What are Inhalants?
Inhalants refer to substances or chemicals that can have a psychogenic effect by means of inhaling them. These substances are differentiated from commonly abused drugs in the sense that their method of entering the body and altering the mind is only through or limited to inhalation. Inhalants are mostly common household or industry-specific products and were not really manufactured and designed for abuse. Examples of inhalants that can be found at home are solvents, nail polish remover, aerosol, gasoline, paints, paint thinners, hair sprays, and various other chemicals. When these substances are inhaled, they are capable of altering the processes of the brain giving the user some feeling of “high” or “low” depending on the substance used. These somewhat hallucinogenic and mood-altering effects drive people to abuse these types of inhalant substances.
Besides common household items, other commercially-bought products also produce addictive fumes and gases. These products include chloroform and nitrous oxide among others. These chemicals may be found in whipped cream dispenser gadgets, refrigerants, and butane lighters. Another group of chemicals that are considered commonly abused inhalants are the nitrite group. Nitrites may be in the form of butyl or amyl nitrites. Unlike other inhalants that can alter moods by altering the central nervous system itself, nitrites are known to produce blood vessel dilatation and muscle relaxation. These effects are taken advantaged of as supposed sexual boosters.
Immediate and short-term effects of various inhalants include tiredness, nosebleeds, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, decreased heart rate, and altered judgment among others. Long-term effects include electrolyte imbalance in the body, fatigue, and weight loss among others. Damage could also result to various vital organs in the body like the liver, kidneys, the bone marrow, and the blood itself. Serious conditions affecting major organs and organ systems in the body could eventually lead to death.