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What Are Poppers? Overview, Side Effects, and Addiction Potential

Amyl nitrite, or poppers, are a popular party drug. While amyl nitrate is legal to purchase in the United States, it is illegal to consume for recreational purposes due to its potentially dangerous side effects. Here’s what you need to know if you’re currently using this substance.

What Are Poppers?

Losing head to the music

Amyl nitrite is a liquid chemical that’s mainly used to treat chest pain and heart conditions. When patients inhale amyl nitrite, the blood vessels relax, allowing more oxygen and blood to reach the heart so it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.

The amyl nitrite that’s used recreationally also goes by other names, including Snappers, Bold, Buzz, Liquid Gold, and Purple Haze. The drug can be found for sale in sex shops, bars, and adult novelty stores under other product names like leather cleaner, liquid incense, or nail polish remover.

Poppers are typically sold in the same small bottles used for the concentrated “energy shots” that can be found for sale at convenience stores.

Who Uses Poppers?

In addition to being used by heart patients, amyl nitrite is used to treat cyanide poisoning. The recreational inhaling of poppers includes using it for “chemsex” or drug-enhanced sexual activity.

Amyl nitrite has been used in the gay and queer community since the 1970s for its muscle-relaxing properties, which make anal sex less painful and more enjoyable for men who have sex with other men. However, people of all races, sexual orientations, and ages use poppers recreationally to achieve its short-lived high.

What Are the Effects and Side Effects of Poppers?

When consumed, quick-acting poppers produce a high in seconds, which can cause a person to experience a rush of excitement or euphoria. It makes skin feel more sensitive, and it will also relax blood vessels and muscles.

Poppers can also cause a range of side effects. These include a feeling of restlessness, headache, increased pulse, nausea, and vomiting, along with:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme drops in blood pressure
  • Chemical burns
  • Sinus pain
  • Rashes
  • Allergic reactions leading to respiratory difficulty
  • Flushing in the face and neck
  • Increased ocular pressure
  • Loss of vision

Using poppers can also result in a compromised immune system and the development of a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia, which prevents the proper delivery of oxygen to red blood cells. Methemoglobinemia is life-threatening.

If consumed over the long term, poppers can irreversibly damage the eyes, liver, heart, and brain.Using poppers on a regular basis over time can also result in having to use more to achieve a high. This can cause you to develop cardiovascular problems, low blood pressure, and episodes of unconsciousness.

Poppers should never be used with erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra because they can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure, which can cause heart attack, stroke, and death. Cardiac arrest can result from using poppers with cocaine and other stimulants, which increase heart rate and can be fatal.

Because it reduces inhibitions and dilates the blood vessels, amyl nitrite use can make it easier to contract sexually transmitted diseases.

Are Poppers Dangerous?

Sad guy with dyed hair sitting on couch while his boyfriend standing near window on blurred

No evidence has shown that using poppers causes addiction. However, many people have reported becoming dependent on poppers. As well, many who have used poppers for a long period of time have reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms like nausea, irritability, and tremors after deciding to stop.

Just as with any drug, it is possible to overdose on amyl nitrite. Extreme dizziness that lasts far longer than normal following use of poppers could indicate overdose.

Blue palms, lips, or fingernails, as well as unusual tiredness or weakness, fainting, and a fast but weak heartbeat are all urgent signs of serious problems requiring emergency medical care. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 right away.

Can You Quit Poppers on Your Own?

The short answer is yes; it is possible to stop using poppers on your own. Many people do just that and experience no withdrawal symptoms at all. However, everyone is different, and those who struggle with addiction to other substances may find it difficult to stop using poppers.

Stopping can also be a challenge for those with mental health disorders who are using poppers to self-medicate. As well, some symptoms associated with quitting poppers can be intense and possibly dangerous, depending on how much of the drug you use and how long you’ve been taking it. Getting help through an addiction treatment program can help you achieve long-term sobriety.

How Addiction Treatment Can Help

Dependency on poppers or any drug can negatively affect every aspect of your life and relationships. Addiction treatment from Adelante Recovery Centers can help you move forward to a better life.

Our full service inpatient rehab facility is top-rated, with a compassionate, trained, and highly educated staff and a peaceful setting that allows you to focus on your wellness, healing, and recovery.

Our holistic approach addresses the mental, physical, and spiritual causes of addiction, and it also treats any co-occurring mental health disorders and addictions to other substances.

Our luxury residential treatment center includes nutritious chef-prepared meals, many amenities, activities like yoga and meditation, and outings throughout the area.

Our LGBTQ addiction treatment programs, which offer therapy in a safe and comfortable space for queer, bisexual, gay, lesbian, or questioning individuals, are specifically developed to treat the higher rates of addiction that these groups tend to face.

Available Treatment Options

Our multiple treatment options allow you to choose the level of care that’s best for you:

  • Medically supervised detox removes addictive substances from the body and helps you manage withdrawals safely with medication.
  • Our accredited residential program includes a daily schedule of counseling and educational sessions and therapies, which address the psychological aspect of addiction.
  • Individualized therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family counseling, and group sessions, which all help you heal yourself and your relationships.

Recovery from amyl nitrite or chemsex addiction is possible with the right treatment; contact us for more information today.

Adelante Recovery is here for you 24/7.

Adelante Recovery Center is here to help those that are battling drug and alcohol addiction. We are located in beautiful southern California and welcome those from across the country.

Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you today. We accept private insurance.

We want to help. Contact us today.

If you or a loved one are in need of help with addiction, contact us today. Our professional and friendly addiction specialists are able to answer your questions and get things moving in the right direction.