Sniffing inhalants and aerosols, also known as “taking whippets” or “huffing,” is an inexpensive, albeit lesser-known form of substance abuse.

Due to the carbon dioxide and solvents that displace oxygen, aerosols induce brief and rapid feelings of dizziness and euphoria. Although inhalant abuse has historically been more common in men, use among women has skyrocketed in the past decade and its effects can affect women and their babies.

Sovereign Health of Arizona provides holistic treatment for inhalant abuse.

Abusing Inhalants

Inhalants are often the cheapest and most readily available means of obtaining a high. Inhalants starve the body of oxygen producing that temporary high.

“Sniffing” refers to inhaling the chemical vapors directly from open containers. Breathing the fumes from rags soaked in chemicals is called “huffing.” Some inhalant abusers spray the substance directly into the nose or mouth, or even pour it onto their collar, sleeves or cuffs and sniff them periodically. “Bagging” refers to the user inhaling substance fumes from inside a paper or plastic bag. Bagging in a closed area exacerbates the chances of suffocation.

Some of the most commonly abused inhalants include:

  • DIY project supplies such as wood varnishes, paint thinner and lacquer
  • Stationary supplies that include glues, whiteout and felt-tip markers
  • Cleaning supplies like aerosol air fresheners, keyboard dusters and deodorizers
  • Aerosol can cooking supplies, including whipped cream and nonstick spray
  • Art supplies like ink, paints and rubber cement
  • Shoe polish
  • Beauty supplies such as nail polish/remover, deodorants and hair spray
  • Automotive supplies, including gasoline, brake fluid, lubricants and refrigerants

Inhalant abuse is extremely dangerous, with lethal risks, as an inhalant abuser will seek any substance that looks to fit the bill, without comprehending different substances have various toxic ingredients that often cannot interact with other chemicals. If a user has multiple chemicals in the system, the result of inhaling can be disastrous making inhalant treatment extremely important.

Inhalant abuse also goes by the following street names:

  • Air blast
  • Ames
  • Bolt
  • Boppers
  • Bullet
  • Bullet bolt
  • Buzz bomb
  • Discorama
  • Hardware
  • Viagra in a bottle
  • Highball
  • Hippie crack
  • Huff
  • Laughing gas
  • Locker room
  • Medusa
  • Moon gas
  • Oz
  • Poor man’s pot
  • Poppers
  • Satan’s secret
  • Shoot the breeze
  • Snappers
  • Snotballs
  • Spray
  • Texas shoe shine
  • Thrust
  • Whippets
  • Whiteout

Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse

  • Elevated and irregular heart rate,
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nosebleeds
  • Slurred speech

Red Flags of Abuse

Inhalant abuse can be habit-forming, resulting in addiction. Red flags of addiction include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Loss of senses of smell and hearing
  • Learning and cognition impairments
  • Lung damage

Inhalants Withdrawal Symptoms

Inhalants withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Agitation, with shaking
  • Chills
  • Convulsions
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea

Inhalants Inside the Body

Since a wide range of abused substances have multiple other toxic ingredients, the plausibility of damages within the body are endless.

  • “Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome” is due to a sudden and unexpected interruption of the heart’s rhythm. All inhalants can produce sudden sniffing death syndrome. Most abused inhalants other than nitrites depress the central nervous system similar to alcohol
  • Ingredients such as nitrites and paint thinner chemically block the oxygen carrying capacity in the bloodstream
  • One component of aerosol paints and correction fluid has been linked to liver damage
  • Inhalants containing toluene weaken the kidney’s ability to control the volume of acid in the blood. Kidney stones may develop in the long-term
  • Most inhalants are understood to dissolve the protective myelin sheath that surrounds neurons – resulting in brain cell death and subsequent permanent personality changes, memory impairment, hallucinations and learning disabilities when the cerebral cortex cells are effected
  • Inhalant-related damage results in loss of coordination and slurred speech. Chronic inhalant abuser’s experience tremors and uncontrollable shaking when the cerebellum is damaged
  • A common inhalant ingredient Toluene may affect a vision nerve causing sight disorders
  • Benzene, a component of gasoline – which is inhaled by some – has caused leukemia
  • Chronic inhalation of nitrous oxide, the whipped cream propellant and hexane an ingredient in some glues and camp stove fuels causes in damage to peripheral nerves. That leads to a tingling sensation, numbness or total paralysis
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Treatment For Inhalant Abuse

With all that can occur in the body with use of inhalants, it becomes clear a person might likely have a deeper issue fueling them to mistreat her body so. Prior trauma, lowered inhibitions due to concurrent substance abuse or poor decision making capacity because of an underlying mental disorder might give way to the recklessness that is inhalant abuse.

Inhalant treatment needs to be inclusive of addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders or simultaneous addictions for recovery to be lasting.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health of Arizona is a women’s residential rehabilitation center located in Chandler, Arizona. Our expert clinical staff specializes in identifying unique needs and treatment plans for each client. The programs include treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disorders and co-occurring conditions. Additionally, this location provides a special emphasis on treating trauma. Call our 24/7 helpline for details.

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