For adolescents, playing with their life and sexual exploration are very exciting. It may be hard to believe that teens participate in behavior that risks their lives, but it is becoming a problem that is occurring more often. It is largely due to the fact that they are confusing emotions with arousal, adventure, and a sense of invincibility.
Statistics show that Latino youth are most likely to attempt suicide. It is the third leading cause of death among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24. Girls are more likely to unsuccessfully attempt to commit suicide, while boys are four times more likely to commit suicide. This may be due to mistaking calculations while playing with death.
Unfortunately, many youth succeed when attempting to commit suicide. The few who are unsuccessful state that they regret trying to take their life when faced with difficulties in their lives.
Bright and intelligent students with promising futures also take their lives. In many cases, it is unclear whether they intended to commit suicide or whether they were experimenting with the limits of their lives.
We also know that many die by accident. There is a new trend to inhale cleaning supplies, such as computer cleaners or gas, instead of consuming drugs. Another trend is to hang oneself until consciousness is nearly lost, creating a feeling of excitement that is experienced when oxygen and blood start to circulate in the brain once again. Asphyxia may produce excitement and euphoria which is caused by the adrenaline that is released when the organism finds itself in a threatening situation. This may be a masochistic practice, where the combination of pain inflicted upon oneself and playing with extreme situations can create an excitement.
Some of these adolescents practice this trend to intensify an orgasm while they masturbate (autoerotic asphyxia). In other cases, youths practice erotic asphyxia in pairs, giving the responsibility of strangulation to their partner. The partner is supposed to know when the suppression of oxygen is to be stopped; however, in reality, both parties may be under the influence of their own emotional reactions, and may not stop in time. It may be too late when they notice that it was dangerous to partake in such activities, and instead of being an erotic activity it turns into a death accompanied by guilt of the survivor who did not stop choking their partner in time. Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, and a semi-hologynic stage is achieved. When combined with an orgasm, the effect is the same as cocaine, making it capable of creating dependency.
Death occurs when consciousness is lost due to partial asphyxia, causing the adolescent to lose control of the process of strangulation. The result is total asphyxia and death, or brain damage when oxygen does not reach the brain. The time that it takes to cause brain damage and asphyxia cannot be calculated.
There is documentation that exists regarding the state of erection and ejaculation produced by people who were hung in the 17th century. There is also data that this practice was introduced in the Middle East and introduced to Europeans by members of the French Foreign Legion upon their return from the war in Indochina. It should be understood that this biological reaction is the result of the muscles relaxing caused by death and not by the pleasure of death.
In clinical psychology, erotic asphyxia is present in individuals that excite themselves with non-conventional stimulus; it is considered a very dangerous form of masochism. It is estimated that between 100 and 250 of the deaths per year in the United States are due to erotic asphyxia, the majority of which are male adolescents. The biggest concern is that the numbers are increasing due to this trend.