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Treating Inhalant Abuse 

Because inhalants are often common household items, they are hard to control. If your child is abusing inhalants, talk to him or her. Be sure your child knows the risks of inhalant use. Also talk with a healthcare provider about treatment.

Mother and daughter sitting on a couch, talking

The risks of inhalant abuse

Over time, inhalant abuse may lead to addiction. This means that children may have an intense craving for the drug. And they may not be able to stop using it. In rare cases, inhalant abuse can lead to sudden death (sudden sniffing death syndrome). It also can cause health problems such as:

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle weakness

  • Loss of coordination or loss of hearing

  • Heart, kidney, or liver damage

  • Damage to the brain, nerves, or both

How is inhalant abuse treated?

Your healthcare provider can help you decide the best treatment for your child. Treatment centers for inhalant abuse do exist. You can also call or visit a local mental health clinic. If you can't find a treatment center in your area, call the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition at 855-704-4400.

You can help prevent inhalant abuse

Talk to your children about the dangers of inhalant abuse. And be alert for signs of a problem. Some parents don’t know about inhalants. They may be more worried about alcohol and drug abuse. But inhalant abuse can be just as serious. And it often starts sooner than other types of drug abuse, often in grade school.


National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, 855-704-4400

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helpline, 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357)

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Wanda Taylor RN PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2018
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