“Laughing gas” is the colloquial name for nitrous oxide, a gas composed of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The gas is colourless and smells sweet. It has an anaesthetic effect when consumed in larger quantities; it is often used in medical settings, such as hospitals and dentists.

Laughing gas gets its name due to the mood-enhancing sensations that it induces, laughing, giddiness and general tingling, which makes the body feel happy and euphoric in some cases.

Joseph Priestley discovered nitrous oxide in the 18th century. This substance is known to relieve anxiety and minimise feelings of pain. When used appropriately, it has no long-lasting or harmful effects on the body, but it can pose a problem when used long-term.

Most narcotic substances are prohibited for distribution and use. But the drug market is growing so fast new psychotropic drugs are often coming to the market. Nitrous oxide can be consumed through a type of canister of a balloon and is a very concentrated form of the substance. It is not mixed with oxygen when you receive it from a dentist.

Can You Become Addicted to Nitrous Oxide?

There are known cases of nitrous oxide addiction. It can become an issue, and if this occurs, drug rehabilitation must be implemented to remove the toxins from the body. Consuming nitrous oxide is very easy today.

First, it is easy to access without a quantity limit and very inexpensive. It is also a completely legal product, which has been diverted from its initial uses.

When consumed in larger and frequent quantities, it can create a euphoric feeling that stimulates many body parts. It can cause a change in the voice which lasts a few seconds and visual and auditory distortions. You may feel like you are floating or disassociated from your body.

Because of its short-term effects on the body, you can become addicted to nitrous oxide. As with any addiction, it can ruin many aspects of your life. Including your health, your career, your relationships, and finances.

Drug addiction, in general can be destructive for you, therefore it is vital to understand the key signs, as well as the risks, so you can make a personal judgement and seek the help you need.

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Risks of Using Nitrous Oxide

The risks are low to nil when consumed in a medical environment under strict observation. However, once consumption is becoming a regular occurrence, you may start to notice that there are symptoms that are affecting your life more often.

There are short-term and long-term effects, like any substance you consume. Therefore, it is good to be aware of the signs.

Short-term risks

In the short term, addiction to nitrous oxide may cause distorted perceptions and, in some cases, visual hallucinations. You may experience low blood pressure and fainting due to this. It can also cause nausea or diarrhoea in more extreme cases.

Medium-term risks

They may include memory loss, erectile dysfunction, mood disorders and paranoia. You may develop heart rhythm disorders, palpitations, dizziness, and continued low blood pressure when using.

Long-term risks

Nitrous oxide can disrupt the metabolism of vitamin 12, essential to producing myelin. It can also affect muscles and therefore create irreparable balance disorders and weakness. These long-term effects will also incorporate the other symptoms stated above.

If you have noticed any, it is crucial to speak with your GP or a referral scheme for rehabilitation as quickly as possible. Consuming any substance can lead to a fatal outcome.

It isn’t always easy to remove the addiction on your own. Thankfully, there are many different pathways to take, some of which we will discuss.

Do I Need to go to Rehab?

Going ‘cold turkey’ with addiction can cause potentially life-threatening side effects. This includes any type of addiction as everyone reacts and responds differently depending on their anatomy. That is why rehab is the preferred method, proven safe and effective.

It allows you to wean off any substance in a medical environment. It is the best possible solution for you; therefore, it should be considered if your symptoms are severe.

You should consider rehab for many numbers of reasons. To deal with the reason you’re addicted, to deal with traumas that have led you to this path, to help with anxiety and depression that may fuel addiction. It is also the best way to ensure you remain sober after the addiction.

Drug Addiction Treatments

There are many ways to overcome addiction safely. During private drug and alcohol rehab, most commonly known as inpatient rehab, you will have access to a comprehensive plan that focuses on your specific needs.

Your plan will be bespoke, and you can access the highest-rated treatments synonymous with success.

Some of the best available treatments today are:

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Detoxification
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Art/creative therapy
  • Aftercare plan

You can work through your issues with a professional and dedicated team when you enter rehab. Inpatient rehab will also offer you a chance to build community and network.

You can inspire others at the same time and learn how to help yourself and build a better future. Addiction is incredibly serious, and untreated addiction often continues to spiral. Take back control, call our team on 0800 880 7596 or contact us online. We are available 24/7, and our friendly team will assist you in every element of your rehab journey.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Robert Lutaaya - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 11, 2023

MBChB, MSc Psych

Dr Robert Lutaaya qualified in 1995 from Worclaw Medical University as MBChB, and obtained a MSc Psych from the University of Manchester in 2014. Dr Lutaaya has previously worked for the CGL Substance Misuse Service and as an on-call doctor substance misuse Doctor for 17 years before joining Ocean Recovery. Dr Robert Lutaaya is committed to helping those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.