Inhalants are household products and other chemicals that are inhaled to get high. These include gasoline, nitrous oxide, shoe polish, glue, lighter fluid, spray paint and many more. People like to use them because they are cheap and easy to find.
People inhale these products by sniffing them in containers, huffing soaked clothes and rags, or inhaling them from inside a bag. Others spray the chemical into their nose or mouth or pour it onto their clothing to sniff. This causes them to get a high that feels like being drunk and numb.
After the high wears off, headaches and depression are common. After a single session of inhalants, your heart could stop if you are exposed to any stress or adrenaline. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.
Inhalants are not very addictive. But because the high only lasts a few minutes, people use them over and over. Long-term, this can cause damage to the way you think move, see and hear.
Effects of Inhalants
Inhalants start to kick in right after you breathe them in and they only last for a few minutes. After you first inhale, you will feel like you are drunk—a bit dizzy and dreamy and possibly nauseated. You’ll probably be a bit giggly and have a hard time thinking straight. Many people also have temporary blackouts or feel like time has stopped or is on a repetitive loop after the moment they first inhale. It’s also possible to see or hear things that aren’t really there on inhalants.
The high wears off after a few minutes, often leaving you with a hangover. You might have a headache and feel lightheaded. A lot of users also end up feeling tired and depressed or angry after a session.
Because the high is so short, you’ll probably feel like taking another “hit.” Each hit that you take causes more damage to your body and makes the hangover worse.
Problems using Inhalants
Even though inhalants might not seem that dangerous, they kill more 10 to 15 year olds than all other illegal drugs combined.
Many of these deaths are caused by Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. Using inhalants makes your heart sensitive to any sort of stress or exercise shortly afterwards. If you are surprised (like when you are caught) or if you do any exercise afterward (like if you have to run), it can cause your heart beat to be irregular or cause your heart to fail completely.
Most chemicals such as paint thinner or gasoline are used outdoors or in rooms with a lot of air, when used for their actual purpose. When these chemicals are used as inhalants and are taken from a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area, they can cause death from suffocation.
More common is brain and organ damage. The chemicals that you inhale are quickly absorbed through your lungs into your bloodstream. They reach your brain and organs and can cause permanent damage. This can include liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, or bone marrow damage. Inhalants can also cause brain damage by cutting off oxygen flow to the brain.
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