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SLR2009

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, I was about 11 years old when I developed an obsession to straighten my hair using Hair Spray, Every time I straightened my hair I felt a drunken effect which eventually wore off after 10 minutes. 

There wasn't much ventilation in the bathroom where I straightened my hair with Hair Spray. When I turned 15 I began intentionally inhaling the hair spray. 

I would either spray the can and then breathe the fumes or put some spray on my finger and inhale it. I did this because my mom restricted me from having friends and we would always fight, I was lonely. 

She's very overprotective. I purposely inhaled the hair spray for about 2-3 years. When I was in 9th Grade I began to feel spacey and felt a bit drunk. Every year the drunken feeling kept getting worse. I lost many desires which include school, making friends, job, etc. I stopped caring about everything. 

When I was 16 I had a fight with my mom and I got upset and intentionally inhaled the hair spray. I was waiting for the high to wear off but it never did. Since then the feeling of being high or drunk never wore off. 

It didn't just effect my vision but it caused me mood changes and psychological problem, depression, fears, anxiety. My Personality became numbed, and thinking is sometimes difficult for me. I am now 25 years old, I haven't touched hair spray since I was 16. 

I did suffer some withdrawals when I stopped using the hair spray. 9 years have passed since I abused the hair spray but my issues remain. I've been living with my grandma, grandfather, and mom for aproximately 10 years now. 

I am living a life of hell. Every day is a nightmare for me. I currently see a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. I am taking antidepressants. I'm not even sure if there doing anything after all this time. My whole life is just a blur. 

I have short term memory issues as well. I want to go on and enjoy my life. I want the drunken feeling to wear off. I can't experience, I can't enjoy tv, computer, conversations or daily life. I could do it but it's not that fun.

My Dad is very supportive and I eat out with him every thursday at the diner. He's pushing me to drive a car, get a job and have friends. I would like to do that too but I'm afraid. With my issues do you think that I could drive? 

If I could go back and never touch the hair spray and get my health back I would do it in a second.

Most sites on the internet discuss going for rehab to stop using the substance but none of them talk about what to do once you get the brain damage. 

Can medication, stem cells, hyperbaric chamber reverse the damage that inhalants cause to the brain? Has anyone had success with reversing the brain damage that the inhalants caused?

I want to go on with my life. I want to see normally and live a normal life. Can you help me?

Thank you
janesmith

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Posts: 579
Reply with quote  #2 
I'm sorry that you're still having problems since having used an inhalant.  Please talk with your doctor about your symptoms, including problems with your vision.  Regarding damage to the brain, the injured areas are not supposed to come back, however, over time, the brain is said to supposedly form new nerve pathways to help compensate (to a certain extent) for the injured areas.  Please, however, talk with a medical doctor, especially a neurologist, to rule out other health issues pertaining to the vision changes and such.  Bless you for sharing your story, and perhaps your difficulties can help someone else to not go down the same path.
SLR2009

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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi, Thank you so much for responding to my post, it means a lot to me. Every day is torture for me, sometimes I wish that I wan't even alive anymore, (I'm not suicidal). 

I sometimes feel hopeless and depressed. I wish I had friends that cared for me. I wish I didn't have these issues. I'm currently seeing a Psychologist and Psychiatrist on a daily basis. They say that I've made great progress in terms of becoming independent.  

For 9 years all I did was work on the computer and I didn't leave the house that much. It's as though my desires were taken away from me. Now I'm doing shopping myself, taking my 5th driving lesson and started taking buses instead of having my mom drive me. 

Doing these things make me extremely nervous, overwhelmingly anxious, hopeless and depressed. I tend to have mood swings throughout the day. My Mom's very overprotective, same goes for my grandma which doesn't help either since there tension rubs off on me. 

If it was there way I'd be 90 years old and still in front of my computer. I've been to a few Neurologists over the years. They were not aware of my problem. When I told them that Hair spray caused me brain damage they were clueless. 

One of the Neurologists thought it was funny. The only people who I met who were aware of inhalant abuse and what it can do to the brain were the nurses and helpers working for the doctors, not he doctors themselves, isn't that sad

No one can really see my problem just by looking at me, I've been told that I'm very handsome. I feel like I have to prove my problem to everyone. As it is I feel very isolated, I guess it's caused by my spacey drunken feeling. 

