How Does Huffing Really Affect Teens?

What Is HuffingAerosol cans of hairspray, spray paint or deodorant can seem like harmless household items. Yet, they also pose a dangerous risk for teens and others who are abusing inhalants to get a quick high. Commonly called “huffing,” inhalant abuse is not a harmless practice of kids and can actually be fatal.

What Are Inhalants?

Many household items can produce a high when they are inhaled.

These include:

  • Room deodorizers
  • Cooking spray
  • Correction fluid
  • Glue
  • Rubber cement
  • Paint thinner
  • Cigarette lighter
  • Furniture polish

While “huffing is used as a generic term for breathing in fumes, there are actually a number of ways to abuse inhalants.

These include:

  • Breathing in the fumes from a rag soaked in an inhalant
  • Sniffing the fumes directly from an aerosol container
  • Spraying or pouring the inhalant into a plastic or paper bag and inhaling the fumes
  • Spraying an aerosol directly into the nose or mouth
  • Inhaling nitrous oxide from a balloon

The Risks Of Abusing Inhalants

Individuals who abuse inhalants experience a variety of side effects, including dizziness, speech difficulties, loss of coordination, hallucinations and delusions.  Other side effects include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Delirium

Sadly, death is also possible as a result of huffing. An inhalant can cause the heart to work too hard, leading to an irregular heartbeat that could potentially trigger heart failure. Tragically, this can even happen for first-time inhalers. Those who inhale on a regular basis are also at risk of developing long-term health problems including permanent liver and kidney damage, as well as brain damage, hearing loss and permanent coordination problems. Other side effects include suffocation and seizures.

Is A Loved One Abusing Inhalants?

Many people are shocked to find out about a loved one’s inhalant abuse. This is because the habit can be very easy to conceal. Red flags to watch out for are:

  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or stains on the face, hands or clothing
  • Hidden rags or clothing
  • Empty containers of products that can be inhaled
  • Slurred speech
  • Irritability
  • Confusion

Is Your Loved One Huffing?

It’s important to know that huffing is addictive. This means that withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone stops inhaling the substance. Symptoms of huffing withdrawal can be unpredictable. This is why it’s essential to seek professional help to overcome the problem. Call Family First Intervention for help now.

Learn More About Huffing & Intervention

Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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