What Are Inhalants?
Inhalants are generally common household products that, when inhaled, produce a high. These products include aerosol sprays and solvents, which are liquids that turn to gas at room temperature. The act of inhaling these to get high is often called, “huffing.” Because inhalants can be found and purchased in drugstores and supermarkets, and are low-cost, inhalant abuse is particularly prevalent in adolescents and young adults.
Side Effects of Inhalants
The effects of inhalants come on quickly, within seconds to minutes of use, and last only for several minutes.
Effects of short-term inhalant abuse include:
- Muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
Because the effects of inhalants appear and fade so quickly, many individuals use the substance repeatedly in a short period of time. Inhalants are addictive, and long-term use can do serious damage to the mind and body.
Effects of frequent abuse of inhalants include:
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
- Strong cravings for inhalants
Dangers of Inhalant Abuse
Research on inhalant use states, “More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older have used inhalants, and every year more than 750,000 use inhalants for the first time. Despite the substantial prevalence and serious toxicities of inhalant use, it has been termed “the forgotten epidemic.” Inhalant abuse remains the least-studied form of substance abuse, although research on its epidemiology, neurobiology, treatment and prevention has accelerated in recent years.”
Inhalant abuse can cause serious and irreversible psychological and physical damage, and can also be fatal. Inhalant use can result in chemical and thermal burns, persistent mental illness, and even extreme emergencies such as ventricular arrhythmias leading to “sudden sniffing death.” It is also important to note that inhalant use can be deadly upon first use— in a study on fatal cases, 22% of inhalant abusers who died of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome had no history of previous inhalant abuse—they were first-time users.
Recurrent inhalant abuse can also lead to neurological disorders, such as Parkinsonism, and degradation of brain cells.
Inhalant Abuse and Addiction Treatment
If you are considering seeking inhalant abuse and addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, know that help is widely available and recovery is possible. If you have questions or concerns, call us today. We at Rehab Carolinas are experienced in substance abuse and addiction and are here to help.