I have taken numerous tests including 2 brain scans, one with contrast, one without, I've taken eye tests, blood tests, nerve tests, etc. All came back normal. 

How could the brain scan come back normal? Could the damage be too tiny to be seen on a brain scan? What keeps me going is hoping that a magic pill or cure will come out that can reverse damage from brain injuries. (Stem Cells, hyperbaric chamber, etc)

From what I heard Hyperbaric Chamber sometimes reverses damage from brain injury's but if I'm not covered then it would cost a few thousand dollars .

If I knew that I would live my whole life like this then I don't know if I'd want to go on. It's a shame since I was really young when I was abusing the hair spray before I knew that it was harming me. 

I would do anything If I could just go back to when I was 13 and never touch the inhalant but I can't . Is there some club or group for inhalant abusers who meet and share there experiences? Just curious. 

Is there some expert doctor in inhalants who I could contact? I tried calling the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition a few times but no one picked up.

Thanks again. 

Stu
janesmith

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Reply with quote  #4 
You're quite welcome.  It's very upsetting and frustrating for you, and understandably so.  Regarding the brain scan coming back as normal, some injuries to the brain may only be seen under a microscope.  The brain scan may pick up on more obvious abnormalities or structural damage. 

Pertaining to the hyperbaric chamber, I'm not too familar with the idea, and not to discourage you, but even if health insurance covered that, a patient who has had a hand in his or her own injury may have more difficulty getting a service covered than if perhaps the toxic exposure was by accident or if the brain injury was by another way. 

Regarding what type of doctor that may be able to talk to you about the effects of inhalant abuse itself, perhaps a board-certified toxicologist.  There are no easy answers, but perhaps talking with someone who has knowledge can help you in some way, if even in a small way. 

Since brain injury is sometimes referred to as an "invisible illness", it may be a bit more difficult for people to understand that the person has trouble in certain areas as opposed to someone who walks with a cane or walker, or someone who has an amputated limb. 

I'm not sure if you're familar with the Brain Injury Association of America, but perhaps there is a local support group:  http://www.biausa.org/state-affiliates.htm and can click one's state of residence on the map. 

The issue with doctors not realizing the true dangers of inhalant abuse really is sad.  Hopefully, the newer doctors are better educated about the effects of huffing.  I'm very surprised that even some of the neurologists weren't more familar with the dangers.     

Armyguy830

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi my name is Benny I did duster three time in my entire life I'm lucky to still be alive thank God. But recently I've been having an issue. See the first time I tried duster I saw how inebriated my friends got after one hit. I tried outta curiosity and it only lasted ten to twenty seconds. The second time I tried was at my house but I never fully inhaled yet I still got a high. The last time I tried was four days ago I was using duster and decided to take a big hit. I felt awesome .... That was until I woke up. That's right I passed out . I realize me waking back up is nothing short of a miracle....... I haven't felt the same since. I have trouble concentrating I feel absence in my mind like I'm not in control I'm on the verge of gong insane. Or so what it feels like. I'm tired of this. I second guess myself on everything I do. It scares me as if I was a child which I might as well be. If what I hear about the brain finding new connections is true then I wanna know how to speed the process up.
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bhlargh27

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Posts: 34
Reply with quote  #6 
From what I hear no but its possible to retrain other parts of your brain to do the lost tasks. And i feel you SLR2009. Same thing here. except my parents didnt take me to a psychiatrist until a year or so later and when they did they got mad at the psychiatrist for her saying that she thinks I have clinical depression and am skitz because of the halucinations. My moms been known to see stuff too and she is bipolar as hell and gets irritated easilly and tends to be really paranoid and make really irrational stupid decisions. She is a pain to me and loves to piss me off horribly, like she did yesterday. I called her a bastard and moved on saying"bastards will be bastards, just ignore it" but i still respect tht shes my mother, though being her kid seems more like a job instead of a privelage. dad drinks and smokes like crazy and is reluctant to get involved with anything. I called my friend last night and he said" wth do you want now" and hung up when I didnt talk to him all day. I told him i was pissed and that hes really not helping. i also snapped on him and he got scared and called back and got mad at me for not doing more to my mom for that, still being mad about it, even though it had happened 5 minutes beforehand and said "I have problems of my own I dont want to hear yours. You cant talk I have more than you" when he recently said we both have gone through the exact same things. He also got mad at me the last time and said I never do anything to fix things and im always helpless and needy when Im clearly in school making a 3.4 GPA in college doing architecture while my parents make it hard for me to even stay in school and ive been looking for a job for a year now, have found nothing and ive been learning how to drive so i can go and get my licence (my parents mostly ignored me as a kid and didnt teach me much). I really want to save up money to get a car and move out. 
Now I've got no one to talk to about it with and no one supportive and I'm afraid the next person I tell is just going to get concerned and then run away from me again like everyone else before has including my family. I thought he was different but hes just the same and it hurts me badly. help, please.
bhlargh27

