How Inhalant Drugs Affect Your Body
If you want to understand inhalants and how they affect your body, you first need to know what these items are and what makes them so dangerous. Unfortunately, one of the critical risks of inhalant use is that these substances are freely available, easy to buy in any hardware store or even on the internet.
Another aspect that impacts inhalants and how they affect the body is that these common substances are perfectly benign when used for their intended purposes. No one would look twice at a can of spray paint or a bottle of weed killer, but when misused, these inhalants can cause brain damage, debilitating seizures, and even death.
What Are Inhalants?
Some drugs are easy to spot, with telltale indicators of their use. For example, if you see a water pipe in your child’s bedroom, you can be pretty sure they have been experimenting with marijuana or other intoxicants, but what if you find a jar of model airplane glue or a can of spray paint?
If you are like many parents, you might not think twice about these innocuous items. After all, things like spray paint, insect repellent, and whipped cream are found in every garage, storage shed, and refrigerator.
You may not know that these inhalants can be dangerous and even deadly when misused, and for many teens, these substances serve as a kind of gateway drug. Even if you only suspect your child is experimenting with these dangerous inhalants, it is essential to talk to them and reach out for help.
Short Term Effects of Inhalants on The Brain
Some young people assume that legal substances cannot be harmful and that experimenting with alcohol and inhalants is no big deal. Unfortunately, inhalants and how they affect your body can have a debilitating impact on the brains of growing teens and pre-teens. Even a small amount of experimentation or ongoing use could have serious long-term and short-term consequences. Here are some of the possible dangers of even short term inhalant abuse:
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Sleepiness and lethargy
- Growth impairment, especially for younger kids and teens
- Possible brain damage, sometimes permanent
- Personality changes
- Learning disabilities
- Memory loss
Long-Term Effects of Inhalants on the Body
The short-term effects of inhalant abuse are dangerous enough, but the longer the use goes on, the more serious the consequences. Here are some of the possible long term effects of ongoing inhalant abuse:
- Possible brain damage
- Increased risk of seizures
- Increased risk of falls due to balance and coordination issues
- Difficulty learning
- Mood swings and alterations in personality
How to Manage Inhalant Abuse and When to Seek Help
Many young people, including teens and pre-teens, may think they can manage their inhalant abuse or that huffing a few hits off a can of spray paint or the aerosol inside a can of whipped cream will not do them any long-term harm. Unfortunately, those misconceptions about the relative safety of inhalant abuse are all too common, but that does not mean they are true.
The fact is that inhalant abuse should not be managed – it should be stopped, and it is up to parents to reach out for help if they suspect this dangerous form of experimentation. But, even if you only suspect that your son or daughter has been experimenting with inhalants, it is vital to pick up the phone and give us a call. We can guide you through the next steps, including innovative forms of rehab that will help you put inhalant abuse in the rearview mirror for your household and its members.
Need More Information? WhiteSands Can Help
Inhalant abuse is a common form of substance use for young people, including children as young as 10 or 11. These young people may use inhalants after seeing an older sibling or friend do the same, or they may use them out of curiosity—just to see their effects.
Those young people may not understand the risks of inhalants and how they affect your body. But you know all too well, and it is up to you to reach out for help. At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we understand the dangers of inhalant abuse, and we can provide you and other parents with the education you need to keep your children safe. Please give us a call or visit one of many locations around Florida to learn more about inhalants and how they affect your body.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.