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March 21, 2023

Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Inhalant Abuse is a growing trend among adolescents. 

The act of inhaling chemicals or household products to get high phenomenon has been on the rise in recent years. 

Inhalants are found in cleaning supplies and hardware store items like spray paint, but no specific substances have been determined as “the most popular”. 

This article will explore what inhalants are, how they affect your body when you huff them, the risks associated with inhalant abuse, along with other related topics such as treatment options.

If you’re reading this then it’s likely because you know someone who is abusing these substances

What Are Inhalants? 

Types of inhalants take various forms, ranging from household products like whipped cream and nail polish to chemical compounds such as gasoline, nitrous oxide (commonly known as “laughing gas”), and diethyl ether. 

When you sniff these substances, they enter the bloodstream via the lungs and affect the central nervous system. 

This means that when you huff an inhalant, it can produce a feeling of euphoria that’s comparable to getting high on a drug; however, this type of euphoria doesn’t last very long.  

This sensation usually lasts just enough time for you to feel satisfied with your decision to huff the substance in the first place. The feeling is also short-lived because if you keep using it over time, your brain gets used to it.

The effects of inhalants typically last from 15 to 45 minutes. Along with this feeling, inhalants can also cause a number of ill effects; for example, you could experience dizziness or nausea. 

The breathing can be impaired as well, so there is an increased risk of fainting. Long-term use has been known to cause death, but more often than not this is due to the other effects of huffing on your body rather than the inhalant itself.

Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse 

Inhalant abuse is dangerous because it can affect the heart and lungs in a variety of ways, most notably by slowing down their ability to function and cause heart failure. 

Inhalants also have a tendency to increase hyperactivity. This combination of effects can lead people into an overdose or kill them if they are not careful. 

Signs of inhalant abuse include:

  • Hidden rags, bags, gauze or empty containers of products like paint thinner
  • Odors of chemicals on clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face or hands
  • Speech that is slurred or incoherent
  • Dazed or drunken appearance
  • Being nauseous or having a loss of appetite
  • Glue-sniffer’s rash – A small rash that extends to the middle of the face around the mouth and/or nose.
  • Inattention, irritability, depression, and lack of coordination


With a growing trend in the abuse of inhalants, it’s important to know what you are dealing with before making any decisions.

Who Abuses Inhalants?

In the United States, 9 percent of the population has used, abused, or become addicted to inhalants at some point in their lives – about 22.5 million people. 

Due to the fact that many inhalant substances are legal household items, adolescents are the most at-risk group for abuse and addiction. 

The proportion of new inhalant users under the age of 18 in one national survey of people who used them for the first time in the previous 12 months was about 68 percent. 

There are many reasons why kids try to huff things; it’s related to peer pressure, curiosity about getting high, and a desire to defy authority (especially when it comes from adults). 

While this is the main reason kids try to do these kinds of things, they don’t always try it just one time; in fact, it’s been said that kids who huff will eventually develop a tolerance for the effects and need to move on to other substances. 

This type of substance abuse can be addictive as well.  However, some people may not realize why huffing is such a bad idea. 

Recreational Use of Inhalants

Addiction or abuse of inhalants cannot be caused by a medical condition or prescription. The substance is most likely to be prescribed only one time for surgical purposes since nitrous oxide is used as a sedative. 

There is obviously no legitimate reason to inhale hairspray, lighter fluid, and other household items, which are obvious inhalants that are abused for recreational purposes.

Many inhalant users abuse the substances in order to prolong the feeling of being intoxicated longer. In order to prolong this high, many users inhale several times over several hours. 

A typical inhalant is very lipid-soluble, which means it will easily pass through the alveoli in the lungs and enter the bloodstream, then reach the brain. 

Inhalants can quickly accumulate in the brain due to the ease with which they pass through the blood-brain barrier.

Due to the toxic nature of many of these substances, these individuals face high levels of risk and death from severe physical injuries.  

Inhalant Abuse Statistics 

Inhalant abuse is becoming more common among American adolescents. Studies have shown that anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 kids have abused these chemicals in the past year alone. 

Inhalant abuse among high school students is a particular concern. Nearly 12 percent of high school seniors in the United States used an inhalant at least once in their lifetime, and nearly 5 percent used an inhalant in the past year, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey. 

Something to take into account is the fact that these numbers are on the rise. The number of kids getting into inhalant abuse has increased by 17% within a period of two years. 

This means that if you’re dealing with an adolescent who you think may be abusing inhalants, you can’t just pass them off as another “trend” or a “phase.” 

If left unchecked, this trend could result in very dangerous consequences that may lead to death. 

This is especially true for adolescents who are taking either prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs at the same time they are abusing inhalants. 

Inhalant Abuse Risks and Treatment

The risks associated with inhalant abuse will be discussed, along with other related topics. These risks include: 

  • Brain damage and central nervous system
  • Nerve damage
  • Toxic exposure 
  • Lack of oxygen, which can result in loss of brain cell  
  • Asphyxiation


Treatment for substance abuse involves a lot of different options for the addict and their loved one.  An individual dealing with substance abuse can receive treatment ranging from outpatient care to residential treatment.  

Get Help with Restore Detox Centers

Huffing has become a growing trend among adolescents, and it’s important to understand the risks before engaging in this activity. 

A person huffs these chemicals by sniffing them into their lungs because they get high on fumes from these substances. 

If you’re struggling with addiction or know someone who needs help dealing with an inhalant problem then please contact us today! We offer compassionate care through our residential treatment program so call now at (858) 302-4417 for more information about how we can help.

About Restore

Are you or someone you care about struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in San Diego, California? Look no further than Restore Detox Centers, the leading 24-hour residential treatment facility. Our dedicated team is committed to providing effective rehabilitation services tailored to your individual needs.

We understand the challenges you face on your path to recovery, which is why we offer a comprehensive range of programs, including medically assisted detox and residential treatment. Our ultimate goal is to guide you towards a life free from addiction and help you achieve long-term success. 

Rest assured that our facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, guaranteeing the highest standards of quality and safety. You can rely on our compassionate team of professionals to support you every step of the way. 

If you're ready to take the first step towards healing, don't hesitate to contact Restore Detox Centers today. Let us be your trusted partner in your journey to recovery.

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