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Posts: 34
Reply with quote  #7 
And yet he talks about his problems to me all the time and I have the heart to listen, even when its most inconvenient for me. Im really mad about it but I dont want to lose him like that because besides that hes a really good guy.
strike333

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #8 

Hey SLR, I know what you're feeling, cuz I'm in the same position as you.  2 years ago I got brain damage from overused of steroid eye drops to treat iritis.  Right now I get tightness in my brain and chronic mental exhaustion.  My MRI also showed normal.  However, I can't the MRI department and talked to a technologist, he said the reason why it showed normal is because it's a chemical damage, not structural.  The correct scan for this is called FLAIR.  Also you should see a neuro psychiatrist.  They would probably prescribe you powerful anti psychotic drug to help control the symptoms in your brain.  Find in your area like "brain damage clinic/network"  They have for specialized doctors than a neurologist.  I'm in the process of doing this.  I've also, like you, look into stem cell and hbot, but have not tried yet.  Good luck, my email is strike333out@hotmail.com

Jarods_fiancee

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Posts: 149
Reply with quote  #9 

How are all of you doing? Any updates?

ankhanh

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Reply with quote  #10 
You should go to doctor. He will give you the best solution!
Good luck!


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janesmith

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Reply with quote  #11 

Sleevs122 - I'm really glad that you've stopped the inhalant use, and I realize the issue with "harm reduction", but hopefully no one will substitute one substance for another, which is known as "cross addiction".  There are viable treatments for those with depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue.

 

Please also be aware that some marijuana can have drippings of PCP/"angel dust" and/or embalming fluid which can result in a permanent psychosis (a mental break from reality). 

 

Hoping that you make good, healthy choices in life.

SLR2009

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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #12 
Hey guys,

Thanks for all of your replies, I greatly appreciate it

As an update I'm in a worse state now than I was back in 2011. It seems my brain is extremely sensitive to alcohol, or any chemical that has a smell. Everytime that I have a few glasses of wine the spaciness never leaves me which over the past few years has made me feel extremely numb and much more drunk. I can't drink wine or any alcohol anymore because of this. If someone is putting gasoline into their lawnmower or car I have to stay away from there otherwise I will get a bad headache and I can be permanently effected.

I haven't abused the hairspray since I was sixteen but I haven't gotten better, only worse. My vision has gotten a lot worse, I feel extremely drunk as though I've consumed a lot of alcohol but I haven't. When I look at something I don't really see it normally. My body feels very numb, every time I pinch my skin I don't feel the pain so much, my sense of taste is dulled, My emotions are dulled as well, basically my ability to enjoy anything has been mostly taken away from me.

My memory is a lot worse than it was a few years ago, I have a very short term memory, I can barely remember if I did anything the day before, sometimes I don't even remember if I took  my anti-depressants, I can't remember much of my life anymore and it's very hard to think, thoughts don't come into my mind.

My life has still been on a roller coaster from time to time which includes nervousness, depression, hopelessness. I do have good days though when I feel decent and I have no tension. I can feel good for a few weeks but when I think of something negative or negative events occur I will get a feeling of tension which makes me depressed and hopeless which can last for a few hours, a few days or until the negativity is resolved by talking it out but that doesn't help all the time. It's a very unpleasant feeling, unfotunately I've been living with this tension which has come and gone for over 10 years now. Anti-depressants have not helped suppress this feeling, life has not been good to me .

