What is Chroming and Why is it So Dangerous?

Jun 2023 What is Chroming and Why is it So Dangerous?

In March 2023, a 13-year-old Australian girl died after participating in a TikTok trend called “chroming.” As news of this tragedy spread, parents throughout the world were horrified to learn that their own children may be at risk. In this post, we explain what chroming is, why it is so dangerous, and what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

What is Chroming?

Chroming is a relatively new term for a dangerous form of recreational substance abuse that people have been engaging in for decades. You may have previously heard it referred to as huffing, sniffing, bagging, or inhalant abuse. 

All of these terms refer to behaviors that involve inhaling the fumes of dangerous chemicals (or sometimes spraying the substances directly into one’s mouth or nose) for the purpose of achieving a brief high. Examples can include the following:

  • Spraying paint or aerosols into a paper or plastic bag, then inhaling the fumes
  • Sniffing glue, correction fluid, or similar substances straight from their original containers
  • Soaking a rag in a solvent, then placing the rag directly below the nose and breathing in deeply
  • Filling a balloon with nitrous oxide and sucking the gas in through your mouth

Various sources report that the word chroming began to be used by people who had been huffing chrome-based paint. 

Why Are People Suddenly Chroming?

As noted in the previous section, chroming is not a new behavior. But it appears to have received a boost in popularity due to the TikTok trend and the news reports of the tragic death in Australia. 

Videos about chroming continue to be added to TikTok, and discussions of the behavior have migrated to other social media platforms as well. Even though many of the more recent posts have emphasized the many potential dangers of chroming, the unfortunate truth is that this can actually be an enticement for some people. 

Boy chroming to get famous on social media

What Are the Side Effects and Dangers of Chroming?

Chroming can expose a person to considerable harm. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the following are examples of the many potential side effects and dangers of chroming: 

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Damage to the brain and central nervous system
  • Impaired hearing and vision
  • Problems with movement and coordination
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Respiratory distress
  • Harm to the reproductive system
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions

Can You Die From Chroming or Huffing Chemicals?

In addition to the potential dangers listed above, people who engage in chroming or huffing chemicals also put themselves at risk for sudden death. This can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Accidents while under the influence of chemicals
  • Suffocation
  • Choking on vomit
  • Cardiac arrest

Though not as sudden, chroming-related organ damage can also be fatal. There is no such thing as safe chroming or risk-free inhalant abuse. Whenever a person engages in this behavior, they risk devastating outcomes, including death.

What to Do if You Suspect Someone of Chroming

The severe effects of chroming underscore the importance of getting people the help they need to end their inhalant abuse. If you suspect that someone you know has been chroming, here are a few suggestions:

  • Educate yourself about chroming: By reading this post, you’re taking an important step in this direction. The more you learn about chroming and its effects, the better you will understand how your loved one is being impacted.
  • Research drug treatment options: We’ll discuss this topic in greater detail in the next section – but your goal here should be to identify the types and sources of professional care that can help your loved one stop chroming for good.
  • Talk to your loved one: Express your concerns about their behavior, tell them you’re worried about them, and let them know that you want to help. Most importantly, be sure they know that they have your support. 
  • Prepare for pushback: Your loved one may react with anger or even hostility when you bring up the topic of their chroming. Prepare yourself for this potential outcome so you can prevent the conversation from becoming an argument. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one away at a time when they may be in greatest need of compassion and support.
  • Listen to your loved one: Whether you are discussing your concerns or sharing information about treatment, remember that you should be participating in a conversation, not conducting a lecture. This is a valuable way to demonstrate to your loved one that you are on their side, and that you want to work together to address this problem.

What Kinds of Treatment Are There for People Addicted to Chroming?

If someone has become addicted to chroming or is unable to overcome the compulsion to abuse inhalants, there are several treatment options that can help them. 

One of the first important decisions is determining which level or levels of care are most appropriate. At Phoenix Rising Recovery, we offer the following:

Our treatment options also include 30- and 90-day rehab services, gender-specific programming for men and women, and specialized care for young adults, first responders, and military members. 

Depending on the scope of a patient’s needs and the program they are in, their treatment may include elements such as:

The members of our treatment team work closely with each patient to determine which programs and services will best prepare them to end their inhalant abuse and live a healthier life.

Contact Our California Addiction Treatment Center Today

Phoenix Rising Recovery provides customized care and comprehensive support for people whose lives have been derailed by chroming and other forms of compulsive substance abuse. To learn more about how we can help, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.