Warning Signs of Inhalant Abuse
Inhalant Abuse Can Be Deadly, Even the First Time, Doctors Warn
WebMD News Archive
May 7, 2007 -- Parents and pediatricians should learn the warning signs of
inhalant abuse, the potentially deadly inhalation of household products to get
Here are facts on inhalant abuse, published in the May edition of
- About 11% of U.S. 12th-grade students have tried inhalant abuse.
- Inhalant abuse peaks in teens aged 14-15.
- Inhalant abuse may begin when kids are as young as 5-6 years old.
- Inhalant abuse can be fatal, even the first time.
- Inhalant abuse may damage the nervous system, hamper mental skills such as
memory and attention, harm the lungs, and cause irregular heartbeats.
"Inhalant abuse may not readily come to the attention of others,
including pediatricians, because signs and symptoms of use are often
subtle," write Janet Williams, MD, and colleagues.
Williams serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on
Substance Abuse. She and her colleagues describe possible warning signs of
"Abuse of inhalants should be suspected when a cache of a potential
inhalant is discovered or when products with abuse potential are found stored
in unusual locations, such as cans of gasoline or spray paint under a youth's
bed," write the doctors.
Changes in behavior, worsening grades, poor hygiene, weight loss, fatigue,
confusion, poor concentration, depression, irritability, hostility, or paranoia
may also accompany inhalant abuse, note Williams and colleagues. However, those
traits aren't necessarily due to inhalant abuse.
Pediatricians should watch for inhalant abuse in their patients; researchers
should work to identify the most effective treatments for kids and teens who
abuse inhalants, Williams' team writes.