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.
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.