Inhalants are solvents, aerosol sprays, gases and nitrates that people inhale through their mouth or nose to get high. These deadly substances are found in almost every home in the world. There are over 1,000 household and other common products that people inhale to get high. Some of the more popular inhalants are gasoline, spray paint, shoe polish, glue, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, white out, toluene, nitrous oxide, amyl nitrite, lacquer thinner, cleaning fluid or paint solvents. “Whippets” and “poppers” are popular inhalants that are sold at dance clubs.
Users inhale the fumes from rags that are soaked in chemicals which is known as “huffing” or they inhale the vapors directly from an open container which is known as “sniffing”. Some users even spray some of these substances directly into their nose or mouth. “Bagging” is another way that users breath in the fumes. This is when chemicals are inhaled from inside a paper or plastic bag. This is known to increase the chances of suffocation. Users have also been known to put inhalants on their sleeves or collar and sniff them during a period of time.
These toxic chemicals are absorbed through the lungs and into the bloodstream which quickly reach the brain and produce effects that are similar to anesthetics. They slow down the body’s functions and can cause irreversible physical and mental damage.
Effects of Inhalant Abuse
A user experiences intoxication just seconds after inhaling these toxic vapors. They produce a variety of effects that may only last a few minutes, leading users to repeatedly inhale these substances. Some of the desired effects that users may be trying to achieve are hallucinations, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, a head rush or a loss of inhibitions.
Some of the unwanted effects that users may experience are coma, blackouts, slurred speech, bloody nose, convulsions, vomiting, depression or suicidal thoughts.
Extended use of inhalants may cause a person to experience weight loss, memory loss, hostility, brain degeneration, heart damage or addiction and a progression to use other addictive substances.
Dangerous Health Risks of Inhalants
Using inhalants even just one time can cause serious health consequences or even death. Inhalant abuse can cause many different health problems and irreparable damage to the brain, nervous system, eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, bone marrow and other organs.
Prolonged use can damage parts of the brain that are involved in controlling movement, cognition, vision and hearing. Users can experience blindness or loss of hearing. Muscles can also waste away making a person weak.
There are several ways that death can occur from inhalant abuse. Death can occur from asphyxiation, suffocation, convulsions or seizures, coma, choking or fatal injury.
- Asphyxiation occurs from fumes depriving the lungs from oxygen.
- Suffocation occurs when air is blocked from entering the lungs because a plastic bag is placed over the head.
- Convulsions or seizures are from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain.
- Coma is when the brain shuts down.
- Choking can occur from inhaling vomit.
- Fatal injury can happen from an accident brought on by intoxication.
Are Inhalants Addictive?
Users can become psychologically and physically addicted to inhalants. The effects only last minutes which can lead users to use over and over again over the course of several hours to stay high. This can create a psychological dependence which can then lead to a physical dependence. A person may experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. This can drive a person to start using again.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse
Some of the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse can be obvious especially if they’re leaving behind empty cans or bags and rags that smell of solvents. You may even see paint or other stains on their face or smell chemical odors on their breath. Their clothes may even reek of toxic fumes.
The appearance of a person who has been using inhalants will have a drunken look and his or her speech will be slurred. They may appear drunk or disoriented.
How to Help Someone with Inhalant Abuse
If you suspect that a loved one has been using inhalants or any other drugs, seek help immediately. Addictions to any drugs never get better without the proper help. It only gets worse and can lead to many problems and heartache for the addict and the people around him or her. It can also put the addict’s health at risk and other people’s lives in danger.
If you’re not sure about how to approach the situation, call a Narconon Fresh Start counselor today at 855-734-2223. We offer free consultation services that can help save your loved one’s life.
Ask about our drug detoxification and life skills portion of the program. Our drug detoxification program helps to remove drug residuals from the body that drive cravings. The life skills portion of the program teaches individuals how to take control of their life and stay drug-free. These are both very important factors in helping individuals to succeed and get on on with their life without turning back to drugs. Call and get help today.