Risky Teen Behaviors

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Dr. Michele Borba on Oct 2, 2007 at 5:43PM

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The Choking Game

a Dr. Michele Borba on Oct 2, 2007 at 5:42PM

Many kids have started playing a game called the Choking Game, the Pass Out Game, Space Monkey or Black Out. They shut off oxygen flow to the brain by pressing their thumb or hand tightly on the neck; tying a rope, necktie, belt around their neck; hyperventilating by holding their breath; or putting a plastic bag over the head until they get a floaty, tingling or high sensation.

It can be "played" in a group in which children choke each other or apply pressure under a child's heart. It's also gaining in popularity as a solo venture. The activity is addicting and can lead to brain damage, permanent neurological disabilities and has been responsible for a large number of juvenile deaths.

Signs to Look For:
  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Changes in attitude (overly aggressive)

  • Disorientation or grogginess after being alone

  • Frequent often severe headaches

  • Inexplicable bruising or red marks around the neck

  • Ropes, plastic bags, or neckties tied in strange knots

  • Curiosity about asphyxiation

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