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Effects of Addictive Substances

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Inhalants Effects

 

They can :

be found at home or school.
be inhaled by people looking for a quick high.
cause damage to the body including the brain.
Stink.

Inhaling (also called "huffing" or "sniffing") chemicals is a problem for many people including teenagers. Inhalants are cheap and can be found everywhere - in kitchens, garages and schools. There are hundreds of different materials that can be abused by people who inhale these dangerous chemicals. Inhalants not only damage the nervous system, but other organs such as the lungs, liver, heart and kidney can be injured permanently.

Variety of Inhalants

Product Chemical Content
Hair Spray Fluorinated hydrocarbons; propane; isobutane
Nitrous Oxide Nitrous Oxide
Cleaning Fluids Chlorinated hydrocarbons; naphtha
Typewriter Correction Fluid Trichloroethane; trichloroethylene
Nail Polish Remover Acetone; aliphatic acetates; benzene
Gasoline Hydrocarbons; tetraethyl lead
Glue; rubber cement Toluene; acetone, benzene; xylene; ethanol; chloroform
Paint/Paint Thinner Toluene; methylene chloride; benzene, ethanol
Lighter Fluid Hydrocarbons
Room Deodorizers Amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrite
Marker pens Toluene; xylene


Its effects on nervous system :

When vapors are inhaled
(1). They are absorbed through the lungs
(2). Enter the bloodstream
(3). Once in the bloodstream, the chemicals travel to the brain
(4). And other tissues throughout the body.

Most inhalants that are abused depress the functioning of the nervous system. However, the effects of each inhalant are difficult to determine because each product in made up many different chemicals and each person may breathe in different amounts of each chemical. Nevertheless, these chemicals do have significant effects on the nervous system.

Some of the effects of inhalants are simliar to those of alcohol. The immediate effects of inhalants include:
Relaxation.
Slurred speech.
Euphoria.
Hallucinations.
Drowsiness.
Dizziness.
Nausea.
Vomiting.
Death - from heart failure or suffocating on plastic bags or vomit.

Long term use of inhalants can cause:
Memory loss.
Concentration problems.
Visual disturbances; blindness.
Motor problems.
Peripheral nerve damage.

Inhalants may affect different parts the brain and nervous system and may cause a variety of sensory, motor, psychological and emotional problems. One major effect of inhalants is the destruction of the myelin sheath that surrounds neurons. This can result in problems in the normal transmission of impulses through neurons and cell death.

Specific areas of the brain targeted by inhalants include :
1. Cerebral cortex: damage can cause changes in personality, memory loss, hallucinations and learning problems.
2. Cerebellum: damage can cause problems in balance and movement.
3. Hippocampus: damage may result in the memory problems.
4. Visual System: damage to the peripheral nerves may cause visual disturbances.

 


 
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