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How is Inhalant Addiction Diagnosed?
Inhalant abuse is difficult for healthcare providers to detect. No laboratory tests or exams can detect the presence of chemicals in the body. If the user does not admit to using inhalants, abuse or dependence is not easy to prove. Practitioners will gather a health and family history and will usually rely on reasonable suspicion to conclude that inhalant abuse is the problem.
When the likelihood of inhalant use is established, dependence on the substances may be formally diagnosed as “inhalant use disorder.” To be diagnosed, inhalant use must cause significant impairment or distress, and at least two of the following symptoms must be present over a 12-month period:
- Inhalant use is greater than the user intends, either in dosage or frequency.
- The user has a desire to quit or has unsuccessfully tried to quit using inhalants.
- The user spends significant time acquiring, using, or recovering from the inhalants.
- The user has a strong craving for inhalants.
- Inhalant use is interfering with the user’s obligations or responsibilities.
- Inhalant use continues despite the harm it does to the user, physically or otherwise.
- Inhalant use interferes with the user’s normal activities and routines.
- Inhalants are used in dangerous situations.
- Tolerance for the inhalant develops, creating the need for higher doses or more frequent use to achieve the same effect.
- Abstinence from the inhalant causes withdrawal symptoms.
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