Prevalence, timing, and predictors of transitions from inhalant use to Inhalant Use Disorders

Brian E. Perron, Matthew O. Howard, Samopriyo Maitra, Michael G. Vaughn

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Few studies of the natural history of DSM-IV inhalant substance use disorders (I-SUDs) have been conducted. This investigation examined the prevalence, timing, and predictors of transitions from inhalant use to formal I-SUDs among inhalant users within a nationally representative sample. Methods: Participants were 664 U.S. residents participating in the 2000-2001 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions who reported lifetime inhalant use. Respondents completed structured interviews assessing DSM-IV psychiatric/substance use disorders. Bivariate and Cox regression analyses were conducted to identify risk factors for transitions from inhalant use to I-SUDs. Results: Nearly one in five (19.4%) persons initiating inhalant use developed an I-SUD. Most I-SUD transitions were to inhalant abuse rather than inhalant dependence. Risk for development of I-SUDs was greatest in the first year following initiation of inhalant use and low thereafter. Multivariate proportional hazards models indicated that presence of a mood/anxiety disorder (HR = 7.7, CI = 3.1-18.9) or alcohol use disorder (HR = 11.9, CI = 5.46-26.00) antedating initiation of inhalant use predicted significantly elevated risk for I-SUDs, whereas being married conferred a lower risk for onset of I-SUDs. Conclusions: I-SUDs were relatively common among inhalant users, generally occurred in the year following initiation of inhalant use, and were associated with early-onset mood/anxiety and alcohol use disorders. Given the young average age at onset of inhalant use and the rapidity with which most I-SUDs developed, interventions directed to adolescents who have initiated inhalant use might be effective in reducing the proportion of inhalant users who develop I-SUDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NESARC was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with additional support provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Data analysis and writing of this article was supported by grants DA021405 (Natural History, Comorbid Mental Disorders, and Consequences of Inhalant Abuse, M.O. Howard, PI), and DA15929 (Neuropsychiatric Impairment in Adolescent Inhalant Abusers, M.O. Howard, PI) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and by an institutional grant from the Curtis Center of the University of Michigan. Neither the National Institute on Drug Abuse nor the Curtis Center had a role in the design or conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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