What Is Poppers Addiction?

What is poppers addiction? Read on to learn more about poppers addiction, its use, and how Soledad House can help.

Table of Contents

What Are Poppers?

Poppers are a liquid drug that can be inhaled to provide an instant high. They are also known as amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate, and liquid gold. They produce a variety of sensations, including dizziness, warmness, boosted heart rate, and headaches. Additionally, taking poppers leads to a risk of developing a poppers addiction, which may require medical intervention and professional treatment.

Poppers Addiction

What Are Poppers Used For?

Poppers are commonly used recreationally for their euphoric effects. They can also be used as a sexual enhancer as they relax the anal muscles. They are also sometimes marketed commercially as room deodorizers or leather cleaners.

Types of Harmful Chemicals Used in Poppers

Poppers dangers are due to the poppers ingredients they contain. These include:1

  • Amyl Nitrate: Amyl nitrate poppers are commonly prescribed to treat angina attacks. However, their ability to relax blood vessels and increase blood and oxygen to the heart makes them dangerous for people without a prescription. They also cause unpleasant side effects.
  • Butyl Nitrate: Butyl nitrate is a vasodilator often used for recreational purposes. It is known to cause tumors, conjunctivitis, and corneal opacification.2
  • Isobutyl Nitrite: This chemical is known to interfere with the body’s ability to carry red blood cells and oxygen to tissues. It can also cause retinal damage.
  • Isopropyl Nitrite: Isopropyl nitrite has been known to cause retinal damage.

Are Poppers Dangerous?

Poppers’ dangers are many. They can change heart rhythms. They also cause the body to produce too much methemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells. These effects make them potentially fatal. The drugs can also lead to poppers brain damage and poppers eye damage. They can lead to risky sexual behavior, which increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. They are particularly dangerous when mixed with certain poppers erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis. Poppers use can lead to poppers addiction as well, only further increasing the aforementioned risks.

Are Poppers Legal?

If you are wondering, are poppers drugs legal? Yes, they are. They can be found on various websites for purchase. However, steps are being taken to keep poppers usage under control. The FDA has issued a warning to consumers not to buy poppers. It is also illegal for businesses to sell them for human consumption in accordance with the Medicines Act 1968.3

What Do Poppers Do to the Body and Brain?

Poppers cause the body to produce too much methemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells. It also produces rapid and irregular heart rhythms. It causes blood pressure to drop, causing headaches and dizziness. Studies show that the chemicals in poppers bad for the brain, causing difficulties with learning and memory. Poppers can alter the brain’s chemistry in a way that they have the potential to lead to poppers addiction as well, furthering the challenges inevitably associated with their use.4

How Long Does a Poppers High Last?

Poppers’ effects wear off in seconds or minutes. 

Dangers of Poppers Addiction

Poppers are not safe to consume; they can lead to a variety of harmful conditions. Potential dangers of poppers addiction will be detailed below.

Chemical Burns

Poppers are highly flammable and can cause chemical burns

Eye Damage

Studies have shown that poppers can damage the retina and cause ocular clouding.

Medication Interactions

Poppers are particularly dangerous when mixed with erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra or Cialis.

High-Risk Situations

People who take the poppers drug are more likely to engage in risky sexual activity that increases the likelihood of STDs.


Poppers drugs cause the body to produce an excess of methemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells. This can lead to a potentially fatal condition called methemoglobinemia.

Poppers Side Effects

Poppers drugs effects include the following: 

  • A Quick Drop in Blood Pressure Due to Vasodilation: Poppers dilate the blood vessels causing a rapid drop in blood pressure leading to lightheadedness and dizziness.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Poppers drug increases heart rate and can be extremely dangerous in this capacity. 
  • Warm Sensation Throughout the Body: Poppers produce a warm sensation throughout the body. 
  • Euphoria: Poppers drugs cause a temporary sense of euphoria; this is what makes them so appealing and addictive, despite their negative impacts.

What Are the Risks of Using Poppers?

There are many risks associated with using poppers. These will be detailed further below.

Short-Term Risks

Listed below are the short-term risks of using poppers:

  • Dizziness and Headaches: Poppers dilate the blood vessels causing lightheadedness, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Low Blood Pressure: The vasodilation causes the bloodstream to relax, lowering blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels.
  • Elevated Body Temperature: When blood vessels dilate, blood pressure drops, and heart rate and blood flow increase causing a rise in body temperature.
  • Trouble Breathing: The strong chemicals in various popper types cause respiratory complications such as breathing difficulty.
  • Blood Oxygen Problems: Poppers relax blood vessels, increasing blood and oxygen supply to the heart, sometimes to unsafe levels.

Long-Term Risks

Listed below are the long-term risks of poppers use or poppers addiction:

  • Red Blood Cell Damage: If methemoglobinemia occurs due to poppers causing an increase in methemoglobin, it can permanently damage red blood cells.
  • Poor Immune System Functioning: Studies show that isobutyl nitrate suppresses the immune system allowing for bacterial growth in the lungs, which can affect the lymph node’s ability to respond to antigen stimulation.5
  • Damage to the Heart, Liver, Kidneys, and Lungs: Extreme poppers affect heart rate and blood flow, potentially damaging the heart. The rush poppers chemicals can irritate and damage the lungs and respiratory system. They are also known to cause liver toxicity and kidney failure.

How Soledad Can Help Reduce Poppers Usage

If you use poppers often, you will likely develop a poppers addiction. Rehab can help by addressing the underlying cause of your dependency issues.

Soledad House

Soledad House is a recovery home for women located in beautiful San Diego, California. We offer treatment for all types of substance abuse issues. We use a dual diagnosis approach that addresses addiction and its underlying cause. We can also suggest a safe alternative to poppers. Don’t let poppers addiction or any other drug reduce your quality of life. Contact Soledad House today. We will get you on a path to happier, healthier living.