Thursday, February 14, 2008

CDC: "Choking Game" Is Killing More U.S. Youth

More and more young people in the U.S. are dying of what's called the "choking game," the CDC has reported. Basically the game involves choking another person, or oneself, around the neck to achieve a state of euphoria or giddiness as a result of hypoxia (reduced blood flow to the brain).

The CDC said that between 1995 and 2007, at least 82 American children and adolescents died as a result of playing the choking game. The deaths were of young people between the ages of six and 19; the average of of the victims was a little over 13 years old. More than 95% of the deaths occurred while the victim was alone. The CDC announced the findings in its Feb 15th edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The choking game (which goes by other names including the "pass-out game" and "space monkey") is usually done by choking with the hands, but electric cords or other items can be used.

The CDC reports that between 1995 and 2004 the number of reported deaths from the choking game were no more than three per year. It's thought that the choking game has become more widespread because the Internet makes it easier for young people to learn about it, and to even view YouTube videos of other young people apparently feeling a "high" from doing it.

The choking game is similar to autoerotic asphyxiation, defined by the Columbia University health advice service Go Ask Alice as "cutting off the blood supply to the brain through self-applied suffocation methods while masturbating to orgasm." The site notes that besides the giddiness and lightheadedness of this practice, it can also give the person performing it a sense of danger that can increase his or her sexual pleasure.

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