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What is an “inhalant”? What are the effects?

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  1. GirlSmarts on Nov 30, -0001 Reply

    The word “inhalants” can refer to a variety of substances from gasoline to compressed air. Some people inhale the chemical vapors produced by common household substances — known as inhalants — to get high. What many of them don’t realize is how dangerous this really is. Compared to pretty much any other drug, inhalants cause the most permanent body damage and can potentially kill someone on the first use.

    There are four main types of inhalants: volatile solvents, gases, aerosols, and nitrites. Volatile solvents, gases, and aerosols can alter moods and create a high. Nitrites are believed to create sexual stimulation and enhancement.

    Inhalants can cause many changes in the body. Once the vapors enter the body, some are absorbed by parts of the brain and nervous system. All of the inhalants (except nitrites) slow down the body’s functions, similar to the effects of drinking alcohol. At first someone gets excited, but then gets tired, has trouble speaking clearly or walking well, gets dizzy, loses inhibitions, and may get agitated. It can sometimes take up to 2 weeks for the chemical to completely pass from the body.

    Other short-term effects of inhaling chemicals include:
    -increased heart rate
    -hallucinations or delusions
    -losing feeling or consciousness
    -nausea and vomiting
    -loss of coordination
    -slurred speech

    People who become addicted to using inhalants are likely to have long-term effects:
    -brain damage (toxic chemicals may make people become slow or clumsy, have trouble solving problems or planning ahead, suffer from memory loss, or become unable to learn new things)
    -muscle weakness
    -headaches and nosebleeds
    -loss of sense of smell or hearing

    If you or a friend or loved one is abusing inhalants, it’s highly recommended to get help through a trusted adult or health care provider.

    **cited from kidshealth.org at http://kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol/drugs/inhalants.html#cat20116, April 2014.

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