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lgbt party pink jacket huffing poppers addiction

What are Poppers and Treatment for Popper Addiction

Poppers is a popular slang name for various chemically psychoactive drugs termed alkyl nitrites. Nicknames include “jungle juice,” “leather polish,” “anal relaxant,” or just “amyl.”

Amyl Nitrite was initially a prescription drug in 1937 and remained so until 1960, but then the FDA removed the prescription because it’s relatively safe. In 1969, however, it was reinstated as a prescription drug. You can buy substances with Amyl Nitrite at most sex shops that sell recreational drug paraphernalia. They may be purchased legally and are advertised as an air freshener, nail polish remover, or vinyl cleaner.

Treatment for poppers requires an understanding of their background, proper detoxification, and an outlined rehabilitation program.

How are Poppers Abused?

Poppers were first synthesized in 1844 by a French chemist who observed that they chemically relaxed, smooth muscles and dilated arteries. This led to its use as a remedy for a cardiac condition caused by low blood flow to the heart called “angina.”

Nowadays, sex shops sell small bottles under eye-catching tags.

Only 3 percent of the population uses poppers. Compared to the large percentage of American adults who report smoking marijuana in the past year, popper use isn’t that popular despite being legal. But that doesn´t mean that they are entirely harmless.

Are poppers bad for your health?

Once the initial rush is over, you will experience headaches that can last a few days if used heavily. Hot flushes, rashes around the lips and nose, nausea, dizziness, and chemical burns in the cheeks.

Ongoing amyl nitrate abuse can also cause long-term harm to health, including brain damage, heart disease, liver damage, and kidney failure. Permanent hearing loss; damage to bone marrow, impacting blood and immune system health; permanently slurred speech; and chronic physical tremors.

The chemical composition of the legal high ‘poppers’ is linked to retinal damage at the back of the eye. According to a British Journal of Ophthalmology report, isopropyl nitrite is linked with a form of eye damage known as Poppers Maculopathy”. The findings prompt the researchers to call for a reassessment of the harms associated with this recreational drug.

What do Poppers do?

The popper effect expands the blood vessels. When sniffing poppers, you will experience a head rush, which comes on almost immediately after sniffing them and can last 2 or 3 minutes. This high is caused by the opening of the body’s blood vessels and blood rushing to the brain.

Poppers are often used during sex as they enhance orgasm and increase the size of a man’s erection after sniffing the drug. However, other men have trouble getting an erection after sniffing them.

Perhaps more so than any other substance, the bodily sensation of an amyl high can be described as a rush. Blood surges to the head and the loins, and the brain swims with dizzy, throbbing vibrations. This can cause a sense of euphoria, increased sex drive, reduced inhibitions, skin sensitivity, and relaxation of the walls of the anus and vagina.

Side Effects of Poppers

Poppers increase the chance of tearing during sex, making it easier for HIV or Hep C to enter the bloodstream.

Long-term, frequent use of isobutyl nitrite may be associated with an increased risk of certain kinds of cancer. 

Methemoglobinemia is another rare but severe complication, which means the blood cannot carry oxygen. This happens when you swallow rather than inhale poppers

If a person is susceptible to glaucoma—a condition involving raised eye pressure—amyl can worsen. And if a person has heart or circulation problems, the unpredictable changes in blood pressure can cause them to become seriously unwell. And if a person is on treatment for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, poppers can also cause external blood pressure, leading to stroke. 

A long-term approach to popper abuse

Popper Addiction Rehabilitation


Dangers of Huffing Poppers

There seems to be a small but growing and worrisome trend among some gay American men. Often described as a new way to use poppers or as huffing poppers, in fact, the practice is simply inhaling organic solvents or propellants.

Availability of Poppers

“Poppers” have been used to enhance sexual experience through relaxing smooth muscle and its mild psychoactive effects. Since the 1980s, amyl nitrite has been restricted to medical uses in the United States and Europe, but a number of related alkyl nitrites continue to be available in legal or semi-legal form.

How do People Use Poppers

The current trend does not involve the conventional poppers, which are inhaled directly from a small bottle. The new huffing of solvents and propellants carries substantially greater risk both for death and for long-term neurocognitive damage than does the use of nitrite poppers. These new products now appear to be marketed toward or used by gay men, who may not recognize the difference between huffing solvents or propellants and the use of alkyl nitrite poppers.

Poppers and LGBTQ

Even addiction specialists and LGBTQ specialist clinicians often have little familiarity with the mechanism of these new poppers and often assume that they are more or less similar to other inhalants. Therefore, most physicians likely do not realize that huffing organic solvents represents a marked increase in health risks over alkyl nitrite poppers.

Medical Use of Poppers and Caution

Clinicians know very little about regular nitrite poppers. Most addiction textbooks barely even mention them, lumped in with sniffing glue and huffing aerosols, despite the difference in the physiologic. Bisexual and gay patients, on the other hand, have little exposure to huffing but tend to think of nitrite poppers as fairly benign. There’s a real risk here for [gay men] to be taking a much more harmful substance.

Partying with Poppers

Now, however, poppers have become more popularized, and some straight people use poppers recreationally (not for sex) at clubs too.
Problem with Poppers?

Popper Rehab in San Diego

At La Jolla Recovery, our clinicians are specifically trained to treat patients exhibiting potential huffing symptoms, such as cognitive impairment or neuropathy. We have assessed patients who mention using poppers, especially, albeit not exclusively, those among the LGBTQ communities. Using other substances or in conjunction should not be a reason not to begin outpatient treatment. Sometimes, the use of prescriptions may be a psychological factor to rationalize use. Still, if your use of poppers is concomitant to medications such as hydrocodone or oxycontin, it might be a good time to discuss the use disorder.

Treatment for Poppers in San Diego
Dangers of Mixing Poppers and Other Drugs

Popper Side Effects

Are you mixing drugs with alcohol, stressing the body’s vital organs? Combining alcohol with poppers increases the risk of reduced oxygen supply to vital organs. This compounded abuse of alcohol can cause unconsciousness and even death.

Poppers are commonly used in conjunction with other illegal drugs, including cannabiscocaine, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and hallucinogens, to increase the high. These and other so-called club drugs can lead to psychiatric problems and physiological conditions such as dehydration, heart strain, and overheating. People commonly inhale poppers through the nose. They use the inhalant to relax the sphincter during anal sex and recreationally as a party drug.

Legal Status of Poppers

Surprisingly, the use of Poppers is not covered under the ‘Government’ legal high ‘Psychoactive Substances Act. They have been used recreationally since the 1970s, and they’re labeled for other uses because it is illegal to advertise them for human consumption.   They are commonly sold in little brown bottles and are highly flammable. They have a very distinctive and robust solvent (paint thinner) smell.

Other Physical side effects of Popper use

The main short-term ones are lightheadedness/headache, occasional fainting, loss of inhibition, and the risk of chemical burns in the face.

They can cause a drop in blood pressure and previously caused deaths when used with erectile dysfunction medication.

Long-term side effects include eye damage or loss of eyesight. “Poppers Maculopathy” and extremely high doses can potentially lead to the fatal “methemoglobinemia,” where blood cannot carry oxygen to cells in the body (similar to what happens with Carbon Monoxide poisoning).

La Jolla Recovery can be a haven for your sober foundation. From pet-friendly spaces to accepting couples, let your life free from poppers and other substances be the journey to freedom you’ve sought.

GetPopper Treatment Today

Get Treatment for Poppers in San Diego Today & Begin Rehabilitation

Detoxification with clinical attention to the effects of poppers with a long-term approach to sobriety in California.

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