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parenting teens, moody teen, school problems, adhd, teen and drugs, help for teensparenting teens, moody teen, school problems, adhd, teen and drugs, help for teens
parenting teens, moody teen, school problems, adhd, teen and drugs, help for teens

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Teen Topics You NEED to Know About

The Choking Game
By Dr. Lisa Boesky, Author of When to Worry—How to Tell if Your Teen Needs Help and What to Do About It

The "Choking Game" typically involves children and adolescents cutting off each other's circulation by choking, strangling, or suffocating their friends until they pass out. The goal is to stop oxygen/blood flow to the brain until a youth goes limp or passes out.

This is usually accomplished by having someone press their thumbs against the victim's carotid artery, holding a belt or rope around their neck, or the victim holding their breath while someone presses their chest/heart against a wall. Once the victim passes out, their friend lets go and releases the pressure. There are a few seconds of tingling and euphoria as teens gain consciousness.

Young people enjoy 1) the light-headedness of reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain 2) the intense tingling sensation associated with removal of pressure on the neck as blood and oxygen quickly and powerfully surge to the brain. Some children and adolescents engage in the behavior with their friends for hours, often with parents in the very next room.

This behavior is most common among youth between nine and fourteen years old; they learn about it from classmates or the internet. Most young people believe the Choking Game is a fun and legal high without drugs; they are rarely aware of the dangers. Some teens become so addicted to the "high" they play the game alone—using belts, ties, ropes, or dog leashes to choke, strangle, or suffocate themselves. This is particularly dangerous because friends are not around to ensure the victims wake up from passing out and there is no one around to get help. Parents have found their children hanging in the closet with a belt or tie around their neck.

When airflow has been restricted for too long, teens have suffered brain damage from playing the Choking Game, and others have died. Some of these deaths have been mistakenly classified as suicides, but these youth are not trying to kill themselves.

This behavior is sometimes referred to as the Pass Out Game, Tingling Game, Blackout Game, Fainting Game, Space Cowboy, or Space Monkey.

Note: This dangerous game is not limited to young people with major problems or mental health disorders; it is often played by typical children and adolescents seeking excitement and fun.

YouTube Click the links below to watch teens playing the “Choking Game”  (please watch the whole thing)

WORRY SIGNS: Is Your Teen Playing The “Choking Game?”
Because this behavior is easy to hide from adults, parents must be vigilant to potential warning signs:

Unusual or suspicious marks on the side of the neck (sometimes intentionally hidden with clothing or thick jewelry)

Frequent and intense headaches

Bloodshot eyes

Increased irritability or aggression

Sudden problems with concentration

Thud-type noises coming from a bedroom

Questions about the effects or dangers of choking or being strangled

Belts, ropes, ties, leashes, with atypical knots or tied to furniture or closet poles.

Parents and professionals should educate teens about the dangers of this behavior just as they would alcohol and other drugs.


Cigarettes: Should Parents Worry?
Many parents worry about alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. However, they also need to be concerned if their teen smokes cigarettes.

Teens who smoke cigarettes are 14 times more likely to try marijuana than teens who do not smoke cigarettes

Among teens who admit to having tried marijuana, those who do not smoke cigarettes are more likely to have tried marijuana only one time

Teens who have tried marijuana and are current cigarette smokers are 60% more likely to be repeat (verus “one-time”) marijuana users.

Teens who are current cigarette smokers are 6 times more likely to report they can buy marijuana in an hour or less than those who have never smoked cigarettes.

Fifty-five percent of teens who are current cigarette smokers report more than 50% of their friends use marijuana. This is compared to only 3% of teens who have never smoked cigarettes.

Among teens who are repeat marijuana users, 60% tried cigarettes first.

77% of teens believe that a teen who smokes cigarettes is more likely to use marijuana.

*Report on Teen Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, September 2003

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