Physical and Mental Effects of Inhalants

People abusing inhalants are looking for these effects they consider desirable:

  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Excitement
  • Exhilaration
  • Head rush

There are many unwanted effects:

  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Tight chest
  • Bloody nose
  • Convulsions
  • Delusions
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Sores on face
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Blackouts
  • Coma
Guy on Bench

After extended use, a person may experience these adverse effects:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Memory loss
  • Pallor
  • Hostility
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness
  • Thirst
  • Brain degeneration
  • Feeling of victimization
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart damage
  • Addiction
  • Progression to use of other addictive substances

The effects a user considers desirable may only last a few minutes, leading a person to inhale substances repeatedly.

Long-term use can break down the coating of the nerves. When this happens, a person may suffer from muscle spasm or shakiness. The brain damage a long-term user may suffer makes it hard to learn new things or have simple conversations. Problem-solving and memory may be affected or a person may only be able to move slowly. The chemicals in inhalants can also damage the heart or liver or lead to a type of anemia.

The types of inhalants that can cause hearing loss include toluene in spray paint, glue or nail polish; trichloroethylene in cleaning fluid or correction fluid; or nitrous oxide in whipped cream dispensers or whippets.

Many of these types of physical damage are permanent.

Another effect of abusing inhalants is addiction. Even a person who knows that he is harming himself or his life will keep abusing them if he is addicted. Addiction to inhalants is treatable, just like addiction to drugs or alcohol.

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