AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Inhalant Use Linked to Head Injuries, Traumatic Experiences and Mental Illness

Incarcerated youth who have suffered head injuries, traumatic experiences and mental illness diagnoses are more likely to abuse multiple inhalants, according to research published in the journal PLOS ONE, which reported that severe polyinhalant users had more than double the rate of head injuries, the highest rates of traumatic experiences and the highest rates of mental illness diagnoses among study participants. Delinquent behavior was also higher in severe polyinhalant users and began younger than in other inhalant users. Polyinhalant use refers to using an assortment of inhalants over a period of time, either simultaneously or successively. “Our goal is to understand the simultaneous use of specific inhalants, which could lead to prevention and intervention strategies,” said the study’s lead author. “This study demonstrates the need to address the high rate of head injuries and mental health diagnoses that contribute to polyinhalant use. Based on our findings, we believe that policymakers and clinicians should target antisocial youth for prevention and treatment.” Inhalant use in adolescents disproportionally affects antisocial youth who regularly exhibit behaviors such as aggression, hostility, defiance and destructiveness. Forty percent of antisocial youth have used inhalants compared to about nine percent of youth in the general population. To read more about this study, click here.

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