Huffing, a form of drug use in which people consume inhalants for the purpose of getting high, has a number of effects. Short term huffing effects include euphoria, hallucinations, impairment of judgment, loss of inhibitions, and a state which is often compared to drunkenness. Long term effects can include serious problems, such as damage to the organs and nervous system. This form of drug use can also be fatal.
Huffers tend to be younger, with people between the ages of 12 and 18 being most at risk of huffing behavior. These individuals lack legal access to substances like alcohol, which can lead them to seek out household substances for a high. These substances include aerosols, gases, solvents, and nitrites, all of which have different effects. Since drugs used for huffing are usually not intended for consumption, recreational or otherwise, they can be extremely dangerous to human health.
Short term huffing effects are the reason people engage in huffing, but not all of the short term effects contribute to a high. People can develop nausea, headaches, vomiting, and delirium. In some cases, huffing leads people to aspirate vomit, which can cause pneumonia or even death. Huffing is also linked with cardiac arrest and hypoxia, both of which lead to death. In addition, people can be more prone to falls and other injuries while they are under the influence, and they can make unwise decisions such as deciding to drive while they are intoxicated.
Long term huffing effects include permanent damage to the liver and kidneys, which struggle to process the toxins inhaled during huffing sessions, along with damage to the brain and nervous system. Chronic huffers can experience memory impairment, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, loss of sense of smell, and loss of sensation. Huffing effects can also include things like muscle weakness, loss of sensation in the extremities, or nerve pain caused by nerve signals which become confused as a result of nerve damage.
Signs that someone is engaging in this form of substance abuse include runny or red eyes, a drunken appearance, confusion, changes in personality, difficulty concentrating, and erratic behavior. If people recognize huffing effects in friends or family members, they should encourage them to seek treatment. Treatment for a huffing addiction is available at inpatient and outpatient facilities, and includes a wide variety of approaches which can include counseling in group and solo sessions as well as encouragement to seek out less harmful methods of recreation.