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What Is Chroming? Everything You Need to Know

Young adults are the most likely age group to engage in a trend called chroming, or the recreational inhalation of toxic chemicals. There is much to know about this practice, including its dangers and signs that a person is participating in this form of substance abuse.

What Is Chroming?

Chroming is the term used to describe all forms of the inhalation of hydrocarbons, or vapors, by young adults in order to achieve a short term high.The term originated from the inhalation of metallic chrome-based paints, but is now used to refer to several substances. The forms of chroming are:

Bagging – The inhalation of vapors by spraying a substance like air freshener spray into a paper or plastic bag and inhaling them.

Huffing – The inhalation of vapors by soaking a fabric with a substance like gasoline.

Sniffing – The inhalation of vapors directly from a container, such as nail polish remover.

The practice results in a fleeting high of only a few minutes, after which the process of bagging, huffing, or sniffing must be repeated in order to continue the feeling of inebriation.

What Are the Dangers of Chroming?

Sudden sniffing death via heart attack and cardiac arrest is the main danger of engaging in chroming. However, death can also occur via:

  • Asphyxiation through oxygen displacement in the lungs
  • Suffocation by the blocking of air when bagging with a plastic bag
  • Fatal injuries accidents occurring due to impaired judgment while high
  • Choking and aspiration via vomit inhalation after chroming
  • Coma, when the body ceases all functions but the most vital
  • Seizures or convulsions due to the brain experiencing abnormal electrical discharges after chroming

Despite the above dangerous effects of chroming, it has remained popular. This is due to the circulation of “chroming challenges” on social media outlets like TikTok, where users post videos of themselves engaging in chroming under the term “WhipTok,” a term referring to the practice of nitrous oxide inhalation. Videos under this term have received nearly 500 million views.

Chroming has remained a popular trend for several reasons. The chemicals consumed in chroming are easily accessible in a multitude of inexpensive household products, including glues, hairsprays, and paint thinners. These products are also inconspicuous, which makes them harder to identify as the source of abuse by teachers, law enforcement, and parents.

As well, the technology responsible for the development of “selfie culture” has made it easy and popular to film and upload videos for consumption by a vast number of individuals in a short time. The false notion that getting high with household products is safer than using street drugs has experienced high circulation on social media.

It is for all of these reasons and more that the chroming trend is now more popular than ever, despite this practice’s many risks of serious and fatal consequences.

What Are the Signs Indicating That Someone Has Been Using Inhalants?

Identifying chroming can be difficult, due to the fact that the practice’s effects are far more fleeting than, say, those associated with alcohol use, and that so many products can be used to engage in the practice. However, the following signs can indicate that someone has been chroming:

  • A chemical odor on clothing or the breath
  • Paint, grease, or other stains on clothing, hands, and fingers
  • Possession of multiple bottles of glue, cleaning products, and other substances
  • Frequent nosebleeds or runny nose
  • Memory loss
  • Skin irritation or ulcers around the mouth and nose

Other signs of chroming include:

  • Poor concentration
  • Decline in performance at school or work
  • Tiredness
  • Apathy
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Poor grooming habits and hygiene

Long-Term Side Effects

Thoughtful man

The act of chroming requires repeated exposure to concentrated chemicals in a single session to experience a high of more than a few minutes. Therefore, repeated multiple sessions over time can cause a number of serious health effects.

Huffing, bagging, and sniffing can all lead to cognitive impairment as the result of slowed brain activity. The concentrated chemicals in aerosols, paint, and similar products can also lead to serious impairment and irreversible damage to major organs including the kidneys, lungs, and brain. Permanent neurological damage can also occur.

Any pre-existing mental and physical conditions can be exacerbated by the long-term inhalation of chemicals.

Finding Help

The inhalation of highly concentrated sprays or solvents can not only lead to sudden death, but also to many dangerous effects that can lead to death. Inhalation of these chemicals over a long period of time can lead to lasting impairments to respiratory, digestive, neurological and cognitive systems, and can also worsen pre-existing conditions like mental illness.

If you are a parent who is concerned about the dangers and effects of chroming, and you suspect that your child is engaging in the practice, help is available.

Complete Addiction Treatment in a Safe and Supportive Environment

Adelante Recovery Center is a full-service, family-owned residential inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in Orange County. Beginning with medically supervised detox, the addictive substance is removed from the body and the effects are mitigated by medication.

Once detox is complete, residential inpatient treatment is the next phase for most clients. Residential inpatient treatment involves living with others who are also receiving treatment for their addictions and attending group and individual therapy sessions.

Various 12-step meetings, exercise, and healthy-eating programs and holistic treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy are also parts of residential inpatient treatment that address addiction on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels.

Residential treatment offers the most support with a structured setting and 24-hour care. Clients can immerse themselves in the recovery process without outside influences.

If you have a loved one who is ready to overcome addiction and start their journey to a healthier life, Adelante Recovery Centers can help. Contact us any time to speak with an admissions counselor: (949) 427-9099.

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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.

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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.