Lifetime’s new original TV movie, The Choking Game, is based on the Young Adult book “Choke” by Diana Lopez, a former middle school teacher who saw the disturbing “Choking Game” trend firsthand. The young woman in the movie (and book) learns the game of self-strangulation in order to get high. Slowing the blood flood to the brain is called cerebral hypoxia and it’s become a popular practice among young adults. It has led to thousands of deaths in the US–most of the victims have been 11-16 years old. 87% of the victims were boys. And nearly all of the children who died were playing the game alone when it killed them.
Another version of the choking game is erotic asphyxiation–trying to control breath for sexual arousal. According to the Journal of Forensic Sciences: “Estimates of the mortality rate of autoerotic asphyxia range from 250 to 1000 deaths per year in the United States.” It’s difficult to confirm the rate as it is often mistaken for suicide.