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Inhalants are substances that produce chemical vapours that, when inhaled, result in mind-altering effects. The term inhalant is used because these substances are rarely, if ever, used by any other means. These substances are common household, industrial, or medical products that most people don't think of as drugs because they aren't meant to be used in that way.
Inhalants commonly used include:
When inhalants are breathed, they cause alcohol-like effects: slurred speech, lack of coordination, and dizziness. A person can become light-headed and may have hallucinations and delusions. The effects last only a few minutes. After heavy use of an inhalant, a person may have a headache and feel drowsy for several hours. A person who inhales the substance can lose consciousness and die.
Aerosols can be sprayed directly into the nose or mouth. Nitrous oxide can be inhaled directly from balloons. Several terms are used for the way inhalants are breathed into the lungs, including:
Long-term health problems, such as brain, liver, kidney, blood, or bone marrow damage, can occur from inhaling some substances. Long-term use of inhalants also causes:
Some of these problems may go away when you stop using inhalants. Others may never go away.
Inhalants often aren't detected with urine or blood drug screening tests because they have usually been eliminated from the body by the time the test is done.
Current as ofMay 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family MedicineBrian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral HealthKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicinePeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and AddictionMichael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: May 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction & Michael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine
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