What is Chroming?

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Chroming, also known as huffing, describes a specific form of inhalant abuse where individuals inhale the fumes from substances like chrome spray paint, gasoline, or nail polish to achieve a euphoric or altered mental state. 

Avenues Recovery lists the side effects of chroming and explains how a young girl died after chroming deodorant. Knowing what chroming is and the dangers involved can help educate young kids who may be considering engaging in this harmful trend.

What Is The Chroming TikTok Challenge?

While inhalant abuse is not new, the chroming trend was recently popularized after a chroming challenge went viral on TikTok.

The social media chroming challenge typically involves inhaling fumes by spraying or pouring the substance into a plastic bag and then inhaling the vapors. Chroming can have serious health consequences, including brain damage, organ damage, and even death.

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, chroming is most popular amongst children aged 12 to 17.

The Meaning of Huffing vs Chroming

There are three types of chroming:

  • Sniffing: Sniffing fumes directly from a container, like a bottle of nail polish remover.
  • Bagging: Inhaling fumes that were sprayed into a bag first.
  • Huffing: Inhaling vapors, like gasoline or lighter fluid, that were first soaked into fabric.

What is chroming? Fumes from spray paint bottles are often inhaled to produce a high

What Are The Side Effects of Chroming? 

Some side effects of huffing paint and other fumes include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble walking

These side effects can occur after sniffing any gas, solvent, aerosol, or nitrite-containing toxic substances. Even sniffing markers can cause adverse effects.

Can Huffing Kill You?

One of the dangers of chroming is that when a person abuses hydrocarbon-based chemicals to get high, such as huffing nail polish remover, the chemicals enter the bloodstream and are transferred to other organs, including the brain. The chemicals act on brain cells to cause hallucinations, dizziness, sleepiness, and euphoria. These are the short-term effects.

In the long term, chroming can change neurons in the brain, causing memory problems, learning deficits, psychiatric disorders, and addiction. Once a person stops chroming, they may feel withdrawal symptoms such as sleep disturbances, shakiness, sweating, and heart palpitations.

Not everyone who chromes will get addicted, but any abuse of inhalants causes risks such as:

  • Burns to the face (since the products are flammable)
  • Kidney damage
  • Asphyxiation
  • Cancer risk (if the product includes benzene)
  • Fainting
  • Inflammation to the lungs
  • Sudden sniffing death syndrome

In the dangerous chroming trend, deodorant is sprayed into a bag and then inhaled. Avenues Recovery

What Is Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome?

Sudden sniffing death syndrome happens when someone goes into cardiac arrest or heart failure after abusing inhalants. This can happen after just one use by an otherwise healthy person.

Story of a Chroming Death 

The tragic story of Esra Haynes, a 13-year-old girl from Australia who died from chroming deodorant, made the headlines this past March. Esra was a fitness enthusiast and one of the leading members of a competing aerobics team in Melbourne. But her high fitness level didn’t save her from the ravages of chroming.

Esra went on an overnight with friends. In the middle of the night, her parents got a call that their daughter needed immediate medical attention. She had suffered cardiac arrest after trying the chroming trend with her friends.

She was immediately put on life support and remained in that state for her entire hospital stay. Towards the end of her hospitalization, a brain scan revealed irreparable brain damage. She died eight days later.

Esra Haynes, age 13, died from cardiac arrest after chroming deodorant with friends. Avenues Recovery

This frightening story is a reminder of the real danger involved in any form of inhalant abuse. Although it might seem harmless and fun (“But everybody does it!”), severe injury and even death can occur as a result.

Is Chroming Addictive? 

Yes, chroming can definitely become addictive.

The following are signs of an addiction:

  • Craving: An intense desire or urge to use substances regularly.
  • Loss of Control: Repeatedly using substances in larger amounts or over a more extended period than intended and being unable to control or cut down on usage.
  • Tolerance: Needing to use increasing amounts of substances to achieve the desired effects or experiencing reduced effects when using the same amount.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using substances, such as nausea, sweating, anxiety, irritability, or tremors.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home due to substance use.
  • Social and Interpersonal Problems: Experiencing difficulties in personal relationships, including conflicts with family and friends, as a result of substance use.
  • Loss of Interest: Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies in favor of using substances.
  • Continued Use Despite Harm: Using substances despite being aware of their harmful physical, psychological, or social consequences.
  • Financial Problems: Experiencing financial difficulties after prioritizing the purchase of substances over other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.

What Is Chroming Addiction Treatment? 

Treatment options for inhalant addiction, like any substance use disorder, typically involve a combination of medical, behavioral, and psychological interventions. Inhalant addiction can be particularly challenging to treat due to the wide range of substances that can be inhaled, each with its own unique effects and risks.

Some treatment options include a medical evaluation and detoxification, behavioral therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, and possibly pharmacotherapy. Although there is not one specific medication that helps with withdrawal from inhalants, medications like baclofen or benzos may be prescribed to manage cravings.

Although chroming may seem like a relatively harmless and fun activity, it is anything but. Chroming carries the risk of many dangers and can become highly addictive. Now that you know what chroming is, and the harmful side effects that can occur, you will be able to make better choices in the future.

If you or your loved one are suffering from a chroming addiction, know that recovery is possible. Here at Avenues Recovery, we offer a wide range of treatment options and therapies to help you reach and maintain sobriety. Our highly trained and experienced staff will support and encourage you through every step on your path to healing. Contact us today to begin your journey to a brighter, happier, and addiction-free future.

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