek help, when you first speak with a treatment organisation they will request some basic details about your condition and the nature of your addiction before recommending a specific clinic. At this point, you will usually be asked to provide deposit; when this is paid, your place in treatment will be confirmed and you will be able to make your way to the facility (some rehabs provide transport at this point).
Inhalants addiction assessment
Upon entering the clinic, your first port of call will be a full medical assessment so that doctors can get as complete as possible an understanding of your condition. This assessment will be the basis of the addiction treatment plan which will govern your treatment for the rest of your stay in rehab.
It is imperative that during your assessment – and indeed throughout treatment – you are as candid as possible with your doctors, not only because your treatment plan needs to reflect as accurately as possible the state of your physical and mental health (and therefore treatment is likely to be less effective if the details of your assessment are inaccurate) but because doctors may prescribe medication as part of your addiction treatment, and if these prescriptions are based on faulty information they may well be counter-productive or even dangerous.
Acceptance of the problem
One thing which doctors will be especially keen to see during your initial assessment is that you have accepted that you have a problem with inhalants, and need help to overcome your addiction. No addiction treatment will be successful unless the addict in question is truly determined to do what is necessary to overcome it – and that means admitting that they are addicted. If doctors are not convinced that you are fully accepting of your condition, they will not be confident that you will engage correctly with your treatment.
Many people find it difficult, at least at first, to admit that they have a drug addiction, because they feel that this is an admission of a weakness of character. However, once you are able to speak freely and openly about your condition you will be able to receive the full benefits of the treatment provided to you in rehab, especially including therapy.
Medically assisted/controlled detoxification
Following your assessment, you will move through into the first phase of treatment proper: detoxification (detox). Detox is a period of abstinence during which your system is cleansed of substances of abuse – including inhalants – and their effects. Without going through detox you will still be under the influence of your substance abuse, and any dependence which may have developed.
During your detox phase, withdrawal symptoms may manifest. Withdrawal syndrome can be extremely distressing and debilitating (as well as potentially dangerous); however, doctors will be on hand 24/7 to ensure your safety, and may be able to prescribe certain medications to alleviate the impact of at least some withdrawal symptoms. Medically assisted detox may well begin immediately following your assessment if doctors believe it would be helpful to prescribe medication straightaway to get an early start on combating symptoms of withdrawal.
The next phase of treatment is sometimes known as rehabilitation (which should not be confused with the use of the term “rehab” to describe both addiction treatment in general and a facility in which such treatment may be provided. Rehabilitation is centred upon therapy aimed at uncovering and addressing the psychological causes of your inhalants addiction and at giving you a range of coping strategies and mechanisms which you can take onwards into your recovery when you leave the clinic.
Alongside therapy you will also benefit from the provision of bespoke dietary and fitness plans (following the mantra “healthy body, healthy mind”) as well as from being able to take advantage of any facilities such as gyms, swimming pools et cetera which your clinic may offer.
What is an Inpatient Rehab Programme?
Inpatient rehab – also known as residential rehab – sees clients staying on-site to receive the various elements of their addiction treatment plans in a safe, confidential, tranquil, substance-free and friendly environment. Inpatient rehab programmes usually last between one and three months (though programmes of different lengths, including much more intensive programmes in some cases are provided by some clinics), during which time clients will have 24/7 medical support and will be able to engage with other recovering addicts who understand the nature of addiction and as a result can offer vital support, companionship and advice during difficult times.
What is Outpatient Rehab?
Not everyone feels able to remove themselves from daily life and obligation such as family and work for the length of time that an inpatient treatment programme usually requires. If you do not feel able to commit yourself to inpatient treatment you may wish to explore outpatient rehab options.
In outpatient inhalants addiction treatment you will visit a treatment clinic for therapy sessions, medication prescriptions and potentially various other appointments, but will be expected to carry out the other components of your addiction treatment plan independently. This flexibility can help some addicts balance life responsibilities and treatment; however, because it does not remove you fully from the environment in which you have succumbed to inhalants abuse and addiction, it can make relapse – and potentially the total failure of your treatment – significantly more likely.
Day programmes are offered by some clinics, in which a client will attend the clinic for treatment during the daytime for anywhere between one and seven days per week, but will return home or to other accommodation every night. Such programmes are considered to be especially appropriate for addicts to live near the clinic and who can therefore travel to and from treatment relatively easily; those with robust support networks which can step in during times of crisis if the addict is away from the clinic; clients who have gone through an addiction treatment programme but require ongoing support; and anyone who has responsibilities at home – such as the presence of a young baby – which may make overnight stays in the clinic challenging.
Day programmes are not advisable for anyone living more than an hour or so away from the clinic; anyone who does not have a strong support network and who might therefore struggle outside the clinic; and anyone who suffers from dual diagnosis or any other health complication which may increase the complexity of their treatment.
Intensive outpatient programmes
Intensive outpatient treatment is, as the term suggests, a more intensive version of traditional outpatient rehab. Intensive outpatient treatment programmes require clients to attend the clinic for a number (four or more) of comparatively lengthy (usually between three and five hours) sessions every week, but allow them to go about their normal lives when not attending the sessions. If employers are amenable, this may allow the addict in question to remain working during a timetable which fits around their schedule of treatment.
