Inhalant Abusers Risk Damage to Lungs, Liver, and Mind

Lungs: The gases in inhalants replace oxygen in the lungs and the blood which can lead to suffocation. There is also damage to the small structures in the lungs which will block the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen when it becomes available.

Stomach and intestines: When gasoline products are abused, the chemicals can irritate the stomach and intestines, leading to inflammation and ulcers.

Muscles: Muscles may waste away, resulting in lack of muscle mass and weakness.

red blood cells

Liver and blood: Some inhalants affect the production of red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. In particular, gasoline causes bone marrow damage which can then lead to an inability to produce enough red blood cells.

A person who chronically abuses these substances can have a liver that accumulates fat, is scarred and hard to the touch. In this condition, a person has no reserves to deal with stress. Sudden liver failure is a possibility.

Liver cancer may develop after chronic inhalant abuse, even years later.

Inhalants also reduce the amount of oxygen that can be carried in the blood, which can lead to death.

Mental: Immediate effects of inhalants on one’s mind include loss of self-control or inhibitions, mania (wild excitement) or violent behavior.

Confusion is a common result, along with an inability to concentrate, depression, hostility, and paranoia. Some people will return to normal after stopping the abuse of inhalants but for others, these changes may be permanent.

Nitrous oxide abuse can cause loss of memory.

Overall health: It is common for inhalant abusers to stop taking care of themselves, neglect hygiene, suffer appetite loss and subsequent weight loss.


Effects during pregnancy: There is a definite risk of birth defects and spontaneous abortion among people who are exposed to these toxins during pregnancy. Newborns are often small and underweight, with similar symptoms to babies who are affected by heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy. They are also slow to develop skills and grow.

Obviously, the biggest risk from using inhalants is the risk of death, either from sudden collapse or suffocation. But now that you have this information, you can see that inhalant abuse is destructive to one’s health in every possible way.

Please make sure any young people who might be tempted to abuse inhalants know about the incredible risks they would be taking, all the way up to and including immediate death.

If someone you care about has become addicted to these substances, please help them find a rehab program immediately, before they can come to any greater harm.


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