- An inhalant is a gaseous vapor that is intended to be inhaled medically to induce anesthesia for surgery but is widely abused for its euphoric effects.
- The products that produce the fumes were not meant for recreation, harsh chemicals found in certain products such as industrial paints, adhesives, hair spray, fabric protector, gasoline, paint thinner, and many other common household items are sold legally and legitimately with warning labels.
- The chemicals cause a euphoric effect when inhaling. Some of these chemicals are benzene (found in gasoline), butane or propane (found in lighter fluid, aerosol paint and hair spray), freon (found in refrigerant systems), and methyl chloride (found in paint thinners and degreasers.
- The effects of inhaling fumes are similar to alcohol intoxication: dizziness, slurred speech, blurred vision, impaired motor function, delirium, possible nausea, vomiting, and loss or consciousness.
- Though inhaling fumes of various products may seam like a fun thing to do, participating in this activity replaces most oxygen intake to the lungs depriving the brain of essential blood/ oxygen levels and can cause lack of oxygen, pneumonia, cardiac arrest and death by hypoxia.
- Alkyl Nitrites is an inhalant set apart from others. It is a liquid chemical that was once used to ease chest pain and is abused for the fume that when inhaled, produces euphoria, or a heightened sense of sensuality. When the liquid is ingested, it can be poisonous and if in contact with skin, can burn. Unlike other inhalants, alkyl nitrites dilate blood vessels and relax muscles causing immediate decrease in blood pressure risking loss of consciousness and heart attack.
- Repeated inhalation of harsh chemicals can cause a psychological dependence and physical withdrawal symptoms including weight loss, muscle weakness, irritability, depression, drowsiness, headache, and loss of consciousness.
- Because it is so easily accessible, inhalant addiction is common in children and teenagers.
Inhalant Addicts Can Recover
There are options for the treatment for inhalants that include various levels of treatment ranging from out patient to Inpatient hospital care. This is determined by the needs of each individual.
It is also encouraged for the inhalant addict to participate in 12-step or abstinence based fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous.