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National Addictions Management Service

Signs & Symptoms

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​Signs and symptoms of inhalant addiction

  • A strong smell of chemicals on his clothing or breath
  • Sores around the person's mouth
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Looking drunk, dazed or slurred in speech
  • Red eyes and runny nose
  • Empty containers, discarded soaked rags or clothing hidden in the trash

If you know of someone who displays any of these symptoms, he/she may be abusing inhalants.

Consequences of inhalant abuse

Inhalant abuse causes drowsiness, confusion, delirium, and can even lead to loss of consciousness. Long term abusers may develop an irregular heartbeat that could lead to heart failure and death within minutes, which is known as Sudden Sniffing Death (SSD).

Common long-term effects of inhalant use include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Memory impairment, diminished intelligence
  • Loss of body control
  • Hearing loss
  • Death from heart failure or asphyxiation (loss of oxygen).
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