Write about intriguing psychological phenomena.

Huffing Paint

Huffing Paint

The newest facet of inhalant abuse, the practice of huffing paint is fast becoming a rage, especially among teenagers and adolescents.
Abhijit Naik
Over the last few decades, inhalant abuse has become one of the most prominent issues of concern in the society. The rising number of cases of inhalant abuse can be attributed to the fact that the substances used in such cases are readily available. Unlike the substances of drug abuse, which are relatively difficult to get, a wide range of chemical substances that we use at our homes, are used by people involved in inhalant abuse.

While gasoline, cleaning fluid, spot remover, and other such household items have always been popular among these people, the latest entrant in this list is paint. In fact, recent trends suggest that the practice of huffing paint fumes is on the rise among the teens and adolescents. Going by its definition, huffing or sniffing paint is basically the practice of inhaling the fumes coming from various paint products with the intention of getting a 'high' or 'kick'.


The symptoms of huffing paint may range from simple lightheadedness to much more severe complications. These symptoms are similar to the most common side effects of inhalants, such as headache, irritability, nausea, intoxication, etc. In fact, the person might behave as if he has been really intoxicated by alcohol. When the person is experiencing the so-called 'high', his ability to hear and speak will be hampered to a significant extent. Lack of inhibitions will only mean the person would resort to doing things which he would not do in normal circumstances. Severe symptoms, on the other hand, include high blood pressure and increased heart rate. If the person has been involved in this type of abuse for a long time, sudden withdrawal from the same may even result in irritability and insomnia.

Hazardous Effects

The alleged kick one gets after huffing fumes coming from the paint is nothing but a short-lived euphoria, which is attributed to the chemicals acting upon the central nervous system. It may seem pretty harmless (and the person may even enjoy the lightheadedness associated with it), but it can result in a series of hazardous effects on his body and mind. The fact that they can directly act upon the central nervous system itself implies that these chemicals can cause severe damage to the brain. Other than the brain, even kidneys, lungs, and the heart are vulnerable to the hazards of chemicals in the paint.

As far as the problems with the brain are concerned, they start with relatively minor issues such as memory loss and difficulty in concentration. Over the period, these problems worsen and result in severe complications. Damage to some of the most vital parts of the body, including the brain and kidneys can even result in death. Though the chances are quite rare, sudden sniffing death (SSD) cannot be ruled out. Yet another closely related facet of inhalant abuse is huffing paint thinner, effects of which are quite similar to the effects of the chemicals in paint.

The misconception that this practice is less harmful than the practice of using drugs like Marijuana and opium has contributed to its soaring popularity. Basically, one has to understand that when it comes to any sort of substance abuse, addiction is inevitable, and once a person is addicted, he won't hesitate in resorting to unethical means to fulfill his craving. It's important to curb such practices in the very beginning instead of waiting for the things to get out of the hand.