Introduction of Whipits aka Whippets or Whippits
You know that canister of whipped cream in the fridge? Well, that is a health risk—not the whipped cream itself (unless you are watching your calories), of course, but it is the nitrous oxide booster that turns the contents into whipped cream that can cause serious harm to a young person hell bent on experiencing “whip-its.” Whip-its is just another variation of the dangerous inhalant craze among kids and teens, and understanding how they are abusing whip its can arm parents to be on the look out so they can take action.
It isn’t just teens who are in on this bizarre recreational drug experience. Actress Demi Moore was hospitalized at age 50 due to binging on nitrous oxide from industrial grade whipped cream chargers.
In the dental profession where nitrous is commonly used to aid patients during dental procedures, nitrous has been misused for centuries. In fact, dental associations have had to create treatment programs for dentists and hygienists who ended up addicted to the gas. Nitrous oxide abuse is also common among anesthesiologists.
As fringe as the practice of whip-it abuse may seem, more than 12 million Americans have fessed up to trying it, according to statistics reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Abusing nitrous oxide, whether is via a whipped cream canister, a booster, a helium tank, or a balloon, is a silly and potentially deadly, practice.
About WhipIts and Nitrous Oxide Abuse
The name “whip its” –also whippets or whippits—refers to getting high from sucking the nitrous oxide out of whipped cream canisters. The euphoric high and a sense of floating that results is caused by a loss of oxygen to the brain.
The broader use of the term, whip its, refers to any form of nitrous oxide abuse, including inhaling straight from the canisters of nitrous for filling helium balloons or the small nitrous whipped cream chargers used in restaurants. Also called “hippie crack,” “laughing gas,” “ballooning,” “noz,” and “chargers,” whip its are readily available at raves, dance clubs, rock concerts, and parties in balloon form.
Nitrous oxide is a colorless, non-flammable gas that has a sweet scent. It is used as an analgesic during medical procedures, such as dentistry or outpatient surgeries. Because the nitrous oxide canisters are legal to purchase for the legitimate purposes of blowing up balloons for a party, the gas is readily available. Likewise, any dairy case will offer a selection of whipped cream products. The individual abuses them in various ways, including:
Just like any other recreational drug of abuse, the more someone uses whip it’s the more likely they will develop a tolerance to the effects. As tolerance builds, someone may go from using one canister to 12 to 40 in a given day. Nitrous is not physically addicting, however, so there are not any withdrawal symptoms. But over time, the substance can cause serious health effects.
Health Dangers of Abusing Whipits
The “high” experienced by inhaling nitrous oxide is very brief, literally lasting only three minutes. For this reason, individuals desiring to produce a longer last effect will repeat the process of inhaling the vapors multiple times. The high is described as producing sensations of euphoria, lightheadedness, feeling uninhibited, and experiencing hallucinations. However, there are possible adverse effects to abusing nitrous oxide that include dizziness, loss of motor functions, dissociative effects, loss of inhibitions, and loss of consciousness.
Inhaling nitrous is extremely dangerous. An article published in Practical Neurology, “Whippits, nitrous oxide and the dangers of legal highs,” highlights three patient studies. These patients had used either straight nitrous oxide or whipped cream canisters seeking a recreational high, resulting in significant neurological disabilities.
Unlike its use in the medical or dental field where oxygen is added, straight nitrous oxide can cause serious health dangers. These dangers include:
Addiction Treatment for Whipits aka Whippits
Outpatient treatment programs are the most appropriate for someone with a problem with nitrous, unless there are other substance use disorders resulting in a poly-drug addiction. If not, an outpatient program is probably going to provide the appropriate level of care.
During outpatient treatment the individual will participate in a specified number of hours engaging in therapeutic activities. Outpatient rehab allows the individual to remain at home outside of treatment hours, providing the flexibility to continue to attend school or work. Treatment is available in various intensities, depending on the severity of the addiction.
Residential treatment programs are appropriate for those with a more serious whip it addiction, or for individuals who have a poly-drug addiction. A residential program provides housing for an extended stay at the treatment center. There will be round the clock support available, and a full schedule of daily therapeutic activities.
Addiction treatment generally includes the following treatment elements:
Using evidence-based models, the psychotherapist will assist the individual in making important chances in thought and behavior patterns that have resulted in a persistent addiction cycle.
Group counseling allows others also in treatment to share their personal experiences. Participants learn from each other, as well as form a trust bond that leads to the important peer support piece of treatment.
Family groups help improve the family dynamic, offer effect communication skills, and provide a forum that allows for honest sharing between family members.
Rehabs offer classes to help clients learn more about how substances of abuse can impact their brain functioning and general health. The classes also teach important recovery skills.
The mind-body connection is strengthened using adjunctive holistic activities, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, journaling, and art therapy.
Whipits Abuse and Addiction Treatment Programs
The Treatment Specialist is a resource center for individuals or their loved ones who are in need of addiction or mental health treatment. Abusing Whip its can have devastating long-term effects. The Treatment Specialist’s free service can connect you to the best treatment program for your or your teens unique needs and preferences.
By addressing the tendency toward addictive or compulsive behaviors head on, important changes can be made before there are serious health or emotional consequences. Parents who suspect their teen might be engaging in inhalant abuse or abusing whip its should contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.