Glue Sniffing Help & Treatment
While the term ‘glue sniffing’ has become popularized, glue is not the only type of inhalant that people use in an attempt to get high.
People searching for an easy and cheap high can easily find it in readily available household items such as:
- Nail polish remover
- Shoe polish
- Hair spray
- Paint thinner
- Cooking gas such as butane
- Lighter fluid
How Does it Make People Behave?
The effects of glue sniffing are sometimes similar to the effects of intoxication from alcohol use and can include:
- Slurred speech
- Mood swings
- Aggressive behaviour
However, sniffing glue can produce different effects on different people and there is no way to foretell how sniffing glue can affect you.
Dangers of Sniffing Glue
There is no way to tell how sniffing glue or using inhalants will affect you until it is too late. People often have different reactions to inhalant abuse and it is highly likely that each time you use an inhalant to get high, your reaction will be different.
For example, there may be times that your reaction is less severe, and other times that your reaction will be more severe.
Sniffing glue and abusing other inhalants can be incredibly harmful to your health, and it can even be life-threatening. Even if you feel fine after, there is a strong chance that you have caused irreparable damage.
Sniffing glue exposes your brain and circulatory system to a range of harmful chemicals that can cause several different health issues. While you may not suffer from each of them, you are putting yourself at risk of experiencing long-term and serious problems, including:
- Heart issues, including irregular heartbeat
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Choking on your own vomit (if you pass out from the intoxicating effect of the substance)
Some of the most dangerous complications from sniffing glue include:
1. Acute respiratory failure
Toluene is an ingredient commonly used in solvents and – when inhaled – can produce symptoms and side effects similar to intoxication. This substance is linked to acute respiratory failure in patients who have used inhalants to get high. (1)
Acute respiratory failure is a condition that affects your ability to breathe. This means that there isn’t enough oxygen reaching the rest of your body and it can be fatal.
Your chances of suffering from acute respiratory failure are heightened if you also drink excessive amounts of alcohol and regularly take other drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and opioids alongside glue sniffing. (2)
2. Brain damage
Sniffing glue has been linked to impaired brain function, and studies show that the damage caused to the brain tissue can be long-lasting. (3)
Substances that contain ingredients such as toluene and naphthalene cause damage to the fatty tissue that covers the nerve endings that surround the brain called the myelin sheath. When these harmful substances are inhaled, they quite literally dissolve this fatty tissue, causing impaired brain function and a host of neurological issues. (4)
Treatment of Glue-sniffing Addiction
Like most instances of substance abuse, inhalant abuse can lead to addiction if it is left untreated for a prolonged period of time.
Addiction occurs when a person feels that they need more of the substance in order to feel the desired high, and they find that they are taking the substance more often than anticipated. Addiction to inhalants can also have negative effects on school, work and relationships and it is best that any addiction is treated sooner rather than later.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to glue sniffing, it is recommended to seek professional medical help as soon as possible.
Treatment for inhalant abuse happens in various ways, including:
1. Physical examination
Any addiction can have negative effects on your health, and a medical professional will want to carry out a full physical assessment to check for a range of health complications.
During this examination, your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs as well as take your blood pressure.
They may also check your liver and kidney functions as these are commonly affected by glue sniffing.
2. Neurological testing
Your mental health will be observed and taken into consideration when coming up with a treatment plan to help you overcome your addiction.
As well as this, medical professionals will also want to check for neurological damage so they know the full extent of the damage caused.
3. Therapy sessions
Therapy is one of the most common types of addiction treatment, with many different therapy options available to choose from.
A medical professional or addiction specialist will be able to work with you to offer you a range of therapy treatments that will best suit your needs.
The type of therapy you will benefit from will depend on your personal circumstances, but common types of therapy used to treat inhalant abuse are:
- Group therapy – these sessions allow people struggling with inhalant abuse to discuss their addiction with other people who are also struggling with substance abuse. This can make people feel less alone and can give people a support network of people who understand what they are going through.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT aims to change the way a person approaches situations, for example, it teaches you to have a more positive approach to attract more positive outcomes.
- Trigger identification and relapse prevention – knowing the reasons you turned to sniff glue in the first place can be integral in helping you overcome your addiction. Also, recognising what makes you want to sniff glue and how to avoid these things in the future can make a huge difference in your recovery.
- Individual Therapy – talking privately to someone that will not judge you can be a good way to offload some heavy emotions and help clear your thoughts.
- Family Therapy – bringing family members into therapy sessions can help mend broken relationships and can make things easier in your home life.
4. Online therapy options
In a post-pandemic world, many people prefer to stay home and receive therapy online. There are plenty of options to achieve this with many therapists offering group and individual sessions through online meetings such as Zoom.
To avail of these sessions, you will usually have to reach out to your therapist of choice and chat with them about the online services they offer.
Preventing Inhalant Abuse in Teens
Having teenagers can be stressful, especially when it comes to fears of peer pressure around alcohol and substance abuse.
The best way to teach your teenagers about the dangers of substance and inhalant abuse is to be upfront and honest with them. Have open conversations about these issues and be approachable so they know that they can come to you with any issues or concerns they may have.
It is important to be actively involved in your teenager’s life, this way you will know when something is wrong or if they have any problems.
Some of the important issues to discuss about inhalant abuse and glue sniffing are:
- The different products that can be abused and how they are abused
- The slang terms used for the different substances
- Be honest about the effects of the substances, even if it makes you uncomfortable
- Try to switch out solvent-based school supplies for water-based ones.
Get Help Today
Here at Rehab Recovery, we are dedicated to getting you the help you need to overcome an addiction.
No matter your addiction, age, or background, we will have the advice to help you on the road to recovery.
Give one of our addiction specialists a call today on 0800 088 66 86.
We have a dedicated team of experts who are waiting to take your call.
 National Library of Medicine – Toluene inducing acute respiratory failure in a spray paint sniffer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3616184/
 National Library of Medicine – Acute respiratory failure from abused substances – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15296619/
 National Library of Medicine – Neurophysiological signs of brain damage due to glue sniffing – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2578349/
 National Library of Medicine – Inhaled Solvent Abuse Mimicking Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7307582/
 National Institute on Drug Abuse – What are the short- and long-term effects of inhalant use? – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/inhalants/what-are-short-long-term-effects-inhalant-use