The dangers of gas huffing can range from temporary unconsciousness to brain damage and even death if performed frequently or for long enough periods of time. Like any chemical substance, an overdose can occur and cause serious and irreversible damage to the brain or lungs. Other dangers of gas huffing include heart failure and nervous system damage. These can occur even in very young children and adolescents, including those with no history of a heart condition.
Gas huffing is done as a recreational form of drug use and is most popular among young pre-teens and teenagers who cannot purchase or afford more conventional street drugs or alcohol. When gasoline is breathed into the lungs, either as a liquid or a vapor, it is immediately absorbed into blood vessels found inside the lungs. This leads to an almost instantaneous hallucinogenic high.
After a time the brain becomes accustomed to the euphoric feelings induced by the gasoline, and with continued use it will eventually become dependent. This means that users will often only feel “normal” or “happy” when they are high. Addiction is one of the primary dangers of gas huffing, because once someone is addicted to the behavior, it is very hard to gain control of the situation. With long-term use, users may eventually do serious damage to their bodies.
Another one of the most tragic dangers of gas huffing is the risk of becoming brain-damaged or mentally handicapped. As the brain is repeatedly exposed to the harsh fumes of the gas, brain cells become damaged and eventually die. Once the cells are gone, they do not grow back. If too many brain cells are damaged or killed, the person may lose some or all motor abilities, speech, and even the ability to feed himself or use the restroom without assistance.
Heart and nervous system failure are also potential dangers. As the gasoline and constant state of euphoria puts strain on the heart muscle by flooding blood vessels with toxins, it can become overworked and damaged. This can lead to heart attacks and even death. The nervous system is also affected as the brain produced chemicals in large amounts that the body is not equipped to handle.
Users may also die of suffocation if gas is inhaled in very large quantities. This is one of the most troubling dangers of gas huffing because a first time user can lose his life in the process if overdone. When too much of any gas is inhaled in place of oxygen, the lungs become overburdened with other fumes. This can cause asphyxiation, loss of consciousness, and eventually death if fresh air is not provided quickly enough.