When 13-year-old Esra Haynes‘ parents dropped her off at a sleepover on a Friday night, it would be the last time she’d ever speak to them. Within hours, Esra’s heart would stop beating, sending her into cardiac arrest.
Regrettably, a significant number of teenagers, like Esra, will become victims of the social media challenge called “chroming,” placing them at risk of severe, life-threatening health issues or permanent damage.
In this article, we’ll take a look at this social media challenge gone wrong and just how dangerous it is.
What is Chroming?
Chroming involves inhaling aerosol products or other toxic chemicals for the purpose of getting a temporary high.
The most frequently used substances for chroming include:
- Spray paint
- Household cleaners
- Bug spray
- Nail polish
- Permanent markers
- Lighter fuel
While this is a decades-old fad, it has reemerged due to trending social media challenges, mostly among adolescents seeking a cheap and easily accessible way to experience euphoria or altered sensations.
Dangerous Side Effects of Chroming
It cannot be stressed enough that chroming offers no medicinal benefits whatsoever. The damage caused by chroming is irreversible.
Because the high usually only lasts for a few minutes, some people continue chroming for hours to maintain the high. Tragically, the first attempt at chroming can result in death.
Once inhaled, substances will enter the bloodstream and reach the central nervous system within seconds. The short-term side effects of chroming will vary depending on the specific substances inhaled.
The most common short-term side effects include:
- Euphoria or altered states of consciousness
- Loss of motor function
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin irritation
- Coughing and shortness of breath
It’s important to emphasize that the intensity of these side effects can vary.
In addition to the short-term side effects, individuals who engage in chroming are always at risk of experiencing long-term and irreversible consequences as well.
The most common long-term side effects include:
- Permanent brain damage
- Heart failure
- Respiratory damage
- Bone marrow damage
- Loss of smell, taste, and hearing
- Muscle tremors
- Mood swings and suicidal thoughts
Recognizing the Signs of Chroming
It is of utmost importance for parents to be well-informed about the hazardous effects of chroming to proactively prevent unsuspecting individuals, especially children, from participating in this dangerous activity.
Symptoms to watch for may include sudden changes in behavior, impaired coordination, rapid decline in short-term memory, slurred speech, and a chemical smell on their breath.
If you suspect that a loved one has been involved in chroming, it is crucial to seek immediate assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
Are There Treatments for Chroming?
Due to the irreversible nature of chroming, medical treatments are limited to managing symptoms and preventing further deterioration. This makes prevention and early intervention all the more critical in addressing the consequences of chroming.
However, if someone has engaged in chroming and is experiencing health issues or complications, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. Medical professionals can provide supportive care and can also offer counseling and addiction treatment services to address any underlying substance abuse issues.
Why is Chroming Popular?
Social media platforms have played a significant role in popularizing chroming, especially among adolescents who make up a substantial portion of social media users. This demographic may be particularly susceptible to peer pressure and have a general lack of awareness about the devastating consequences of chroming.
Moreover, the substances used in chroming are readily accessible and can be found in nearly every household, contributing to the ease with which adolescents can engage in this dangerous behavior.
Are Social Media Platforms Taking a Stand Against Chroming?
Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have community guidelines that discourage glorifying dangerous activities. Users are typically encouraged to report content that violates these guidelines, enabling the platform to take the necessary steps to remove such content.
Nevertheless, social media platforms often face significant challenges in their efforts to effectively police and monitor content.
When trends like chroming go viral, there are often limited options for damage control, as many users have already viewed the content before it can be identified and flagged for removal.
- 4 Reasons to Buy a Smart Air Quality Monitor Today (and Which Are Best)
- 8 Reasons to Buy a Smart Water Bottle Today (And Which Are Best)
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Helitak430 / CC BY-SA 4.0 .