What Is Huffing Paint?
Inhalant abuse, commonly called huffing, is the purposeful inhalation of chemical vapors to achieve an altered mental or physical state, which for most abusers is a euphoric effect. Abusers are huffing spray paint emitted from a wide range of substances. In fact, chemical vapors used as inhalants can be found in over 1,000 common household products.
Can you overdose or die if you are huffing spray paint or abusing other inhalants?
Yes, using inhalants and huffing spray paint can cause death, even after just one use,  by:
- Sudden sniffing death—heart beats quickly and irregularly, and then suddenly stops (cardiac arrest)
- Asphyxiation—toxic fumes replace oxygen in the lungs so that a person stops breathing
- Suffocation—air is blocked from entering the lungs when inhaling fumes from a plastic bag placed over the head
- Convulsions or seizures—abnormal electrical discharges in the brain
- Coma—the brain shuts down all but the most vital functions
- Choking—inhaling vomit after inhalant use
- Injuries—accidents, including driving, while intoxicated
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Why Are People Huffing?
The abuse of inhalants and huffing spray paint are widespread across the US; however, it may be underreported because law enforcement officials and healthcare providers are often unfamiliar with the signs of inhalant abuse. Abusers, primarily young adults, inhale chemical vapors from a variety of substances, many of which are common household products. These young people abuse inhalants in order to obtain a euphoric effect and are often unaware of the potential risks, which include brain damage and death. Some adults also abuse inhalants, particularly nitrates. Adult abusers often inhale substances in order to enhance their sexual experiences. 
What Does Huffing Paint Feel Like?
For most users, inhalant abuse results in a rapid euphoric effect that is similar to alcohol intoxication. Users experience:
- Initial excitation
How Does Huffing Paint Get You High?
Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways. Abusers begin by huffing spray paint by inhaling deeply; they then take several more breaths. Abusers may inhale, by sniffing or snorting, chemical vapors directly from open containers or by huffing fumes from rags that are soaked in a chemical substance and then held to the face or stuffed in the mouth. Other methods include spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth or pouring inhalants onto the user’s collar, sleeves, or cuffs and sniffing them over a period of time (such as during a class in school).
In a practice known as bagging, fumes are inhaled from substances sprayed or deposited inside a paper or plastic bag. Alternatively, the fumes may be discharged into small containers such as soda cans and then inhaled from the can. Users may also inhale from balloons filled with nitrous oxide or other devices such as snappers and poppers in which inhalants are sold.
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Effects Of Huffing Paint Thinner
Easy accessibility and the relatively low cost of the substances abused indicate that inhalant abuse will attract new users and continue to be a problem in the United States. Authorities have recognized the problem of inhalant abuse; 46 states (excluding Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, and Wyoming) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have enacted laws to address the issue. Inhalants are dangerous poisons that were never designed for human consumption. Prevention and information campaigns will increase awareness of the negative effects of inhalant abuse and may help to make this practice less appealing to our nation’s youth.
Inhalant abusers also report feeling a loss of inhibitions. The chemicals found in volatile solvents, aerosols, and gases produce a variety of additional effects during or shortly after use that includes:
- Strong hallucinations
- Impaired judgment
Additional symptoms exhibited by long-term inhalant abusers include:
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Rapid pulse
- Hand tremors
- Nausea or vomiting
- In severe cases, grand mal seizures
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Huffing Paint Symptoms
Signs of Abuse  Include:
- Drunk or disoriented appearance
- Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothing
- Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
- Slurred speech
- Strong chemical odors on breath or clothing
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Red or runny nose
- Sores or rash around the nose or mouth
Dangers Of Huffing Paint
Inhaling large amounts of these chemicals can cause heart failure, suffocation, convulsions, seizures, and coma. Furthermore, sniffing highly concentrated amounts of these chemicals can directly induce heart failure and death within minutes of a session of repeated inhalation, also known as ‘sudden sniffing death.’ High concentrations of inhalants can also displace oxygen in the lungs, causing the user to lose consciousness and stop breathing. Other than death, inhalants may also cause harmful and irreversible effects such as hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage, and bone marrow damage. 
Inhalants also can damage brain cells by preventing them from getting enough oxygen. The effects of this condition, also known as brain hypoxia, depend on the area of the brain that gets damaged. The hippocampus, for example, is responsible for memory, so someone who repeatedly uses inhalants may be unable to learn new things or may have a hard time carrying on simple conversations. If the cerebral cortex is damaged, it will affect a person’s ability to solve complex problems and plan ahead. And, if the cerebellum is affected, it can cause a person to move slowly or be clumsy.
Can You Die From Huffing Spray Paint?
Chronic inhalant abuse may result in serious and sometimes irreversible damage to the user’s heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Brain damage may result in personality changes, diminished cognitive functioning, memory impairment, and slurred speech.
Death from inhalant abuse can occur after a single use or after prolonged use. Sudden sniffing death syndrome may result within minutes of inhalant abuse from irregular heart rhythm leading to heart failure. Other causes of death include asphyxiation, aspiration, or suffocation. A user who is suffering from impaired judgment may also experience fatal injuries from motor vehicle accidents or sudden falls. 
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Huffing Paint & Inhalants Addiction
Inhalants are a diverse group of volatile substances whose vapors, or fumes, can be inhaled to produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. They include common household substances such as glue, shoe polish, and cleaning fluids. Other products used as inhalants include spray paint, gasoline, lighter fluid, and nitrous oxide. Users may refer to inhalants as laughing gas, poppers, snappers, or whippets. Common types of inhalants include volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites:
- Volatile Solvents: Volatile solvents are liquids that vaporize at room temperature. They can be industrial or household products, including paint thinners or removers, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, and lighter fluid. In addition, they can also be art or office supply solvents, including correction fluids, felt-tip marker fluid, electronic contact cleaners, and glue.
- Aerosols: Aerosols are sprays that contain propellants and solvents. These include household aerosol propellants in items such as spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays, fabric protector sprays, aerosol computer cleaning products, and vegetable oil sprays.
- Gases: Gases are found in the household or commercial products and used as medical anesthetics. These include household or commercial products, such as butane lighters and propane tanks, whipped cream aerosols or dispensers (whippets), and refrigerant gases. Also, medical anesthetics, such as ether, chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’)
- Nitrites: Nitrites are a special class of inhalants that are used primarily as sexual enhancers.
Someone with an addiction to huffing spray paint and mental health disorders must treat both conditions. For the treatment to be effective, you need to stop using alcohol or drugs. Treatments may include behavioral therapies and medications. Also, support groups can give you emotional and social support. They are also a place where people can share tips about how to deal with day-to-day challenges.
A good dual diagnosis treatment program and drug addiction therapy facility need to be able to treat both conditions without treating one as the sole cause of the other. Addiction is a complicated disease and no one thing is to blame for it. There are various options available to handle drug addiction therapy.
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Get dual diagnosis treatment for individuals suffering from huffing spray paint and mental health issues. Call us today!
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 Inhalants – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[2,5] Intelligence Brief: Huffing – National Drug Intelligence Center
 National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report Series, Inhalant Abuse, 10 May 2001.
 Inhalants – https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/inhalants.page
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