Inhalants Abuse: What are Whippets?

What is Inhalants Abuse?

Inhalant abuse (huffing) is another form of substance abuse that you can become addicted to with long-term use. Teenagers are typically the main abusers because of the ease to access cheap household products which give a “high” to users. Whippets are another product that parents should be aware of in case evidence is found in a teenager’s room. What are whippets?

You may have seen the steel cartridges used to charge whipped cream dispensers. They are filled with odorless nitrous oxide gas and are legal to buy. All you need next are several balloons and a “cracker” which is a tool to pierce the cartridge top. Then the mouth of a balloon is placed over the cartridge hole to blow up the balloon.

Next, the balloon mouth is pinched closed when there is enough gas inside it. The user puts the mouth of the balloon to their lips and inhales and exhales a few times to get that desired hit. The euphoric high from the hit can feel good, but like any other substance, your child may use more of it over time and suffer impairments to the brain.

During the breathing process, oxygen is cut off from the body. Your child may eventually suffer memory loss, apoptosis (dead brain cells), a weakened immune system, heart dysfunction, and even spasms. Your child must learn the importance of not using any inhalant substances, particularly the use of whippets, and how permanent bodily damage can accumulate using this substance.

Health Hazards of Getting into Inhalants

As teenagers and young adults are the most likely group who get involved with inhalants, this is extremely dangerous when inhalants are abused and move to addiction level. Young bodies and brains are still physically developing and, when overlayed with poisonous chemicals, severe and irreparable damage is done.

But why do people sniff glue or any other chemical? As with drugs or alcohol, abusing inhalants is part of achieving that euphoric high that takes you away from the tough times of life. The euphoric high creates a sense of happiness with less anxiety and allows you to leave life behind. Yet, coming off that high can be depressing when you realize you still have to deal with your problems.

Short-term effects on the body during a high event amount to slurred speech, euphoric feelings, dizziness, hallucinations, and a lack of coordination. Signs that someone is using inhalants are:

  • Unusual chemical breath odors on clothing,
  • Finding bottled solvents or steel canisters in your teenager’s room,
  • Your teenager has “allergies” with runny (and red) nose and eyes, even nosebleeds,
  • Your child appears drunk or “out of it,” and unable to mentally focus,
  • Spends more time in their room and the room smells like chemicals,
  • Has nausea and loss of appetite, losing weight,
  • Exhibits depression, irritability, and is moody.

Long-term effects are not obvious until illness occurs. Most inhalants are taken through the nose or the mouth. The teeth and gums of the mouth can be affected, causing loose teeth or even lost teeth. Also affected are your throat and lungs. Damage can occur on a cellular level.

When inhaled through the nose, your nasal passages are affected and damage can occur anywhere along the passageways, from your nose entrance, throat, and into your lungs. As air and oxygen is essential for your body and mind to work properly, when inhalants are used, they temporarily shut off oxygen and introduce chemicals into the body and your brain. Hence, you get the “high” or experience euphoria.

Your liver and kidneys are a big part of filtering out toxins from your body and help to strengthen your immune system. When chemicals are introduced on a continuous basis, the effects of chemical toxins can weaken your immune system until permanent damage is done to your kidneys and liver. If left undiagnosed and untreated early on, the damage can be enough to kill you.

How you are physically affected by inhalant chemicals depends on the natural chemical makeup of your body. While one person may have mild effects, another user has worse effects, up to passing out or having spasms, or even sudden heart problems leading to death.

Addiction and Diagnosis

If you find that you cannot stop using inhalants, whether it is solvents, aerosol sprays, gases (whippets), or nitrites, then you need to get help as soon as possible to treat your addiction. Set up an appointment with a rehabilitation center (San Diego), such as our Pacific Bay Recovery Center, for an initial consultation and an assessment session for your child.

Be sure to explain kindly to your child what will be involved with the consultation and assessment your child may be very unhappy about going to this appointment. Speak with a counselor first over the phone so you know what to tell your child and what the benefits will be.


After the diagnosis is made from the assessment, a customized treatment is created for your child to maximize the recovery process, which may include a detox session. This ensures that the body is cleaned out of damaging toxins remaining within the physical system. There will also be counseling sessions to help with strengthening the mind to avoid trigger situations and to also focus on other things in life than just needing the inhalant substance.

Pacific Bay Recovery rehabilitation center San Diego can help you with any substance addiction and/or mental issues you might have so you can regain a happy and functional lifestyle again. Call us for a free consultation and to set up an appointment to start getting help as soon as possible. 619-350-8220.

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