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The Effects of Inhalants

Inhalant addicts aren’t given the same level of media attention as cocaine addicts or alcoholics. You won’t find many characters on TV shows suffering from an inhalant addiction and if one is shown, they are usually a dimwit with paint around their nose and mouth.

It’s sad because inhalant addiction is a real thing and it is very dangerous. It is so much harder to get help for your inhalant addiction or the addiction of someone you know when you can’t expect people to understand.

But, the staff at a treatment center will know how badly you are suffering and they will work to help you through the recovery process. If you are dealing with an inhalant addiction, you need help and you deserve to get it from a caring, knowledgeable staff. If you are having trouble finding a treatment facility or connecting with resources, you should contact at 800-256-3490 and speak with an expert today.

What Are Inhalants?

This is a difficult question because there is no single drug to offer up as an answer. Inhalants are simply a product whose chemical fumes are inhaled to cut off the brain’s oxygen supply and to produce mind-altering effects. But, like the substances that cause them, these effects vary. Some act as depressants, while other are stimulants.

Effects of Inhalants

Dizziness and alterations in awareness are common inhalant effects.

Most chemicals used as inhalants are found around the house. For example, the following are used as inhalants:

  • White-Out
  • Disinfectant
  • Cooking Spray
  • Markers
  • Furniture Polish and Wax
  • Air Freshener
  • Oven Cleaner
  • Spray Deodorant
  • Hair Spray
  • Butane
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Glue and Adhesive
  • Gasoline
  • Spray Pint
  • Freon
  • Paint and Paint Thinner

There are four general categories of inhalant:

  1. Volatile solvents: These are liquids that vaporize when they are exposed to room temperature air.
  2. Aerosols: These are propellant or solvent sprays.
  3. Gases: These include the obvious, like household and commercial gas, but also those used in medical anesthetics.
  4. Nitrites: These are known as poppers and they operate differently than other inhalants. Rather than affecting the central nervous system, they relax muscles and dilate blood vessels.

What Are Their Physical Effects?

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), inhalant abuse causes many of the same effects as alcohol abuse. Inhalants work by starving the body of oxygen. This makes the heart beat more rapidly to increase blood flow (with oxygen) to the brain. As this occurs, the high begins and it can cause dizziness, alteration in awareness of time and space, and stimulant effects. Because it is such a short high, users will have to use over and over to keep it going. “Many users experience headache, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, and wheezing.”

These parts of the body are affected by inhalant use:

  • Audio nerves and muscles: damage to the cells that communicate sound to the brain may cause deafness
  • Blood: a drastically reduced amount of oxygen able to be carried in the blood
  • Bone marrow: vapors containing benzene can cause leukemia
  • Brain: damage can occur causing in personality changes, memory impairment, hallucinations, loss of coordination, and slurred speech
  • Heart: sudden sniffing death syndrome is a surprising disruption in the heart’s rhythm and can cause heart failure
  • Kidneys: loss of ability to control the amount of acid in the blood and possible kidney stones
  • Liver: build-up of fatty tissue can cause liver damage
  • Lungs: damage lungs and impair breathing
  • Muscle: muscle weakening and reduced muscle tone and strength
  • Peripheral nervous system: injury to the nerves can cause tingling, numbness, or paralysis
  • Skin: a severe rash may develop around the nose and mouth

Inhalant Treatment Centers

What Should I Do If I Have an Inhalant Abuse Problem?

The first thing you need to do is to acknowledge there is a problem and that you cannot fix it on your own. You will need guidance and you can get the best help through a treatment facility. You may feel stressed about finding a facility that is right for you, but can help. It’s what we are here for. Give us a call at 800-256-3490 and move toward being sober. It will be the best decision you can make.

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