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The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Two people on couch, talking about the dangers of inhalant abuse

Sometimes, the most dangerous substance to abuse isn’t even an illicit drug. For example, many young people begin experimenting with inhalants—never considering the potentially deadly consequences. Call 888.296.8976 to speak with someone from Northpoint Recovery about the dangers of inhalant drug abuse and addiction and our inhalant addiction treatment program in Idaho.

About Inhalants

Inhalants are chemical vapors produced by several standard products. When inhaled, these vapors can cause mind-altering effects while simultaneously causing brain damage and putting the abuser at extreme risk of death. Many people who abuse inhalants mistakenly think that the products must be safe. Unfortunately, that is far from true.

Commonly Abused Inhalants

Thousands of everyday household products can be abused as inhalants, such as the following:

  • Solvents
  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Kerosene
  • Butane
  • Paint thinners
  • Nail polish removers
  • Correction fluids
  • Spray paints
  • Degreasers

Depending upon the specific substance, inhalant use will have varying effects—from alcohol-like intoxication to intense euphoria to vivid hallucinations. These effects typically only last for a few minutes, so the person will often inhale the vapors repeatedly.

Signs of Inhalant Abuse

Even though inhalants are frequently common household substances that, in and of themselves, shouldn’t arouse suspicion, there are telltale signs that you can watch for that may serve as “red flags” indicating inhalant abuse:

  • Poor appetite
  • Rapid or unexplained weight loss
  • Pale or bluish skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Glassy eyes
  • Slow, unintelligible speech
  • Persistently runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Lack of coordination

You may also find empty bottles or cans of substances with a strong chemical odor in possession of someone abusing inhalants.

Slang Terms Used by Inhalant Abusers

As with every drug subculture, inhalant abusers have their terms. In general, the use of inhalants is called “huffing,” but there are several other slang words that can be used. Inhalants can also be known as:

  • Air blast
  • Bagging
  • Chroming
  • Disco-rama
  • Glade
  • Hippie crack
  • Moon gas
  • Poor man’s pot
  • Spray
  • Toilet water

Hearing any of these terms from a loved one may be a sign that they engaged in inhalant abuse.

Dangers of Inhalant Abuse and Addiction

Intentional inhalation of chemical vapors can be highly toxic and damaging to a person’s internal organs. This type of organ damage can take an extremely long time to heal and, in some cases, may be permanent. Chronic, long-term abuse of inhalants can cause damage to the body, similar to the effect of multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Other, more immediate and potentially-fatal dangers include:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Suffocation
  • Frostbite
  • Aspiration of vomit
  • Brain damage due to lack of oxygen

These substances can cause depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, and suicidal thoughts. In some cases, inhalant abuse or addiction can lead to sudden sniffing death syndrome, where the abuser dies without warning.

Find Inhalant Abuse and Addiction Treatment in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery

In some ways, the dangers of inhalant drug abuse are worse than with other substances—primarily because the toxic substances used cause long-term, sometimes permanent, damage. Inhalants are not simply drugs—they are poisons. Because of those toxins, detoxification can sometimes take over a month after inhalant abuse. Inhalants can be addictive, so professional drug treatment and counseling are necessary to return to a safe, healthy lifestyle free of substance abuse.

The most important thing to know about inhalants is that anyone can abuse them—no matter how young or successful or well-behaved they are otherwise. If you have a young child or teenager in your home, you owe it to them and your family to have a frank discussion about the dangers of inhalant drugs. Contact Northpoint Recovery today at 888.296.8976 to learn more about inhalant drug abuse and addiction treatment in Idaho.