Impacts of inhalant abuse on brain

Impacts of inhalant abuse on brain

Over the years, substances like alcohol, marijuana, heroin and cocaine have drawn a lot of attention from the media and the government due to the substantial damages caused to people. Though people have started taking warnings related to these rather seriously, many still tend to ignore the consequences of inhalants that usually contain a number of potential substances capable of altering the brain’s functions and hormones. The practice of inhaling volatile chemical compounds is popularly known as huffing.

Due to the easy, inexpensive and legal accessibility to inhalants, the problem of huffing has grown rapidly as a major health problem, especially among children and young adults. The commonly abused inhalants include the chemicals mostly found in households, such as glues, paints, solvents, aerosol sprays, gases, nitrites (prescription medicines for chest pain), etc., which often cause the  sensation of intoxication as caused by alcohol. Moreover, they affect the brain in various ways and inflict various levels of physical addictiveness. Besides the brain, some of the inhalants have the potential to damage vital body organs, such as kidney, liver, bone marrow, etc.

Aromatic hydrocarbon toluene is the prime addictive material that causes intoxication, which in higher concentration can induce irreversible brain damage leading to a host of negative consequences like hearing loss, nausea, psychosis, memory loss, emotional disturbances or violent behavior.

Detrimental consequences of inhalants on the brain

The use of any kind of inhalants is associated with numerous effects in the brain. One of the key consequences of inhalants include hypoxia, a condition caused by the depleted supply of oxygen to the brain. Moreover, they impair the basic brain functions by affecting the brain regions responsible for controlling basic movement and cognitive abilities. As a result, children or youngsters who abuse inhalants due to the influence of the internet or peer run the increased risk of developing learning and problem-solving problems.

Like any other drug, inhalants trigger effects by altering the pathways of the brain. However, most inhalants directly affect the nervous system and can lead to a host of negative outcomes like slurred speech, impaired judgment, dizziness, hallucinations and delusions, euphoria, lack of coordination within a short span. Additionally, they often lead to death due to the depletion of oxygen in the body.

Usually, inhalants supply an enormous amount of chemicals into the bloodstream and brain. However, the euphoric effects produced by inhalants typically exhaust within a short span of an hour or so. To overcome this glitch, people tend to snort inhalants a multitude of times to experience a euphoric high.

Other medical consequences of inhalant abuse

Inhalant use has become quite popular across different demographic groups. Statistics show that over 22.9 million Americans have experimented with inhalants at some point in their lives and about 22 percent people using inhalants for the first time succumbed to sudden sniffing death syndrome.

By inhaling the drug multiple times, users tend to witness the deposition of certain chemicals in the brain’s fatty tissues, particularly in a protective cover called myelin. Due to repetitive use, the myelin is likely to rupture that causes an array of difficulties for the brain to communicate between nerve cells and creates conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS), such as muscle spasms, tremors, difficulty in performing basic physical tasks, etc. Other conditions include:

  • Overdose: The repetitive use of inhalants can easily lead to a fatal overdose. Some of the key symptoms of an overdose include extreme confusion, cardiac events, coma, convulsions and death.
  • Organ failure and damage: Moreover, inhalants can cause severe damage to the vital organs, including the kidneys, liver, brain and heart.
  • Cardiac irregularities: Any form of inhalants run the risk of elevating one’s heart rate often associated with uneven or increased heart rates, including cardiac arrest.

Seek treatment for inhalant abuse

Besides the above-mentioned consequences, a pregnant woman abusing inhalants can put her unborn child at risk of developing serious developmental problems. Therefore, the problem of inhalant abuse is dangerous for people of all ages. The first step to quit inhalant abuse is to undergo detox to expunge dangerous chemicals from the body.

If you know someone who is struggling with drug abuse, contact the California Detox Helpline to seek relevant information about the treatment of substance use problems. If you need information on the state-of-the-art rehab centers in California, call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495. Alternatively, you can join our representatives over an online chat for more information on the best detox centers in California.