Inhalants refer to the ordinary household products that are sniffed or inhaled by individuals so as to get high. There are many household products that are misused as inhalants. Some of these products include gasoline, hair spray, fabric protector, air conditioner fluid, nail polish remover, and correction fluid, propellants in aerosol, cleaning fluids and cooking spray. These products are mainly bagged, sniffed, snorted so as one to get high. They can be sniffed directly from the containers. In most cases when an individual is under the influence of such inhalants one is likely to engage in anti-social or criminal behavior (Ksir, 2002). This report endeavors to explain the theoretical and empirical literature regarding theories of drug information and addiction.
The intoxicating inhalants that have volatile vapors are ingested through the trachea and nose. However, some inhalants are used for medical reasons as in the case of nitrous oxide. The inhalation of volatile substances is known as huffing. According to research conducted by the National Institute of drug abuse shows that the majority of those that abuse inhalants were teens and children, especially those that live on the streets with no family ties.
There are short-term effects that are associated with the use of inhalants
Within a few seconds of inhalation by the user, the individual experiences intoxication just as those produced by other drugs such as alcohol. Some of the effects include slurred speech, dizziness, and delirium, inability to coordinate movements, confusion, vomiting, and nausea. The individual may also experience a series of delusion, hallucinations, and lightheadedness.
What are their long-term effects?
There is a variety of long-term effects that are associated with the use of inhalants. The individual experiences the compulsive use of the inhalants and mild withdrawal systems. Other long-term effects of inhalants include muscle weakness, weight loss, inattentiveness, irritability, depression, disorientation, and lack of coordination. After an individual engages in the heavy use of inhalants, he or she feels drowsy for hours followed by a lingering headache. However, the intoxication only last for a few minutes, thus the user seeks to prolong their feeling of being high by continuing to inhale the substances.
Some people use inhalants so as to deal with breathing problems. For instance, those individuals suffering from breathing problems and asthma who use inhalers. These devices have drugs that are prescribed by doctors mainly types of steroids that ease irritation in the person's airways or drugs that enlarge the person's breathing passages. The inhalants are mainly gases, solvents or other substances that have dangerous chemicals. Inhalants can be hypnotic, sedative, or anesthetic drugs.
The use of inhalants can cause harm to the breathing passages and may remain in the user's body for almost two weeks after huffing or sniffing them. According to research, the long-term use of inhalants may cause permanent damage to the brain, organs, and other parts. Sometimes the inhalants may cause death to an individual even if it is for the first time.
The effects of inhalants on the user are mainly temporary, but sometimes may occur due to habitual use of the inhalants. When an individual inhales a solvent the chemical in the substances enters the individual's bloodstream via the lungs. The blood then distributes the chemicals to the cells and finally to the rest of the body. Sometimes the inhalants may increase the user's heart rate. The individual may experience headache and pain in the abdomen. He or she sometimes experiences numbness and tingling of feet and hands, limb spasms and muscle weakness. Inhalants may also affect an individual's mood may change from happy to sad. Sometimes he or she may turn violent. Sometimes the regular use of inhalants may cause the mucous membrane in the user's nose or mouth.
Depending on the compounds in the inhalants, it may result in social problems, health problems, suicides, and unprotected sex. They may also cause motor vehicle accidents, physical dependence, homicides, morbidity, psychological addiction, and injuries. There are particularly high rates of suicide in inhalant users. The main reasons believed to increase the risk of suicide are the long-term abuse of inhalants causing social isolation and psychological distortion. Drug abuse can induce symptomatology that resembles mental illness. It can occur both during the intoxicated and withdrawal state.
Inhalants are commonly used by teenagers and children because of its ease availability. According to research the average age of inhalant users is between 12 and 13. In some cases, the children can be as young as 6 years trying out inhalants (Hanson et al., 2012).
Types of inhalants
The first one is Acetone. This is often found in rubber cement, nail polish remover, and permanent markers. The second one is Butane, which is often found in hairspray, gasoline, air freshening sprays, lighter fluid, and spray paint. The third one is chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are often found in dry cleaning chemicals, stain removers, and correction fluid. The fourth one is fluorocarbons that are often hairspray, pain-killing sprays, and spray paint and air fresheners. The fifth one is propane, which is often found in spray paint, deodorant, and air freshening sprays. The sixth one is toluene, which is often found in spray paint, paint thinner and airplane glue.
Inhalants for medical purposes
Nitrates are nitrogen compounds that are used for medical purposes. They are often used as vasodilators when inhaled. This is because they relax the walls of blood vessels thus causing the vessels to widen. This helps to ease the chest pain that was precipitated by the inadequate blood flow to the heart. When they are used as recreational drugs, nitrates usually depress the central nervous system. They normally make the user feel lightheaded and giddy. The most common nitrates are butyl nitrate and amyl nitrate. They are usually yellowish liquids. For years, nitrous oxide, also known as the laughing gas was used as a recreational inhalant. Currently, it is used as a sedative for dental procedures.
Theories used in explaining the use of inhalants
Social Process Theories
These theories focus on how groups and individuals get involved with the use of inhalants and how they change with time, and what initiates their change. Process theories are mainly developmental. They identify the main factors over a given period. They are demarcated by social meanings and boundaries leading to alcohol and drug-related actions and consequences.
Labeling Theory and Deviant Roles, identities and careers
Deviant behaviors and the abuse of inhalants are understood as a set of identities, behaviors, and rules that comprise a life style. Deviance like inhalant use is a phenomenon that changes over time with an entry point or beginning and often an end or a desistance. However, labeling scholars and interactionist did not directly theorize about inhalant use dependency. They presumed a social escalation in career or drug lifestyle via identity change, labeling, role taking, and stigma (Dick & Bierut, 2006).
Interactionist claim that the negative social interactions like stigma or label with the individual inhalant use often drives one to increase the extent of inhalants used. Perhaps, these individuals are likely to internalize the negative labels and persist in deviant activities. Besides, individuals who are assumed and labeled are likely to possess negative traits that associate the drug abuser stigmas. The individuals' deviant careers expand because they accept the societal pejorative opinion of them. The internalization of these labels leads to adoption of identities and deviant roles such as behaviors and tasks (Morse & Flavin, 1992).
Labeling and adopting the role of an inhalant addict
With the continued acceptance of the deviant label and inhalant use, individuals have started to adopt inhalant addict roles and identities. This indicates that the inhalants are being used frequently. Inhalants addict's identities and roles imply that substances are often all-encompassing activities with self-organized roles and defined identities. Therefore, termination of drug abuse behavior…