The brain damage caused by using inhalants is irreversible. According to Drugfreeworld.org, “ More than 22.9 million Americans have experimented with inhalants at some point in their lives”. A significant portion of people have used inhalants at some point in their life. People are more focused on the opioid epidemic and other categories of drugs. Regardless of weather they are ignored, they are highly addictive, and can lead to serious impairments.
What are Inhalants?
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. Inhalants come in many different forms, and can even be regular household items. These include volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrates. These can be found in hair spray, deodorant, air fresheners, paint, cleaning solutions, paint thinners, degreasers, gasoline, glue, nitrous oxide, and the list goes on. Just about any household item containing those properties can be abused. NIDA goes on to state that, “Inhalants can be breathed in through the nose or the mouth in a variety of ways, such as “sniffing” or “snorting” fumes from containers, spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth, bagging — sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or deposited inside a plastic or paper bag, “huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth, and inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide”. The intoxication process is short lived, and last only a few seconds. That is what makes inhalants so dangerous. Often times people will spend a couple of hours repeatedly inhaling the substance to create a longer high, and to feel the intensity of the drug over a longer period of time. The effects of using inhalants include excitability, limited reflexes, dizziness, lightheadedness, euphoria, hallucinations, and loss of control. People who continually abuse inhalants can develop a physical and mental addiction to the drug.
Can Someone Overdose on Inhalants? Can they Lead to Death?
People overdose and die from using inhalants daily. Drugfreeworld.org notes that, “One state in the US averaged more than 3,800 emergency room visits and 450 hospitalizations a year due to inhalant poisonings, according to statistics released in 2008”. Inhalants inflict damage on the body leading to serious health complications. Overdoses can lead to asphyxiation, and heart failure. In fact according to the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the Washington State Department of Health researchers found that, “ 56 people died from inhalant abuse between 2003 – 2012” The thought of death and inhalant abuse do not usually cross the users mind because of the easily accessible nature of the substance. In addition to that NIDA states that, “Inhalant abusers risk an array of other devastating medical consequences. The highly concentrated chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can induce irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to fatal heart failure within minutes of a session of prolonged sniffing. ”NIDA go on to list serious medical conditions because of inhalant abuse:
- asphyxiation — from repeated inhalations that lead to high concentrations of inhaled fumes, which displace available oxygen in the lungs;
- suffocation — from blocking air from entering the lungs when inhaling fumes from a plastic bag placed over the head;
- convulsions or seizures — from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain;
- coma — from the brain shutting down all but the most vital functions;
- choking — from inhalation of vomit after inhalant use; or
- fatal injury — from accidents, including motor vehicle fatalities, suffered while intoxicated.
Do Inhalants Cause Brain Damage? Do Inhalants cause Damage to Major Organs?
The consequences for abusing inhalants is fatal. Along with the medical conditions that may occur with overdose leading to death. Inhalants cause irreversible brain damage. Inhalants.org states that, “Inhalants cause damage to the brain, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, ophthalmic nerve, blood, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, bone marrow, peripheral nervous system, and the acoustic nerve and muscle”. Inhalants may lead to drastic damage on the brain and related parts. Such things include having hallucinations, memory problems, deterioration of myelin sheath, slurred speech, loss of coordination and tremors. In addition to that sight, and sound damage are common features of extended inhalant abuse because of the damage that it does on the regulatory parts of the brain that guide these senses. In addition to that, damage to major organs can occur because of the chemical compound substances that inhalants are made of.
Could using Inhalants One Time Lead to Damage, or Death?
Using Inhalants whether the first time, or ongoing use is fatal. The syndrome, known as “sudden sniffing death,” can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise healthy young person. In fact, drugfreeworld.org states that, “22% of inhalant abusers who died of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome had no history of previous inhalant abuse—they were first-time users”. The lethality of using inhalants is significant. Each time that users decides to use more of the substance there odd at death raise significantly. The harmful effects to the brain, body, and the possibility of death should be enough to stop using inhalants immediately, and to get the help that you or your loved one needs.
Get Help Today
If you or a loved one is using inhalants it is imperative to get the help that you need today. There are a variety of treatment options available. At Coast to Coast Recovery, you can find a range of addiction treatment services from holistic healing and complementary therapies to 12-step programs and Christian-based teaching. Let us help you end a life of addiction and start your journey to lasting sobriety. To learn more, call (888) 245-6389.