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Long-term inhalant use may cause brain damage

Long-term inhalant use may cause brain damage

It is quite common to use inhalants in the form of incense, oils, resins, spices and perfumes that have the capability of altering a person’s consciousness.  Most of the people look for a range of euphoric effects, such as hallucinations, exhilaration, excitement, head rush, etc. However, the extended use of inhalants can inflict a number of adverse effects, such as tiredness, memory loss, brain degeneration, irregular heartbeats, etc.

Some of the eye-popping statistics on inhalant use have been listed below:

  • Approximately nine percent of the American population, 12 years and older (this comprises of 22.5 million people), has abused an inhalant at least once.
  • Around 58 percent of users reported the first-time use when they were in the ninth grade.
  • Nearly 7 percent in 9th grade and 9.9 percent in 12th grade admitting of abusing inhalants due to which many tend to drop out of school quite early.

Inhalants refer to the toxic chemical vapors that are inhaled to reach a quick high from a class of products that are originally meant for household purpose and which can easily be purchased from shops and markets. These products contain dangerous chemicals that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. Of the many household products available, some of the more frequently abused are shoe polish, glue, toluene, gasoline, spray paints, markers, glues, correction ink, room deodorizers, lacquer thinner, or other paint solvents and cleaning fluids.

Numerous ways of inhaling

Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or the mouth in numerous ways. Users may sniff or snort the chemical vapors directly from open containers, such as a glue bottle or marking pen, or huff the fumes from a chemical-soaked rag through the mouth. Sometimes, the chemical, such as aerosols like computer cleaning fluids, maybe sprayed directly into the nose or mouth or poured onto the collar, sleeves or cuffs of the user and sniffed periodically.

A dangerous way to inhale fumes is by sniffing or inhaling fumes emanating from the chemicals sprayed or kept inside a paper or plastic bag. The procedure of inhaling is widely known as bagging that greatly increases the risk of suffocation. Some users inhale from balloons filled with nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Then there are “poppers” and “whippets” that are widely used at concerts and dance clubs. These are composed of poisonous chemicals that can permanently damage the brain.

Multiple effects of inhalants

In this way, the chemicals are swiftly absorbed through the lungs and into the bloodstream. They reach the brain and other organs, often causing irreversible physical and mental damages. Since inhalants produce a very short high that lasts only a few minutes, users are prone to inhaling the fumes repeatedly over an extended period.

As witnessed in the case of alcohol, most inhalants affect the central nervous system (CNS) that slows down the brain activity, such as speech, body coordination, etc. The chronic use of inhalants leads to brain damage that affects the key cognitive-behavioral skills, such as learning, memory, problem-solving, judgment-making capacity, etc.

The repeated use of inhalants can lead to substance use disorder (SUD) that further changes the brain chemistry and functioning. The disorder can range from mild to severe and may finally result in addiction.

The habitual users suffer from a range of withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop the use of inhalants. These symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, headaches, chills, agitation, body shakes and hallucinations. One can also witness convulsions in severe cases due to withdrawal from inhalants.

The excessive use of the substance can create a toxic reaction and cause a person to overdose that could result in severe and fatal symptoms and death in severe cases.

Avoid household products used as inhalants

Most inhalants are depressants that slow down the brain activity. Besides the above-mentioned consequences, some of the common repercussions of inhalants include dizziness, euphoria, slurred or distorted speech, etc. Users may feel light-headed, and experience delusions or hallucinations. The repeated inhalations may lead to vomiting, feeling of drowsiness for long hours or a headache that lingers. Therefore, it is essential to undergo an effective recovery program to expunge the stored toxins.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any addiction, the Colorado Detox Helpline can help you in accessing an effective treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to access details about the detox centers in Colorado. You can call for assistance or chat online with our experts for further information.

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