Damage from long term use of inhalants can slow or stop nerve cell activity in some parts of the brain.
This might happen in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that solves complex problems and plans ahead. Or if inhalants get into the brain's cerebellum, which controls movement and coordination, they can make someone move slowly or clumsily.
Studies show that neurons in a part of the brain called the hippocampus can also be damaged by inhalants. The damage occurs because the cells don't get enough oxygen.
Since the hippocampus helps control memory, someone who repeatedly uses inhalants may lose the ability to learn new things, may not recognize familiar things, or may have a hard time keeping track of simple conversations.