Types of Inhalants

When most people think of drugs, they conjure up images of heroin needles, crack pipes and marijuana joints. They think of people snorting cocaine and popping pills. Rarely does the image cross their minds, however, of people inhaling the fumes from common household products. However, that is exactly what inhalant abuse looks like.

What Are Inhalants, What are Poppers?

To be straightforward about it, an inhalant is any household product that is inhaled through the nose or mouth in processes called huffing or bagging, though now there are also products manufactured specifically for the purpose of getting high through inhaling them; these are known as poppers. Huffing involves inhaling the product right from the container or putting it on a cloth and then inhaling it. Bagging involves spraying the contents into a paper bag and then inhaling from it.

What Are Common Types of Inhalants and Types of Poppers?

Just about any household product can be an inhalant. That includes seemingly harmless items like glue, felt-tip markers and the like and more outright harmful products like dry-cleaning fluid, paint thinner, spray paint and nitrites. However, even whipped cream aerosol can be inhaled-dubbed whippets-as can deodorant spray, air fresheners and nitrous oxide.

What Effects Do Inhalants Have on the Body and Mind?

When people use inhalants, they usually describe pleasurable feelings and a state of wellbeing. However, they can cause you to lose coordination, become confused and make reckless decisions. Other effects are equally nasty, if not more so, including rashes or irritation around the nose and mouth, coughing fits, nosebleeds, dizziness and fainting, heart palpitations, hallucinations, blindness and paranoia.

Why Are Inhalants Dangerous?

Since judgment is impaired when high from an inhalant, you are much more likely to do something irresponsible like drive a car while intoxicated. You are also more likely to injure yourself from a fall. But these dangers are associated with repeated use and imply an addiction. There is an even more dangerous risk to using inhalants. In fact, some users can die upon their first use of the drug. Called Sudden Sniffing Death, this incident can cause a heart attack or a fatal arrhythmia. Inhalant dangers are real and something to be taken seriously.

Should you survive your first experience with inhalants, you can suffer long-term damage as well. Permanent brain damage can result, as can memory loss, respiratory failure, blindness and liver and kidney failure in the case of solvent abuse.

Are You Ready to Quit Abusing Inhalants?

Acknowledging you have a problem with inhalant abuse is often half the battle to beating an addiction. If you find yourself addicted to an inhalant and don't know where to turn, you might want to consider talking with a drug abuse recovery counselor specializing in drug addiction or attending a drug rehab program. Once your body is rid of the toxic chemicals and your system no longer relies on that sort of high, you can get on with your life. Even so, it is important to keep in touch with a sponsor or participate in an addiction recovery program to help you stay on track in your new sober lifestyle.