The Choking Game is a dangerous new trend where teens and pre-teens attempt to get a sense of euphoria by cutting off their intake of oxygen. However, the Choking Game is certainly no “game.” This is a dangerous activity which has already resulted in many tragic deaths.
What is The Choking Game?
According to the website, Erik’s Cause:
It Is Not A Game! The physical goal of this activity is to restrict cerebral blood flow to the point of nearly or actually passing out for a variety of reasons including curiosity, competition, dare, and/or to experience an altered state. This is accomplished by a variety of methods, the most popular being:
compression of the carotid arteries using hands or a ligature;
compression to the chest after hyperventilation;
competition or dare to see who can resist passing out the longest under a choke hold (e.g., tap-out or submission holds typically used in mixed martial arts).
Why is The Choking Game so Dangerous?
According to the website, Erik’s Cause:
What kids do not know is that maintaining one of these techniques may accidentally cause death or injury. Many kids also try this “game” alone by using a ligature (causing the majority of deaths). Since they don’t know when they’re actually going to faint – they black out resulting in accidental asphyxiation. It kills faster than drugs! It is never safe!
Kids can become addicted to the choking game because of the euphoria they experience – not realizing that their brain is slowly dying. The euphoria occurs in two steps (i) when pressure is applied (as blood carrying oxygen decreases) causing a lightheaded dizzy sensation; and then (ii) when pressure is released (as blood carrying oxygen floods the brain) causing a “rush” sensation. The rush only lasts momentarily so kids continue to do it – they don’t realize the potential for brain damage, injury and death.
Statistics about The Choking Game:
A recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study analyzed 82 probable Choking Game deaths nationwide over a period of 12 years. This is what they found:
The average age of kids who died was 13
Those who died ranged in age from 6-19
The majority of kids were playing the game alone when they died, even if they first played it with a group of friends.
Boys made up 87% of those who died from this “game”
Most of the parents (93%) said they hadn’t heard of the Choking Game until their child died
How to Prevent Injury and Death from the Choking Game:
Knowing the very serious risks of this “game” is key. With The Choking Game, there is no learning curve – you can die the first time you try it. And those who don’t die after trying it often try to push themselves further to the point where they finally do cause severe brain injury or death. Some pre-teens and teens are under the impression that The Choking Game is safer than doing drugs – but this is absolutely not true. The risks are just as high, if not higher than certain types of drugs.
If someone asks you to participate in The Choking Game, say “no” and let that person know you don’t want to be one of the many kids who ends up dying from this. If a friend wants to try it, do everything you can to talk them out of it. If you can’t talk them out of, fake being sick and say you need to go home or come up with some other distraction to get both of you away from the situation. If you know that kids at your school are participating in The Choking Game, tell a staff member at school right away so that they can take steps to intervene. If you uncomfortable being the one to tell a school staff member, you can always write an anonymous note providing whatever information you can that will help them to intervene.
Teens often abuse prescription drugs because of the myth that these drugs provide a medically safe high.
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Statistics show that giving a teen a credit card does not teach them to be financially responsible or to encourage self-restraint, but actually promotes a “spend now and deal with the consequences later” mindset.
Girls are more likely to intentionally abuse prescription drugs than boys.
The reality of excessive interest rates and fees that often accompany credit card use for teens, can put youngsters in a position where they are losing out on admission to graduate school, getting a job, or renting an apartment because of damaged credit history.
Less than 33% of teens with depression get help, yet 80% of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help from a doctor or therapist.
Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6-33, and about 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.
About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.
30% of teens with depression also have a substance abuse problem.
Freshmen bring an average of $1,585.00 in credit card debt to college.
About a third of women who seek services related to unprotected sex, such as pregnancy testing or emergency contraception, do not receive STD counseling, testing, or treatment.
7-10% of college students will drop out of school because of credit problems.
Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Most smokers begin smoking as teens, and the average age of initiation is 12.5 years of age.
People with manic symptoms and Bipolar Disorder II are at a significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group.
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is the highest of any industrialized democracy, nearly twice that of Great Britain and 10 times that of Japan. 4
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use, and male high school students are more likely than female students to rarely or never wear seat belts.
A national study of women ages 15-44 found that women were almost twice as likely to receive contraceptive services rather than STD services.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. is at its lowest level in thirty years, down 36% since its peak in 1990. Research suggests that both increased abstinence and positive changes in contraceptive practice are responsible these recent declines in teen pregnancy.
A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. 8
In the United States, at least 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders. 11
Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 38% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds overall. 16
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. 22
One in four teenage girls in the U.S. had at least one common sexually transmitted disease.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths ages 15 to 20. 19
The highest Chlamydia rates occurred among women ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24.
About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. 25
Each year, half of all HIV infections are among people under the age of 25.
Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.
One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes. 23
Teen girls ages 15-19 have the highest Gonorrhea rate of any age group.
The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16-19 is more than one and half times that of their female counterparts.
More than four in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 - nearly one million teen pregnancies a year 3
The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; the risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.
Underage drinking costs the U.S. more than $58 billion every year; enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.
At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Teens who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and sexual assault, have serious problems in school, be involved in drinking-related traffic crashes, and develop problems with alcohol later in life.
Nearly all the poison deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drugs, and most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.
Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
Persons aged 15-24, who represent only 14% of the U.S. population, account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) among females.
Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug, behind marijuana.