It’s very normal for a parent to fear that a child will fall into drug use or alcohol addiction. While it’s common to take measures to ensure illegal drugs and heavy drinking are off limits, many parents are unaware how dangerous the chemicals already in their homes can actually be.
In this article we’ll give you the scoop on inhalants and huffing— what huffing means, the physical signs of huffing and how you can spot inhalant abuse.
What is huffing and why is it an issue?
Inhalants are a category of drug that includes solvents or other materials that produce chemical vapors. Inhalants are common household, industrial or medical products and are breathed in through the nose or mouth. Huffing specifically is when someone inhales chemicals by breathing through a substance-soaked cloth.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the term “inhalant” covers a wide variety of substances— literally hundreds of substances could qualify as inhalants. Unique pharmacology effects occur with each product. Generally, though, these chemicals result in a high.
This euphoric effect sets on quickly and is often compared to alcohol intoxication, with initial elation and later impaired inhibition. Inhalants are often subdivided into four categories: volatile solvents, aerosols, gasses and nitrates.
Paint thinner, household cleaners, lighter fluid, glue and other common chemicals can be dangerous to the body and brain. Huffing inhalants is dangerous for many reasons. Here are the top reasons why.
Perhaps inhalant use is so common among younger people because they’re easy to obtain. These substances are often already in homes. The majority of these chemicals can also be purchased without restriction and are relatively cheap.
Signs and symptoms of huffing include short-term reactions like nausea, vomiting, decreased inhibition, lethargy, dizziness, muscle weakness and more. Huffing can also result in unconsciousness and addiction.
What are physical signs of huffing?
If you are worried that your child or someone you know has an inhalant problem, there are many signs of huffing abuse that you’ll want to know. Be sure to look out for the following:
Signs of products like stains or residue
Acting paranoid or secretive
Feeling irritable, frustrated, stressed or angry
Easily becoming defensive when asked about huffing or drug use
Appearing drunk or confused
Nausea or vomiting
Changes in appetite
Changes in sleep
Self-isolating for hours at a time
Using, borrowing or stealing money to buy chemicals
Missing household or medical products
Increased interest in drugs or alcohol
Sores on the face
Increased heart rate
One common potential side effect of huffing is unconsciousness. This occurs because inhalants result in anesthesia, or a loss of sensation. If someone who uses inhalants shows signs of rapidly decreasing activity or collapses, call for emergency help.
It’s likely that inhalant abuse, like abuse of any substance, will interfere with mental well-being. The physical effects compiled with a building addiction can start to take away a person’s control of his or her own emotions. It can result in plenty of frustration, anxiety, depression, loneliness and more.
This list of signs and symptoms of huffing is by no means exhaustive. Due to the extensive variety of inhalant chemicals that can be abused means that the effects will vary widely.
If you or a loved one is struggling with huffing abuse, it’s time to reach out for help. Get the compassionate care you’ve been looking for with Freedom Detox. A personalized treatment plan and a whole-person approach will be the key to your recovery. Get in touch today.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.