Because of the length of time away from the clinic intensive outpatient treatment usually entails, most clients in such treatment programmes are required to undergo regular drug testing to make sure that they are not engaging in substance abuse during their time outside the clinic.
Ongoing care – more often called “aftercare” – is given by clinics to clients who have completed an addiction treatment programme in order to shore up recovery. Recovering addicts often require – or at least can benefit from – supplementary care in the form of ongoing therapy, checkups, further prescriptions and more, and because of this quality rehabs usually provide up to a year’s free aftercare to those clients who have been through treatment.
While aftercare plans differ from one organisation to another – and it is always important that you get details of aftercare provision when doing your research into potential treatment clinics – a typical plan will include some appointments provide on-site and others given over the phone or email, with the frequency of those appointments declining over the period of the aftercare plan as the client moves through recovery. You may also be required to attend counselling and/or support group meetings outside the clinic.
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How is Medication Used to Treat Addiction?
There is currently no pharmaceutical cure for addiction, including inhalants addiction; treatment is based upon a combination of detox and therapy. However, medication does often play a number of important roles in the treatment of addiction. Doctors may prescribe medication to alleviate cravings; to help addicts reduce the dosages; as less problematic, legal alternatives to certain dangerous illegal substances; and to disincentivise substance abuse. If a client’s health is endangered at any point during the treatment process, they may also receive the appropriate medication as would anyone else whose health is in jeopardy.
Medications used in addiction treatment & rehab
While quite a few medications have been approved for use in addiction treatment in the UK, not all such medications are relevant to every case of addiction – for example, someone struggling with an inhalants addiction would not receive medication designed to disincentivise alcohol consumption – and it may not be appropriate to give certain medications to particular individuals: some medicine might interact dangerously with other drugs including substances of abuse, while some people with certain health conditions may react especially badly to particular medications. Because of this complexity it is imperative that you never try to self-medicate your inhalants addiction: only ever take any medicine in strict accordance with the instructions of a prescribing doctor.
In rehab, medication is most commonly prescribed to alleviate withdrawal syndrome. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the case – following your initial assessment, doctors may decide for one reason or another that it will not be appropriate to prescribe you with any medication. If you do not receive medication this should not be taken as an indication that your condition is any less serious than any other addict’s, nor that your treatment is any less likely to be successful.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
- Buprenorphine (Buprenex)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Acamprosate (Campral)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Modafinil (Provigil)
- Desipramine (Norpramin)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Bupropion (Buproban)
- Gabapentin (Fanatrex)
- Vigabatrin (Sabril)
- Baclofen (Kemstro)
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Psychotherapy for Inhalants Addiction Treatment
All addiction treatment has psychotherapy at its heart, and the treatment of inhalants addiction is no different. Therapy aims to discover the fundamental causes of addiction and to remediate the problematic thought processes and behaviours which have resulted in your engagement in substance abuse, and your subsequent descent into addiction. Treating only the physical elements of addiction through detox is unlikely to result in permanent abstinence as it will not address the issues which have driven the development of addiction in the first place.
Many different approaches to therapy are employed in the treatment of addiction, some of which can be especially beneficial when provided in combination with each other, and/or in conjunction with the prescription of particular medications.
Social skills/interpersonal/growth psychotherapy
Poor social and interpersonal skills are a major contributor to substance abuse and addiction. People who struggle on an interpersonal level can find it very difficult to develop and sustain the kind of relationships which many people take for granted, including important romantic and professional relationships, the absence of which can lead to very significant psychological difficulties. Such people frequently turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism; this abuse can also contribute to a negative feedback dynamic in which addiction causes social withdrawal and increased isolation, driving further substance abuse.
Interpersonal psychotherapists work with clients to improve the latter’s existing social skills and to help them develop new and more effective ones. This typically results in increased happiness and general well-being, and greater potential in the fields of romance and work, with obvious benefits. Improved interpersonal skillsalso tend to make therapy and other elements of treatment more effective as clients are able to describe their emotions and impulses more articulately.
In psychology and psychotherapy, “coping” means putting conscious effort into solving various personal and interpersonal problems with the aim of minimising, overcoming, or becoming able to tolerate stress and conflict. Coping strategies are usually developed as a person matures, but some individuals adopt negative coping strategies including substance abuse, which can be extremely harmful.
Coping-focused psychotherapy methodologies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) are commonplace in the treatment of addiction, and seek to give clients more positive and more effective coping mechanisms with which they can take on the various challenges which they may encounter during the course of their daily lives. Therapist will work with clients to establish why the coping mechanisms they have employed previously have been ineffective, and perhaps damaging, and to point them towards ways in which they can adopt different perspectives upon how they cope with the issues which have proven so problematic in the past.
Nevertheless, exploratory psychotherapy frequently has profound benefits in terms of boosting self-esteem and self-awareness and improving mood regulation, and these benefits can frequently continue to be gained long after the end of an addiction treatment programme; recovering addicts often stay in therapy for months or even years after they cease their substance abuse because of the positive impact that such therapy has upon the way they see themselves and their place in the world.
