Some parents may expect that their teen will try some form of drugs or substances throughout their adolescence. They will be watching for the typical signs of using marijuana, prescription drugs, or worse, heroine and cocaine. However, they may not be aware that the source of many teen’s high can be found in multiple forms throughout their house.
Teens are now turning to inhalant abuse, also known as “huffing” as a cheap, easily accessible way to get a quick high. They huff the chemical vapors that many household cleaning and even food supplies can give. Often parents miss the signs of inhalant abuse, because they are too busy watching for alcohol dependency. Some possible types of inhalants include:
- Paint cans and paint thinners
- Household solvents
- Butane Lighters
- Propane Tanks
- Aerosol cans (whipping cream, deodorant, hair spray, fabric protector, etc.)
- Computer Aerosol Cleaner
- Corrections and Marker fluids
Most of these products can be found in any school, home, or workplace. Used correctly, they are a normal part of many people’s lives. However, used intentionally to induce a high or euphoric feeling and they can quickly turn dangerous.
Their effects are similar to those of anesthetics and tend to slow the body down. The intoxicating effects begin when the teen inhales the chemicals through their nose or mouth. Depending on how much the teen is huffing,the effects could last several minutes to hours. The teen may feel certain sensations and an out of control feeling. If enough chemicals are inhaled, the teen may eventually pass out.
Because these products are so easily accessible and even a cheap high, teens are using them at an alarmingly higher rate. In fact, it has been estimated that over 12.5 million Americans have abused such products at some point throughout their life. Serious medical consequences can occur with just one usage. The first time could mean life long damage to body organs and even death.
Inhalants can effect the kidneys, lungs, brain, and heart. Abusers can experience limb spasms, hearing loss, damage to the bone marrow, central nervous system damage, and irreparable damage to the kidneys and lungs. Because the high only lasts a few moments, teens feel they can get away with this form of abuse more easily. However, as they become more addicted, they tend to huff repeatedly in one session. This greatly increases their chance of cardiac arrest. Sadly, most of the teens that go into cardiac arrest never wake up.
It is important to be aware of this form of abuse. Many problem teens are substituting huffing for other substances, such as alcohol, because it is cheaper and usually right under their kitchen sink. Parents need to be on the look-out for paint or chemical stains on their teen’s clothing, along with odors of a chemical that may linger on the teen’s clothing or even breath. They can also watch out for signs such as speech impairment, lowered coordination, decreased appetite, and disoriented behaviors. Parents can also be aware that most huffing takes place in the evening hours after suppertime.
Aside from the medical consequences, teens can also start to fall behind in school and lose interest in their normal, daily activities. Because many parents are unaware of this form of abuse, its rates are now on the rise. By educating themselves and speaking to their teen about the serious medical effects of inhalant abuse, parents can help lower their teen’s risks.
However, if your teen has been using inhalants to achieve a high for a while, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. It is important to seek early treatment and intervention to stop the abuse.
If your teen is using household inhalants to get high, please visit www.newcreationsboardingschool.com to learn more about their Christian boarding school that serves teens dealing with drug abuse. The experienced staff members there will be able to offer around the clock supervision and guidance during this difficult time of withdrawal.