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Toluene Drug Abuse

Toluene Drug Abuse

Toluene Drug Abuse

Sniffing or huffing glue, paint, cleaning fluids, and nail polish remover may appear to be harmless, but it’s no different from other kinds of substance abuse. Sometimes we sniff these things accidentally. Maybe you’re using glue for a DIY project, or you’re cleaning the house or removing your nail polish. While you may inhale these fumes unintentionally, some people willingly inhale these chemicals to get high. While inhalants are different from drugs like cocaine and heroin in structure, they’re just as dangerous. As a Pompano treatment center that’s seen and treated it all, we’re diving into toluene drug abuse and how it impacts the body.

What Is Toluene?

Pronounced “taal-yoo-een,” toluene or tolul is an aromatic hydrocarbon. It’s a colorless, water-insoluble liquid, which means it doesn’t dissolve in water or other solvents. If you’ve ever smelled paint or paint thinner before, that’s exactly what toluene smells like. It’s commonly used in the manufacturing of various commercial products, such as paints and glues. It’s extremely dangerous when its fumes are inhaled and can cause long-term neurological damage and intoxication.

Because this chemical is so toxic, people who work with toluene or are exposed to it tend to wear masks to avoid inhaling it. On the other hand, toluene abuse is a real concern. Toluene huffing is a form of solvent abuse in which people purposely inhale the fumes of solvents or chemicals. Like other kinds of solvents, toluene actually triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which produces a feeling of euphoria and reinforces drug-taking behavior like other substances of abuse.

What Does Toluene Do to Your Body?

Toluene’s side effects can be severe and unpredictable. The severity of a person’s reaction to this solvent depends on how much of it they inhaled and how long they’ve been abusing it. Toluene sniffing can cause both behavioral and physical side effects that may progress into chronic issues with continued use.

Some common side effects of toluene drug abuse include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Nose irritation
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Rush of euphoria
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tears
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle fatigue or pains
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Inflamed liver
  • Kidney damage

The chronic effects of toluene include severe nerve, liver, and kidney damage. Long-term toluene inhalant abuse or exposure also has a severe impact on the central nervous system. Huffing or inhaling this chemical frequently and for long periods can lead to neurological disorders, including toluene-induced leukoencephalopathy and dementia. Leukoencephalopathy refers to disorders of brain white matter and is a broad term used to describe various leukodystrophy-like diseases.

This disease, though a common effect of toluene abuse and exposure, is not entirely understood. While reported symptoms are not too specific, such as headache, dizziness, and impaired cognition, the fact that this condition affects white matter in the brain leads us to believe there’s more to it than meets the eye. One study on a 44-year-old male who had been a shoemaker for three years and had daily contact with toluene experienced toluene-induced leukoencephalopathy and symptoms like memory decline, impaired calculation, and visuospatial impairment.1 Unfortunately, damage to white brain matter, no matter the cause, is irreversible.

Toluene toxicity can also occur as a result of long-term exposure and has been known to cause symptoms like brain lesions, CNS depression, and hearing disorders. Long-term solvent abuse of any kind can lead to a long list of health problems. Fortunately, if you’re struggling with toluene abuse, there are treatment options that can help. Banyan Pompano offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), among other drug therapy programs that can help you quit by focusing on the behavioral aspects of your addiction.

To learn more about the dangers of drug abuse and the treatment options available, call Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano today at 888-280-4763. Our Florida drug and alcohol treatment is led by an expert team of therapists, psychologists, and medical personnel to ensure our patients receive the care they need to achieve sobriety.

Related Reading:
The Harmful Effects of Poppers
How Long Do Poppers Effects Last?
Poppers Overdose

  1. Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation Journal - Toluene-induced leukoencephalopathy with characteristic magnetic resonance imaging findings
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Toluene Drug Abuse
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