inhalants and hallucinations
- The term inhalant comes from the Latin verb inhalare, which means to breathe into. It is used to denote a group of volatile substances used for industrial purposes, and widely misused for their hallucinogenic and other psychoactive properties, especially by school children, adolescents, and other individuals who cannot afford more expensive drugs. Some examples of inhalants are aerosols, airplane glue, butane gas, cleaning fluid, gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, rubber cement, and varnish remover. Inhalants are administered either through vapour inhalation (i.e. 'sniffing' or 'snorting') or by soaking a rag in a volatile substance and stuffing it in the oral cavity (i.e. 'huffing'). The method where a plastic bag or bottle is used in the process of inhalation is called 'bagging'. Some of the major substances held responsible for the mediation of hallucinations by inhalants are toluene, acetone, benzene, and halogenated hydrocarbons. The chronic use of inhalants is thought to lead to the mediation of hallucinations. The types of "sensory deceptions and distortions evoked by inhalants tend to differ across substances. Moreover, they are dependent on dose, means of administration, other substance abuse, and individual predisposition. They may include "metamorphopsias (such as "micropsia and "macropsia), "body schema illusions (such as "whole body macrosomatognosia and "whole body microsomatognosia), " illusions, changes in the intensity of colour perception, and "visual, "auditory, "somatic, "tactile, " kinaesthetic, and " compound hallucinations. " Gustatory hallucinations can occur as well, but these have been reported less frequently.ReferencesEvans, A.C., Raistrick, D. (1987). Phenomenology of intoxication with toluene-based adhe-sives and butane gas. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 769-773.Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia ofpsy-choactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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