I would do anything to change what I did in the past, I was young and did not realize the consequences until it was way too late . Right now I'm living at home and I can't work and don't drive. I want to drive desperately but I'm very afraid that It would not be safe . I went for driving lessons but I was having difficulty and stopped taking lessons. I have a difficult time learning new things or remembering stuff that I used to know. It took me a few weeks to memorize the permit book because I have a very hard time memorizing but I did pass the test and received my permit.

I have been to doctors such as neorologists but they didn't know much about inhalants and the brain damage that it could cause, they basically told me to see a phychiatrist to treat me for the psychological issues. I have seen a few psychiatrists over the last 10 years but they weren't very familiar with my condition either. I don't even have the ability to see anymore doctors, I can't handle the stress mentally. I would only see a doctor if I knew that there was a new cure or treatment that can reverse brain damage but I haven't heard of any.

I heard that Stem Cells may be able to re-grow brain cells but I haven't heard much news about Stem Cells for a few years now. I can't imagine living another 10 years like this let alone the rest of my life and in 10 years because of how sensitive my brain is to smells I will be in a worse state than I am now which is hard to imagine.

Has anyone had any success with reversing brain damage?

Any suggestions or advice?

zofran

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Reply with quote  #13 
I am sincerely sorry to hear of your misfortune, but please be comforted and know that you are not alone.  I too, have experimented with chemicals in my teen years from ages 15 to 19 that I most certainly regret.  And I too have quit, remained sober and turned my life around like you and battle with depression, insomnia, anxiety issues too and have trouble with learning and memory.  I probably had some brain damage too as a result of it b/c my IQ score went down afterwards.  I too, have been searching for ways to put it in reverse.  The best advice I can give you for now is continue abstinence from the inhalants, look up to Jesus and turn your sorrows to him b/c He cares for you, treat your body like a Holy temple by eating healthy, etc. and maybe even seek out support groups in your area.   Don't ever give up, no matter how bad things may seem.  Keep your eyes on the prize, eternity in peace with Jesus.       
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janesmith

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Reply with quote  #14 
SRL2009 - I'm sorry that you're still having such difficulty.  Perhaps knowing that you're not alone is of a comfort as "zofran" pointed out.  If you've been to a board-certified neurologist and have ruled out certain health issues which may cause the vision and cognitive ("cognition" refers to thought processes such as reading/understanding, problem solving, memory, short or long-term memory, focus & concentration, and reasoning) difficulties, perhaps a support group for those with brain injury may give you some solace and not feel as though you're in this situation by yourself.  It is my understanding that if someone has a brain injury from inhalants, it is basically a toxic exposure.  If you don't feel comfortable or safe driving, please go with your "gut feeling" and instead take public transportation or such. 

The respondent "strike333" had suggested going to a neuropsychiatrist who may prescribe medication, such as antidepressants or other such meds, for those who have mental health problems and neurological issues.  It may not be a panacea (cure-all), but perhaps that type of medical doctor will have more knowledge about how brain injury can affect mental health and such.  A neuropsychologist is a clinical psychologist (does *not* prescribe medication) who has specialized knowledge about how the brain affects behavior, and they might do cognitive (thought process) therapy.  Another licensed health care professional who may administer cognitive therapy is a certified speech-language pathologist (slp), which used to be referred to as a speech therapist.  Please, however, keep in mind that health insurance may *not* want to pay for services if the patient caused his/her own injury (albeit no one wants an injury to the brain or any organ) as opposed to someone who had an accidental toxic exposure or such.  Just an fyi that some health insurance companies prefer (if at all) to pay for cognitive therapy ("rehab") for those ONLY with a "traumatic brain injury"/tbi - a head/brain injury from outside force rather than an "acquired brain injury"/abi (which can occur from chemical exposure, stroke or aneurysm).
ronald33

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #15 
There is no easy way to reverse brain damage. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can be effective,but it must be used within about a month of the damaging event.

I've heard that various "HGH" compounds and "Pirecetin" could be nourishment for the brain....this is up in the air.

But do not go to any kind of a psychiatrist.....those people make their money causing brain damage (iatrogenic). See the work of DR. THOMAS SZASZ (R.I.P.)
et. al.


Reversing brain damage (and curing cancer) are two of the last medical barriers that need to be crossed. Politics (and greed) I think, are cruelly preventing a cure. There's no excuse for this society not reaching the point where such cures can be found.
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