What are Solvents?
Solvents or inhalants are chemical vapors that affect the brain’s oxygen supply, altering the user’s state of mind. The side effects of solvents addiction and abuse varies depending on the type of chemical inhaled – some varieties act as stimulants, while others function as depressants. Solvents addiction and abuse has become a major problem, especially among the younger (grade school) population.
The four key types of solvents include vaporized liquids, aerosols, gases and nitrates. Some, such as chloroform, ether and nitrous oxide, have medical uses, while others are sourced from household or commercial products.
Because these products can be easily sourced around the home, and can also be easily “huffed” with little preparation or paraphernalia, abuse by youths is common. Solvent abuse reaches its peak around 8th grade, with solvents addiction becoming a risk at this point.
Users may sniff solvents directly from a container, or may “huff” them from a bag in which the solvents have been concentrated. Solvents create a short-lived head rush often accompanied by a state of euphoria, and the onset of their high is very quick.
Due to their impact on blood flow to the brain, solvents can cause brain damage and even death. Death or physical damage may also result from the unintentional inhalation of fumes in a poorly ventilated area.
Prolonged solvent abuse effects on the body can be severe, and given the young user base of the drug, solvent abuse treatment should be sought as soon as abuse is identified.
Common Street Names for solvents
Solvents go by many street names, including:
- laughing gas
- hippie crack
- buzz bomb
- locker room
Solvents typically do not fall under the Controlled Substances Act, as they are largely derived from common household or workplace products. Some, such as nitrous oxide, are regulated at the federal level by the FDA under prescription-drug status.
History and Trends in Solvents
Chemical inhalants have long been abused, with gases and anesthetics commonly used for their euphoria-inducing properties after their introduction in the 1800s. The 20th century was marked by the use of ether during Prohibition, followed by gasoline sniffing in the 1940s. By the 1950s and 1960s, the sniffing of household products had become widespread throughout the country – and is also common among at-risk young people around the world.
Inhalants are the most common drug abused by minors, with nearly 21.7 million young people in the US reporting having used solvents. Usage typically peaks at 14. However, solvent abuse has declined somewhat since its peak in the mid-1990s, with fewer reports to poison control centers being made.
Side Effects of Solvents Addiction and Abuse
The initial solvents drug effects may vary depending on the product that is being abused, but may include a “rush” or “high”. These may be accompanied by a feeling of light-headedness and giddy happiness, or by a stupor. Delusions and hallucinations are also common side effects. Some types of solvents, in particular nitrates, dilate and relax blood vessels.
Solvents cut off the blow flow to the brain, and as such solvent abuse effects on the body can be quick and severe. Skin rashes, hearing damage, blood toxicity, kidney damage, brain damage, muscle deterioration, breathing problems, liver damage, and heart failure from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS) are all potential side effects of solvent abuse. Death in some instances may also occur from suffocation.
Withdrawal symptoms of solvents
Prolonged use of solvents can create physical tolerance and dependence, and users of solvents who try to quit may exhibit withdrawal symptoms including sweating, a raised pulse, tremors, sleeplessness, agitation, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, hallucinations and even seizures.
Treatment for Solvents Addiction and Abuse
Solvents addiction is a very real problem facing young people, and it pays to be vigilant to its symptoms. Changes in behavior, problems at school, dazedness and paint-stained clothing or skin can point to a solvent addiction.
Solvents drug effects may accumulate over time, or may quickly reach a point of irreversible damage, with Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS) a possible outcome of solvent abuse. Because solvents are so readily available it can be challenging for adults to remove the source of the addiction and ensure that their child is drug-free.
For this reason solvent abuse treatment by way of a detox program is highly recommended. Detox programs provide a safe, monitored environment where individuals are able to manage their addiction and deal with its underlying issues with reduced likelihood of relapses.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an solvents addiction, get help now. Contact White Sands Tampa about our solvents addiction treatment programs today at 1-877-640-7820.