Inhalant use has shown in studies to be addictive due to the rate of sacrificing behaviour; negative effect on school, occupation, relationships, and health (Kono, Miyata, Ushijima, Yanagita, Miyasato, Ikawa & Hukui, 2001). Substance dependence as defined by the DSM-IV is when an individual continues to abuse a drug regardless of problems related to the use of the drug (APA, 2004). In addition, withdrawal symptoms are required to occur for a person to be considered dependent on a drug. According to Kono et al., (2001), mild levels of anxiety, inattentiveness, tremors, restlessness, and insomnia have all been measured when an individual who abuses inhalants stops using for several hours.
Inhalant chemicals effect many different neurotransmitter pathways similarly to alcohol, including dopamine (Bowen, 2009). It is the effect on dopamine in the limbic system that has been said to reinforce the rewarding effects of inhalant use (MacIver, 2009)