February 26, 2020
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, reports that 20% of American adolescents – 1 out of every 5 – will experiment with inhalants by the eighth grade. Inhalants are the most-frequently-abused intoxicant by adolescents and younger teenagers, the majority of parents remain clueless about the dangerous, potentially-deadly practice of “huffing”.
“Huffing” – also known as “sniffing” – is the purposeful inhalation of the fumes or vapors from any of several household products to achieve a quick euphoric high. The practice is popular among adolescents and young teens because there are more than one thousand easily-obtainable products available:
“They are under the bathroom sink, in the kitchen cabinet, and in the garage. They are in the refrigerator and on the school secretary’s desk. They are in the closet at school and at the dentist’s office. They are inhalants, the drug of choice of elementary school students and one of the favorites of junior high and high school students.”
~Francha Roffe’ Menhard, The Facts about Inhalants
The abuse of inhalants is pervasive. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that inhalants are the only substance abused more by adolescents and young teens (12-14) than by older ones.
Other statistics about teenage inhalant use include:
Inhalants of abuse contain many extremely toxic chemicals, making the practice extraordinarily hazardous. Inhalant misuse is can result in immediate, permanent damage to a teen’s brain, liver, heart, bone marrow, kidneys, and other vital organs.
Short-term inhalant abuse effects include:
Prolonged inhalant abuse effects include:
Even first-time inhalant use can prove deadly:
55% of inhalant-related deaths are caused by Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, where the user goes into sudden, unexpected cardiac arrest. 1 out of every 4 people who fall victim to SSDS were first-time users.
Because most of the abused products are common household items, it is sometimes difficult to know for sure if your child is experimenting/using inhalants. If you suspect the possibility, then keep a watchful eye out for certain telltale signs:
Changes in appearance:
Changes in behavior:
If you suspect that your adolescent/teenager is abusing inhalants, then you must act quickly – it can TRULY be a matter of life and death.
Huffing can be addictive, just like other types of substance abuse. Chronic inhalant abuse can lead to tolerance, and your teen can become physically and/or psychologically dependent.
As an addiction develops, chemical and physical changes happen to the brain, compromising your teen’s ability to control WHEN, HOW much, or even IF they huff. It is no longer a choice. No matter what they say or how much they promise, it is unlikely that your teenager will be able to quit using inhalants without specialized professional care.
Recovering from inhalant addiction necessitates many of the same of the same practices utilized in recovery from other addictive disorders:
If your teenager is abusing inhalants or any other substance, your family needs professional intervention and treatment. Only a certified addiction specialist has the training and experience needed to help your teen regain their sobriety and learn how to make healthier choices.
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