The Choking Game is a thrill-seeking behavior in which forced asphyxiation is used as a means of creating the sensation of being high without taking drugs. This feeling is achieved by applying pressure to the neck with the use of hands or ligatures that restrict oxygen flow to the brain, or by putting pressure on the chest after hyperventilating. Participants’ describe experiencing a brief feeling of euphoria before they lose consciousness and again when the blood surges back to the brain when consciousness is regained.

The Choking Game seems to begin in groups, with some individuals later engaging in this behavior alone, which significantly raises the risk of unintentional death or disability. Recently, an increase in deaths associated with solo participation has been reported, but this may be in part due to better classification of cases previously misidentified as suicides. Several case reports have been published that describe unintentional deaths resulting from engagement in this activity while alone. Videos of the Choking Game are also widely available on the internet and demonstrate various methods for engaging in this behavior both in groups and while alone.


There have been many deaths, as well as serious injuries that include seizures, fractures, heart attacks, stroke, and brain injuries ranging from subtle cognitive impairment to persistent vegetative states as a result of this activity. The biggest risk is that it takes less than 10 seconds to pass out and only 2 minutes for permanent damage to occur. Once it starts it can’t be stopped. It truly is a game of roulette.


Kids play the game for a wide variety of reasons. The choking game provides a free and legal high which makes it accessible to anyone and everyone. Common misconceptions are that there is no real danger and that it is significantly safer than drugs. This is definitely NOT true. After children try it, they run the risk of becoming addicted to the high. When a child starts playing alone – when most fatalities occur – it is clear the child is struggling with a very serious addiction.


  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Wanting a lot of alone time or spending a lot of time in their room
  • Marks on the neck
  • Wearing high-necked shirts — even in warm weather
  • Frequent, severe headaches
  • Disorientation after spending time alone
  • Increased and uncharacteristic irritability or hostility
  • Ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs, or knotted on the floor
  • The unexplained presence of dog leashes, choke collars, bungee cords, etc.
  • Pinpoint bleeding spots (known as petechiae) under the skin of the face, especially the eyelids, or the lining of the eyelids and eyes
  • Discussion or curiosity about the Choking “Game”


  • Talk to your child about the choking game in the same way that you would talk to them about drug or alcohol concerns.
  • Ask your pediatrician to talk to your child about this issue during well-child visits
  • Ask your school board and principal to include warnings about this activity in their “D.A.R.E.”
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs


  • 5 Minutes of Heaven
  • Airplaning
  • America Dreaming
  • Black Out
  • Black Hole
  • California High
  • Choke Out
  • Cloud Nine
  • Flat Liner
  • Funky Chicken

  • Hangman
  • Harvey Wall Banger
  • High Riser
  • Hyperventilating
  • Knock-Out
  • Lions and Tigers
  • Natural High
  • Purple Dragon
  • Rising Sun
  • Rush

  • Sleeping Game
  • Sleeper Hold
  • Snuff
  • Something Dreaming
  • Space Cowboy
  • Space Monkey
  • Speed Dreaming
  • Suffocation Roulette
  • Twitching Game