Nitrous Oxide

Gabby Frederick

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What is it?

Nitrous-Oxide is a gas used to sedate and numb the user. It is used by dentists and is referred to as “laughing gas”. If abused, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death. It is very effective in dentistry, as well as automobile racing. It only takes 20 seconds to travel to the brain. From there, pain and anxiety dissipates in about 2-3 minutes, and the patient is calm and comfortable. It is a colorless gas, often with a sweet odor and taste. Nitrous-Oxide is a combination of oxygen and nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can result in death, so when it is used by dentists it is approximately, 70% oxygen and 30% Nitrogen.


Important Information

Nitrous Oxide is also referred to as laughing gas, gas, whippets, nitrous, and blue bottle. It is always inhaled. It sedates the user and makes them a little bit “out of it”. It not permanent, how ever, as you awaken after a few minutes. The doctor, or dentist is in complete control in a medical environment, but if you take on your own, you are at risk of unconsciousness or suffocation.


Side Effects

Some long term effects consist of loss of motor control, tingling in extremities, paresthesias(no pain or sense of touch), weakened immune system, reproductive problems and vascular diseases. Beyond that, it Depletes body of B12 vitamins, which can lead to brain and nerve damage. Short term effects consist of nausea, headaches, vomiting, glassy eyes, muscle weakness, slurred speech, and giggling. These side effects last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.


Mental and Physical Effects

Psychological Effects: Nitrous Oxide makes the user feel euphoric, and like they are floating. There is a sense of confusion, and giddiness. Also, dizziness, and slurred speech can occur, further impairing the mind. The Central Nervous System is depressed, as well as the activity of neurotransmitters.

Physiological Effects: One of the most severe effects is the weakened immune system. With this side-effect, you are susceptible to more diseases. Also, with an increased tolerance for pain, there is also an increased chance for injury. This desire to feel invincible, truly can take a toll on the body.


Dependence

The user very easily becomes dependent on the inhalant. There is always a desire for another dose, as the effects are temporary. Eventually, the nitrous oxide becomes so demanding that the user’s personality deteriorates, and their family and friends has no idea who they are. There is no real physical desire, other than the fact that it makes the user feel invincible.


Myth

A common misconception is that Nitrous Oxide makes the user forget everything that had recently happened. This, however, is not true. Nitrous Oxide is not used for heavy sleep or sedation, but is purely meant for brief calming and comfort. The patient is able to function and respond to the dentist, or who ever else is trying to communicate with them. Over all, Nitrous Oxide will relax the mind, but not impair it.


Sgt. Jeff Williams PSA I