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Alcohol and Substance Abuse - Solvents

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Member Drugs: (Brand Names) [Street Names]

  • Aerosol sprays
  • Glues
  • Paint Thinner
  • Gasoline

What The Drugs Looks Like:

  • These are the commercially available solvents used in painting and gluing, and for fuel purposes. Model glue, paint thinner, are all good examples

Most Typical Routes Of Administration:

  • Nose & Lungs (inhaling solvent vapors, often called "Huffing")

What These Drugs Do (Symptoms Typical Of Intoxication):

  • Short term effects:
    • Feelings of euphoria, dizziness, lightheadedness, great power, or exhilaration.
    • With higher doses, a person may become confused, agitated and disorientated. They may also experience abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or chest pain.
    • Extremely high doses may cause general muscle weakness, difficulty speaking and hallucinations
    • Because one of the effects of solvents is a feeling of invincibility, it is not uncommon for solvent abusers to engage in reckless behavior which can result in injury or death to themselves and others.
  • Long term effects:
    • Some physical symptoms of long term solvent use are: sores on mouth and nose; fatigue; weight loss; pale skin; numbness in hands and feet; kidney, lung and liver damage
    • Long term solvent use may cause brain damage. Some symptoms that have been found in long term users are: difficulty learning, memory loss, uncontrollable eye movements, hearing loss, inability to think clearly
    • Psychological effects of long term use may include depression, irritability, paranoia, hostility,

Pattern of Withdrawal Symptoms:

Detoxification takes 14 to 30 days.
Withdrawal from solvents is similar to withdrawal to alcohol. Some withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscular cramps
  • Abdominal pains
  • Tremors
  • (Possibly) Hallucinations.

Most Significant Problems:

  • High possibility of a potentially fatal overdose
  • Strong possibility of brain damage!