Types of psychotherapy used in inhalants addiction treatment
A great range of therapy methodologies and models can be found in addiction treatment; understandably, however, each clinic can only provide a limited number of these methodologies, and if a particular type of therapy (perhaps one with which you have found success in different circumstances in the past) is a priority for you you should certainly find out which clinics provide that form of therapy when doing your research prior to commencing treatment; an addiction specialist can give you information on the different forms of therapy provided in treatment facilities in your area.
Some clients wish to experiment with a number of different therapy options before they settle on a combination which is most beneficial to them – but some clinics are more receptive than others to this kind of experimentation, and again you should discuss with any clinic you are considering attending what scope there is to try out different types of therapy before finalising the approach which you will adopt over the rest of your treatment.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Art therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Dialectical behavioural therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Family therapy
- Fitness therapy
- Group therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Individual therapy
- Music therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
The Recovery Process
Recovery should be seen as a long-term process; indeed, many recovering addicts find it useful to think of recovery as something which lasts a lifetime, ensuring that they will constantly be aware of temptations and the risks which giving into them entail. Therefore, when you leave the clinic, you should not consider your recovery to have been achieved; instead, consider this simply the next phase of your treatment, and one with its own challenges and potential pitfalls.
Elements of recovery
Although it can be somewhat misleading to compare different experiences of recovery – after all, everyone’s journey through addiction and treatment is unique – it can sometimes be beneficial to divide recovery into various different elements which you can address individually in therapy in order to develop skills and coping mechanisms which are applicable to each element. Sometimes, different therapy models and approaches can be especially useful when dealing with certain components of recovery, and your therapists will certainly place great emphasis on these key components during your treatment.
Everyone has different skill sets and capabilities, and you may find that you are particularly strong in some areas and less strong in others. This is natural, and gives you a useful focus for the work that you do in therapy, especially towards the latter stages of your treatment programme.
- Developing hope
- Secure base
- Sense of self
- Supportive relationships
- Social inclusion
- Coping skills
- Giving meaning
How Long are Inhalants Rehab Programmes?
When you begin treatment for your inhalants addiction you will have a certain timeframe in mind; however, it is important that you retain a degree of flexibility when it comes to how long you will be in treatment, since developments during treatment may impact upon how long you stay at the clinic: for example, you may respond especially well to treatment and move through your treatment plan more quickly than expected. On the other hand, you may encounter unexpected difficulties which will require you to remain in treatment for longer than planned.
Usually, a stay in inhalants rehab will last for between 30 and 90 days (though some clinics provide shorter and more intensive programmes, as well as enabling extended stays if required); how long you initially expect to stay in treatment will be determined by various factors including the severity of your addiction, how long you have been abusing inhalants, your physical and mental condition, and the type of treatment which you are signing up for.
What does Inhalants Rehab Cost in the UK?
Very roughly speaking standard residential inhalants addiction treatment in the UK costs between £4,000 and £15,000 a month; it is very important that you get precise figures from any clinic which you are considering attending before you commit to treatment. An addiction specialist can give you guidance on pricing, and may be able to direct you towards more affordable treatment options.
Inhalants Addiction Recovery and Aftercare
Quality rehabs offer up to a year’s free aftercare for clients who go through addiction treatment. You should take advantage of every element of your aftercare plan regardless of how strongly you feel the urge to move on from treatment and get on with the rest of your life: aftercare can be an absolutely vital element of your recovery.
Recovery and community
Your support network will be extremely influential on the eventual success of your recovery phase; however, do not think only of loved ones and friends when you think of what constitutes your support base. There are a great many recovering addicts who are now active in support groups and other organisations aimed at helping people in recovery, and you can find significant support and companionship from members of that community – as well as gaining the therapeutic benefits of helping others through their recovery journeys.
There are now various support group organisations – the most prominent of which is Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – which can be found across the country giving support to recovering addicts, including former inhalants users. Support groups usually meet on a weekly basis, with no charge for attending: the only criterion for attendance is usually a commitment to abstinence. To learn more about support groups active in your area, speak with an addiction specialist.
NA operates on the 12-step methodology first developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step models have saved countless lives over the past few decades and you may well benefit from participating in a 12-step programme (though it is worth bearing in mind that some people find certain steps incompatible with their personal beliefs). Get in touch with an addiction specialist to find out more about the 12-step model.
Ready to Start Rehab?
Abusing inhalants could kill you, while any addiction can be hugely damaging to your life circumstances and prospects. If you are an inhalants user and wish to break your habit, don’t waste any time in reaching out to your GP and/or an addiction specialist; every day that goes by without you tackling your addiction increases the likelihood that you will end up causing yourself permanent harm.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
If you are an inhalants addict you may feel that you have no control of your life; however, you can take back control with the right professional help. Reach out to your GP and/or an addiction specialist about the treatment that you may be able to receive for your inhalants addiction; making that call could be your first step on your recovery journey and the road back to happiness and success.
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