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Inhalant-Related Disorders

  1. Li-Tzy Wu1,
  2. Christopher L. Ringwalt2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0442

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Wu, L.-T. and Ringwalt, C. L. 2010. Inhalant-Related Disorders. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Duke University Medical Center

  2. 2

    Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Chapel Hill, NC

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Inhalant use is the deliberate ingestion of volatile substances, via a number of methods: (1) “sniffing” or “snorting” fumes from containers; (2) spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth; (3) “bagging”—sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or deposited inside a plastic or paper bag; (4) “huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth; or (5) inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide in order to induce a psychoactive or mind-altering effect (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2005). It constitutes an important public health concern worldwide, particularly among adolescents and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Inhalants that are commonly used by adolescents include glue, shoe polish, toluene, gasoline, lighter fluid, spray paints, correction fluid, degreaser, nitrous oxide, and whippets (Wu, Pilowsky, & Schlenger, 2004). In contrast, adult inhalant users are likely to use nitrous oxide, whippets, amyl nitrite, poppers, and rush (Wu & Ringwalt, 2006). Adolescents also tend to use more types of inhalants and have a more frequent pattern of use than do adults (Wu et al., 2004; Wu & Ringwalt, 2006).


  • epidemiology;
  • inhalant use disorders;
  • comorbidity