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Addiction Inhalants & Solvents

in Drug Types

Abusei of inhalants and solvents is very most common among adolescents and younger children, especially between the ages of 13 to 15, who often use them to gain peer-acceptance.
These chemicals or used as drugs, are easily available and is often "gateway drugs" that young people use before moving on to other drugs of abuse.
Inhalants and solvents can be habit forming because they contain addictive elements. They can be exceptionally dangerous when abused, and prolonged use has been associated with irreversible brain damage. Sudden sniffing death (SSF) can result from a single use.
Types:
Examples of inhalants and solvents include glues, gasoline, rubber cement, aerosols, antifreeze, gasoline, correcting fluid, room deodorizers, paint thinners, nail polish removers, shoe polish, cooking sprays, and household cleaners and waxes.
Methods of Use

  • Inhaling gas or vapors from bags or balloons ("bagging")
  • Drinking solvents mixed with alcohol
  • Sniffing directly from containers
  • Spraying aerosols directly into mouth
  • Inhaling through a soaked cloth or other material placed directly over the mouth ("huffing")
  • Heating and inhaling
  • Injection

Effects on the Central Nervous Systemi:
Inhaled solvents cross rapidly into the blood, and because they are fat soluble, they arrive quickly in the brain. This is because the myelin sheath that covers nerve cells and the neuronal membrane have a very high fat content. Once in the central nervous system, the solvent acts immediately, depressing the functioning of the nervous system. Unfortunately, the inhaled solvents also begin to eat away the fatty tissues of the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. Over the long term, devastating neurological damage can result.

Intoxication
Inhalants cause euphoria, dizziness, and excitement. Severe intoxication can result in convulsions, coma, and death.

Other serious effects include:

  • Brain damage and mental retardation
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Personality changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Movement disorder
  • Assaultiveness
  • Poor judgment and bizarre behavior

Life Risks:
Inhalant/solvent abuse is extremely dangerous and can result in permanent neurological damage. Additionally, people who use inhalants and solvents often progress to other drugs of abuse. For adolescents and children, use of inhalants or solvents may signal entrance into drug cultures and increased association with other users.

Withdrawali:
Inhalants or solvents may involve unpleasant symptoms, just like withdrawing from any other addictive substance. Specific symptoms depend on the substance involved. Because of the poisonous and possibly deadly nature of inhalant abuse, the benefits of immediate withdrawal outweigh any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Warning Signs
A person who is using inhalants or solvents may:

  • Have the odor of solvents or inhalants on breath or clothes
  • Experience slurred speech or disorientation or have difficulty moving
  • Have a runny nose or rash around the mouth or nose
  • Attempt to obtain paraphernalia (sprays, propane, lighter fluid, nail polish remover), paper bags, and balloons
  • Experience personality changes (especially with increased recklessness or fearlessness), poor judgment, and loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Behave evasively or lie about activities or whereabouts 

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