Inhalant Abuse - Is Your Child At Risk?

Inhalant Abuse

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Does the mere thought of drug abuse by your child seem like a nightmare? Are you paranoid about protecting your child from drug addiction? Parents across the world strongly condemn substance abuse by children. Unfortunately though, due to peer pressure, or curiosity drug abuse in children is on the rise.

You may heave a sigh of relief thinking that your children may not get easy access to expensive and popular drugs like marijuana, LSD and cocaine. Are you even aware that these are not the only dreaded things you need to ban from your house? There are other seemingly ordinary substances lying around your household that may give your child the same kick.

Read on to learn more about some of the seemingly innocent substances your child may frequently be using that could raise an eyebrow.

What Is An Inhalant?

An inhalant is a volatile substance that produces chemical vapors. These vapors can be intoxicating and can create the same sensation as drug use. The effects of these

vapors are usually mind-altering and psychoactive.

[ Read: How Does Alcohol Affect Children ]

What Are The Home Based Products That My Child Could Be Using As Inhalants?

There are various products in your house that can easily be used by your child as an inhalant. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Glue
  • Naphthalene balls
  • Spray paint
  • Deodorant
  • Kerosene
  • Whipped cream canister
  • Lighter fluid
  • Hair sprays
  • Cooking sprays
  • Room deodorizer
  • Paint thinner
  • Rubber cement

Why Do Children Use Inhalants?

Children today are aware that the instant kicks they are looking for can be easily obtained, right inside their house. The inhalants lying at home are inexpensive and are within their reach.

As it is legal to use and store such inhalants, your child does not fear any reprimand or punishment. Inhalants are not prohibited drugs as their main purpose is always something else.

[ Read: How To Talk To Your Child About Drugs ]

What Are The Potential Threats of Inhalant Abuse?

While inhalants may otherwise be household or office products, their abuse as drugs can have life-threatening consequences. Most of these contain highly concentrated chemicals that can cause multiple risks to your child.

Here are some of the dangers of inhalant abuse that threaten your child’s health and life:

  • Inhalant abuse can lead to irregular and rapid heartbeats.
  • Inhalants can cause sudden heart failure, sometimes even within minutes of a long duration of sniffing.
  • Known as ‘sudden sniffing death’ this condition can develop even from a single time abuse of the inhalant by a healthy child.
  • Repeated use of inhalants can lead to a high concentration of inhaled fumes in the lungs of a child, which can displace the available oxygen in the lungs and lead to asphyxiation.
  • Repeated inhalant abuse can cause abnormal electrical discharge in the brain and lead to convulsions or even seizures.
  • A child tends to vomit after a session of inhalant abuse. In some cases, vomiting can cause choking and even death.
  • Children may playfully abuse inhalants by placing plastic bags over their heads and inhaling fumes from it, which can block the air from entering into the lungs and cause suffocation and eventual death.
  • With repeated abuse of inhalants, the brain shuts down almost completely and can even cause the child to go into a state of coma.
  • Inhalant abuse can also lead to accident or death in a car crash in case your child decides to drive after an inhaling session.
  • Most inhalants are extremely toxic and can cause long lasting damage to the part of the brain that controls movement, vision, cognition and even hearing. It can also severely damage the nervous system.
  • Long term abuse of inhalants can permanently damage vital organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.

[ Read: Healthy Habits For Kids ]

Once the abuse stops, some of the damages caused by inhalants may go away with time. However, there are many conditions that are long term or even lifelong.

As inhalants are freely available in the house, it is important you keep a lookout on your child’s activities. The easiest way to do this is by being your child’s friend and keeping an open communication. Show your child how much you love him and tell him that you trust him. Do not be critical or judgmental, as this may make him hide things from you.

Friends and peers may easily influence your child. Keep your eyes and ears open and always be available for your child. In case you notice any sudden or extreme change in behavior, talk to your child. If you doubt something, do take your child to a medical facility for a check-up.

Hope by now you might have understood what is inhalant abuse and how to deal with it. If you have experience of handling the issue of inhalants abuse, please share your experience with us.

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