Sue Scheff: The Choking Game

The Choking Game is a very serious concern for parents and teens. If you are not familiar with this 'game' take a few minutes to learn more. G.A.S.P. - Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play website has some valuable information you can't afford to ignore.

What is the Choking Game?

It's not a game at all-just an act of suffocating on purpose.

Adolescents cut off the flow of blood to the brain, in exchange for a few seconds of feeling lightheaded. Some strangle themselves with a belt, a rope or their bare hands; others push on their chest or hyperventilate.

When they release the pressure, blood that was blocked up floods the brain all at once. This sets off a warm and fuzzy feeling, which is just the brain dying, thousands of cells at a time.

Why are kids doing this?

Some do it for the high, which can become addictive. Others do it because it's "cool" and risky. Most kids who have died from this were active, intelligent, stable children who thought this was a safe alternative to drugs and alcohol. Most children have no concept of their own mortality-they truly believe nothing can hurt them.

What are the warning signs?

•Any suspicious mark on the side of the neck, sometimes hidden by a turtleneck, scarf or permanently turned-up collar.

•Changes in personality, such as overtly aggressive or agitated.

•Any kind of strap, rope or belt lying around near the child for no clear reason-and attempts to elude questions about such objects.

•Headaches (sometimes excruciatingly bad ones), loss of concentration, flushed face.

•Bloodshot eyes or any other noticeable signs of eye stress.

•A thud in the bedroom or against a wall-meaning a fall in cases of solitary practice.

•Any questions about the effects, sensations or dangers of strangulation.

Learn more at G.A.S.P. and watch the one minute PSA. Be an educated parent - you will have a safer teen.

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