Most teens are unaware of the dangerous effects of abusing inhalants, and far too many of them have suffered fatal consequences. The first thing a young person should be aware of is that inhalants kill.
A United States study shows that more than 593,000 teens have used inhalants in the past year. The survey also indicates that more than 2.5 million Americans have experimented with inhalants at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, the study reveals that more than 22% of inhalant abusers died from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome after their first use of the substance.
Physical and Mental Effects of Abusing Inhalants
Abusing inhalants results in a variety of side effects that can become life-threatening, even after only one use of the substance. For instance, chronic exposure to inhalants causes:
- Slow respiration
- Erratic heart rhythm
- Heart failure
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Hearing loss
- Liver and kidney damage
Teens use inhalants as a convenient way to get high. The products are readily available and legal, and many of the substances can be found in the garage at home or under the kitchen sink.
Convenient Products Used for Getting High
The list of products that can be used as recreational drugs is extensive. However, most inhalants can be divided into four basic categories. For example:
- Liquids – Products that vaporize at room temperatures such as gasoline, glues, correction fluids, felt-tip marker fluids, paint thinners, and degreasers.
- Sprays – Spray paints, deodorants, hair spray, fabric protector sprays, and cooking oil sprays.
- Gasses – Butane lighters, whipped cream dispensers, propane tanks, and refrigerants. Medical anesthetic gasses such as ether, chloroform, and nitrous oxide are also used.
- Nitrates – A chemical found in food preservatives, room deodorizers, leather cleaners, etc. that acts directly on the central nervous system. These compounds are known as “poppers” or “snappers” and are used mainly as sexual enhancers.
Unfortunately, teens think they are immortal. They don’t usually stop and think about the repercussions of their behaviors before trying something to get high. For this reason, it is vital that parents be aware of the effects of inhalant abuse and familiarize themselves with the early warning signs that their teen might be abusing these substances.
Signs of Inhalant Abuse Parents Should Know
Parents are a teens first line of defense against potential harm. Therefore, the following symptoms of inhalant abuse are something every parent should be aware.
Signs that your teen is abusing inhalants can include the following:
- Disoriented, dizzy, or drunk behavior
- Slurred speech
- Burns or sores around the mouth
- Chemical odor on clothing
- Unusual breath odor
- Loss of appetite, nausea
- Red, glazed eyes
- Runny nose
- Smelly rags or cloths
- Empty cans or containers
- Secretive behavior
- Shortness of breath
Of course, many of these warning signs go unnoticed because teens are good at hiding their activities from parents. However, they eventually become careless, and a watchful parent can recognize the signs and seek help.
Parents want to protect their children but can’t be there every minute of every day. To learn more about how to protect your child from the dangers of abusing inhalants, call our toll free number today. One of our knowledgeable representatives will be available day or night to help you any way possible.
Additionally, if you have a child who is already abusing inhalants or any other addictive substances, we can help you get the professional treatment necessary. Please call now and let us help you find a program best suited to your child’s needs.