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10 Reasons Not to Try Inhalants

Huffing

Some teens may think that if you did not buy it from a street dealer or swipe it from your parents’ liquor or medicine cabinets, then it must be okay to catch a buzz from one substance or another. That could not be further from the truth.

Inhalants describe the class of household products which people try to use to get high. Usually, this is accomplished by “huffing” them – i.e., holding them close to your nose and mouth and inhaling deeply. According to a 2015 survey, about one out of every twenty eighth-graders had tried inhalants in the previous year, and about one out of every forty high school seniors had done the same.

Common types of inhalants include:

  • Spray paint
  • Paint removers or thinners
  • Gasoline
  • Liquefied gas fuels like butane, propane, or air conditioning coolant
  • Aerosol hairsprays or deodorants
  • Glues and cements
  • Correction fluids
  • Spot removers
  • Felt-tip markers
  • Canned air (for cleaning electronics)
  • Varnishes and lacquers
  • Cooking sprays
  • Whipped cream cans
  • Air fresheners

Because all these products contain synthetic chemicals, there are a host of severe repercussions for abusing them. Here are ten of the dangerous ones:

Huffing
  1. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS). Yes, it is a thing. SSDS is heart failure due to the abnormal cardiac activity which arises from huffing gasoline, propane, butane, aerosol air fresheners, or other inhalants, and it can happen after just a single use.
  2. Organ failure. Your liver, kidneys, brain, and other organs could be harmed or fail completely after repetitive use. This is usually associated with correction fluid and similar substances.
  3. Bone marrow injuries. Inhalants containing benzene can damage your bone marrow, which impacts the count and flow of red and white blood cells and platelets. This can result in anemia, bacterial infections, and recurring fatigue – and might only be curable with a bone marrow transplant.
  4. Weakened immune system. In addition, repeated use of benzene inhalants can devastate your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
  5. Heart problems. If SSDS does not kill you, inhalants can weaken your heart muscle and mess with your heartbeat, which can lead to a host of other health problems.
  6. Loss of hearing or vision. Inhaling products containing trichloroethylene (like spot removers) can actually reduce your ability to see and hear the world around you.
  7. Nausea and vomiting. Since your body can detect the inhaled chemicals invading it, the natural reaction is to expel them by vomiting them up, which can be quite unpleasant.
  8. Hallucinations. In addition to euphoria, inhalants can cause you to hallucinate while taking them. These hallucinations can also persist when you try to detoxify your body after inhalant abuse.
  9. Muscle problems. Symptoms ranging from tremors and weakness to seizures and permanent coordination loss have been documented by people who have abused inhalants.
  10. Loss of consciousness. Because inhalants dull your brain activity, you could pass out and remain unconscious for minutes or hours – and you could even lapse into a coma.

The takeaway is clear. Huffing these products is not a trivial amusement but can cause serious health problems even if only used once. So be sure to avoid these substances at all costs. If you are abusing inhalants already and cannot stop, seek help from a physician, rehab counselor, or drug treatment professional as soon as possible. 

Contact us if you need help kicking the habit of abusing inhalants.

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