Addiction to Drugs/Huffing



In the past two weeks, I've recently relapsed and begun huffing and cutting again. Before this relapse I had huffed hairspray. This time, I huffed nail polish, dry shampoo, lysol, and an empty can of silly string. After huffing, I felt dizzy and about an hour later I had a severe migraine. Is this normal? Do you know of any programs that could help with my problem?

Thank you,


HI Faith,

Thanks for your question and I hope you are okay.  Huffing, or inhaling volatile substances, has quite a lot of risks involved.  The chemicals themselves can cause problems and there is risks associated with respiratory problems.  In rare cases, people can have cardiac arrests while inhaling.  

There are some ways that you can minimize the harms associated with inhaling, but it is always going to have quite a few risks involved.  These substances aren't drugs, so they aren't meant to be ingested into the body.  Some people use only certain types of substances, such as glue, although this was a few years ago and the chemical composition of these substances might have changed.  There are some key ways that you can reduce some of the risks and I have put a link to a good Australian site below which has some information:

There is also an Irish site called Re-Solv, although it is less focused on reducing harms, but still worth having a look.

Re-solv also have an online help option.  I don't know if this will be limited to their country (but you don't need to tell them where you are just to get some info ...)

There are lots of reasons people use substances and human have been doing so for a long time.  When it becomes something that you do to the detriment of your health or wellbeing it can become a problem.  I don't know if there are any specific inhalant programs where you live, but I would suggest linking in to talk to someone.  I am in Australia and we have a good public health system were people can see a psychologist without having to pay a lot.  I don't know if that is possible in America however  Are there any other issues that are affecting you?  You sound like a pretty bright woman and I wonder if there are other things in your life that are causing you difficulty.  

There are a few key things you can try in the short term.  Distraction is a great idea.  If you feel like you are going to use, take some time out.  Go for a walk outside, go for a drive, go and visit someone. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take some time to stop and do some slow breathing exercises.  

Don't hesitate to reply to this message if you need any further assistance

Addiction to Drugs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I am a psychologist committed to Harm reduction, a philosophy that acknowledges people will continue to use drugs despite all of the effort put into stopping it (case in point - US government drug war ... trillions of dollars spent fighting and more people using). I advocate to support people who use drugs by reducing the harms associated with their use through needle and syringe programs (NSP), advocating for drug law reform, non-judgmental health services and reducing the stigma associated with drugs. I have worked in harm reduction in Australia (NSP, primary health care, drop in centre) for 10 years and also have 18 months managing a service providing care coordination for people with multiple and complex problems. I spent two years living and working in Cambodia as a Harm Reduction Advisor for a local Khmer NGO, primarily focusing on methamphetamine use. Now I am back in Australia and have worked in a prison providing drug treatment and currently work as a psychologist in a dual diagnosis service (for people with mental health and substance use problems). I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology so can also answer questions around mental health and drug use. Happy to answer questions about blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, questions about opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, benzos and other substances. Questions about treatment (particulary methadone and buprenorphine). Questions about harm reduction and why it is the best approach. I will try to answer questions about drug tests. I DO NOT JUDGE PEOPLE NEGATIVELY DUE TO THEIR DRUG USE, AND DON'T DEMAND PEOPLE MARCH STRAIGHT OFF TO REHAB! If anyone has taken a sip of a coffee, or drunk a beer, then ... well we are all drug users, and I don't think we are going to see an end to it! Deal with the real.


Worked in the field in Australia and Cambodia for 15 years. Psychologist with Clinical Masters. Two significant research projects on drug use (one on HIV risk and its link with trauma and one on drug related stigma). Presentation at two international conferences and two Australian conferences.

Registered as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency.

Conference proceedings - IHRC 2004 (Chiang Mai), 2005 (Melbourne) & 2010 (Bangkok). Anex Conference 2005 (Melbourne) Stigma-Pleasure-Practice conference 2006 (Sydney).

Bachelor of Arts (Humanities), Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), Masters of Psychology (Clinical). And a multitude of training courses including advanced first aid, pre & post test counselling accreditation for HIV, significant amount of training on hepatitis C, etc.

Awards and Honors
Have presented at international conferences including the International Harm Reduction Conferences in Chiang Mai Thailand; Melbourne, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand. Also national conferences in Sydney and Melbourne Australia.

Past/Present Clients
I maintain confidentiality about my clients.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]