Anxiety and Addiction

“Huffing” is the third most common form of drug abuse by teenagers and is becoming an increasingly dangerous problem in today’s society.

Huffing is the rapid method of absorbing chemicals through the lungs and into one’s bloodstream. Doing so is a quick way to transmit those chemicals to the brain and other organs, which induce a quicker “high.”

Because huffing only produces a short-term “high,” users may try to prolong it by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

A Few Moments Could Cost You Your Life

The dangers of huffing are surmounting, and oddly enough, seem to be over-looked by those seeking out a quick high.

Short and long-term effects can include:

Muscle weakness

Abdominal pain

Severe mood swings

Headaches

Numbness

Slurred speech

Nausea

Hearing loss

Fatigue

Dizziness

Depressed reflexes

Limb spasms

Belligerence or violent behavior

Visual disturbances

Organ damage/failure

Loss of consciousness

Impaired judgment

Death

Usually, the user will begin to feel slightly stimulated but quickly begin to hallucinate and even lose consciousness. Worse, the user could suddenly die. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.

Long-term inhalant use can cause more serious side-effects, including harmful effects to your organs! This includes liver and kidney damage, as well as damage to your nervous system. It could also lead to suffocation (due to decreased oxygen levels) choking and cancer (some toxins are carcinogens).

Some harmful effects are irreversible, including hearing loss, limb spasms, brain damage, and many others.

The National Survey on Drug and Health reported in 2008 that two million Americans ages 12 and up had abused inhalants at some point in their lives, and because the chemicals do not show up in routine drug screenings, it makes it difficult for parents to combat against the abuse of inhalants.

Charles Lee, M.D., Medical Director of the Elk River Treatment Program of The Pinnacle Schools, states: “Huffing has quickly become a very popular and very deadly way to get high. Kids are often attracted to it because of the availability of common household products. What makes huffing so dangerous is that it’s easy, it’s cheap, and the products are legal.”

Early Education is Key!

The key to prevention is early education. Talking to your kids about the dangers that are associated with huffing inhalants can help prevent them from using in the first place.

For more information, you can go here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/inhalants/letter-director

~Paul