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Inhalants Addiction Treatment Center
When we think of addiction, we tend to think of substances like alcohol, heroin, opioids and cocaine. But substances of abuse a lot closer than the liquor store or the neighbourhood drug dealer. All you have to do is look in your kitchen cupboards or in your garage.
Regular household products such as glue, hand sanitizer, aerosol cleaning products and paint can produce a euphoric high when ingested, usually through inhalation. This is extremely dangerous: these products are not intended for human consumption in any form, and they are considered toxic. In some cases, even a single use can result in brain damage, cardiac arrest, seizures and a number of other symptoms. There is a very high risk of death, especially when these products are used with other substances.
One of the biggest challenges with overcoming an addiction like this is that the products are easily available and inexpensive, and they can be purchased by anyone of any age. That makes them appealing to children and youth who are looking for something to experiment with.
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What Kinds Of Inhalants Are There?
Inhalants come in many forms, all of which can be purchased from a grocery store or a hardware store for just a few dollars. The two main types of inhalants are solvents and nitrites.
Solvents are substances that have the ability to dissolve other substances. Examples include nail polish remover, kerosene, paint thinners and model glue. Some users will hold the product to the nose and inhale, while others will use a nebulizer, which is a machine designed to convert medications into a fine mist that can be breathed in.
The effects vary from product to product. Sometimes the symptoms mimic those of alcohol intoxication: slurred speech, loss of coordination, blurred vision and emotional volatility. Some people experience hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, and headaches. Long-term use of solvents can result in skin irritation and blisters around the nose, as well as damage to various organs including the heart and lungs.
Nitrites are in many powerful cleaning and deodorizing products because of their antibacterial properties. Examples of nitrites include electronics cleaners, room deodorizers and various products used in the automotive industry.
These substances can create a sensation of floating, and of the mind being separate from the body. Each use can result in low blood pressure, dizziness and blurred vision, and cardiac arrest, which can be fatal. Long-term effects include impaired memory, depression, reproductive issues and a compromised immune system.
How Are Inhalants Ingested?
Some products can be inhaled as they are, without having to use any other items such as a cloth or a bag. They can simply be held up to the nose while the user sniffs them. Examples include permanent markers and nail polish remover.
Sniffing carries the risk of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, which occurs when the brain attempts to react to a sudden deprivation of oxygen. This response can elevate the heart rate, resulting in fatal cardiac arrest.
Aerosol products like whipped cream dispensers and aerosol cleaning fluids are either sprayed directly into the nostrils, or they are sprayed into a rag that is held up to the nose or put into the mouth.
Huffing results in loss of coordination and impaired judgment, but it also creates a hallucinogenic state that is highly addictive. These effects only last for a few minutes, which leads to frequent use and a high risk of serious medical complications and death.
This method can be used with almost any aerosol inhalant. The product is sprayed into a plastic bag such as the ones you get from the grocery store. The bag is then held to the mouth or placed over the head.
This is the most dangerous method of ingestion: not only does use of the inhalant itself carry a high risk of brain damage and heart failure, the plastic bag can lead to suffocation, especially if the user lacks the coordination to remove the bag.