Inhalants refers to a method of getting high by inhaling fumes from chemicals such as glue, paint thinner, or lighter fluid. They fumes are sniffed or "huffed." Minors use inhalants because they are easy to obtain and the fumes produce a high similar to alcohol or marijuana. Teenagers are the most common group of people who use inhalants.|
Because inhalants go directly into the lungs and bloodstream, the effects are rapid, affecting the person within seconds, and can be deadly.
Some fumes can cause heart failure or
suffocation. If used in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or
sleeping pills, it can be fatal. At best, a headache follows use. Other
related health problems from ongoing use include memory loss, brain
damage, anemia, changes in personality, weight loss, muscle tremors and
weakness, loss of coordination, fatigue, and nerve damage. Chemical
poisoning can cause permanent brain, liver, and kidney damage.
Depending on the chemical, the effects from inhalants can include
feelings of euphoria, fewer inhibitions, and increased risk-taking.
Other effects can include loss of coordination, dizziness, runny nose
and watering eyes, and sneezing and coughing.
Inhalant dependence is psychological, meaning that the addicted person
feels that he or she cannot function without using the drug. Some
people may be more prone to addiction, including those suffering from
depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental conditions. Those with a
family history may be more prone to addiction, as are those who use
other drugs as well.
Treatment for inhalant dependence requires that the use stop using all
inhalants. Withdrawal symptoms may be uncomfortable, but are not
harmful. These can include irritability, restlessness, depression, and
fatigue. If the problem is severe, the person may experience
aggressiveness or hallucinations. Both in-patient and outpatient
treatment options are available. Support groups, such as Narcotics
Anonymous or counseling may also be helpful. Sometimes medications may
be used to help the person deal with withdrawal symptoms.