Facts About Inhalants
Inhalants are one of the more difficult drugs to classify. Essentially, an inhalant is a substance that is rarely taken by any route other than inhalation. For example, while a user may inhale methamphetamine, it is not classified as an inhalant, as there are several other ways it may be taken. As such, the term “inhalant” includes a wide range of chemicals that have different affects on the user’s brain. What is known – and frightening – about inhalants is that they are often the first type of drug a youth will try, usually due to the fact that they’re very accessible. The 2010 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health reported that 793,000 people aged 12 or older had tried inhalants for the first time in the past 12 months. A frightening 68.4% of those users were under 18. Inhalants are one of the only abused substances that is more commonly tried by younger teenagers than older teenagers, who usually have access to alcohol and other drugs. We take Inhalant abuse very seriously here at Lumiere Healing Centers, rehabs in Ohio.
The Four Categories of Inhalants
There are four different types of inhalants: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites.
The factor that separates volatile solvents from the others is that they are liquids which will vaporize at room temperature. These products are easy to find, and include dry-cleaning fluids, paint thinners, gasoline, glue, degreasers, and felt-tip markers.
Aerosols are sprays, including spray-on deodorant, spray paint, hair spray, and spray vegetable oil which is used for cooking and barbecue.
Unlike volatile solvents and aerosols, gases are more difficult to find. This grouping includes halothane, chloroform, and nitrous oxide.
Lastly, there are nitrites. Unlike the other inhalants, nitrites aren’t used to get high, but instead to enhance sexual pleasure, as they expand and relax blood vessels. Nitrites include isoamyl nitrite, cyclohexyl nitrite, and isobutyl nitrite. In slang terms, nitrites might be referred to as snappers or poppers. Technically, they are prohibited, but are still sold in small bottles. Usually, they will use a label like video head cleaner, leather cleaner, or room odorizer.
Why Do People Abuse Inhalants?
Most people who abuse inhalants will abuse any available substance, though they may have a personal favorite. Outside of nitrites, inhalants abuse produce a psychoactive, mind-altering effect that is similar to getting drunk.
Younger teens typically target inhalants as their substance of choice due to their low-cost and easy availability. It’s not hard for a teenager to walk into a grocery store to purchase cooking spray, hairspray, or to head to a hardware store to purchase paint thinner.
The Inhalant High
Abusers will consume inhalants in several different ways. They may sniff or snort fumes, huff chemical-soaked rags, or spray aerosols into their mouth or nose. While some substances will leave obvious traces when sprayed – such as spray paint – others are more difficult, or even impossible to detect.
The high from inhalants abuse is short-lived and may only last a few minutes. During the high, the user may feel giddy, light-headed, and will sometimes hallucinate. The experience is similar to being drunk.
Once again, nitrites are the exception. They open the blood vessels and increase blood flow, which reduces blood pressure and increases your heart rate. It’s closer to a head rush than a feeling of being drunk. Unlike the other inhalants, a nitrite’s effect on the brain is indirect, rather than direct. Generally, nitrites are used by those looking to enhance sexual pleasure.
The Long-term Damage of Inhalants Abuse
Inhalants abuse over the long-term could end up with liver and kidney damage, bone marrow damage, hearing loss, a loss of coordination due to nerve damage. Younger users are also at risk for delayed behavior development. All users risk brain damage, as when an inhalant is used, oxygen is effectively cut-off from the brain while the inhalant is in use.
Nitrites, which are used for sexual pleasure, have less of an effect on the user’s brain, but still, aren’t considered safe. Potential side-effects can include something as mild as an allergic reaction to life-threatening conditions such as methemoglobinemia. In addition, use of nitrites can lead to unsafe sexual practices, as the user’s inhibitions are lowered.
Overdosing on Inhalants
An overdose occurs when a user has a toxic reaction to their inhalant. This can lead to a seizure, a coma, or death. As volatile solvents and aerosols contain highly concentrated chemicals, and as the high only lasts a few minutes, it’s easy for someone to consume a lethal amount in a short period. Sudden sniffing death – where the heart stops within minutes, may happen at any moment, including the first time an inhalant is used. Those using a paper or plastic bag can die of suffocation.
Signs Someone is Using Inhalants
When someone is using an inhalant, they may have slurred speech and a lack of coordination. In fact, they may appear drunk.
Evidence of abuser is typically scattered throughout the household. You’ll need to look in garbage cans and recycling bins for empty containers. Check paint thinners and other infrequently used substances to see if there is any missing. While inhalants rarely lead to physical addiction, they can lead to substance abuse disorder, where the user is psychologically addicted to using the substance. As such, behavioral therapy is frequently recommended for those abusing inhalants.
In conclusion, We take Inhalant abuse very seriously here at Lumiere Healing Centers, rehabs in Ohio. Contact us today at 513-909-2225.