It’s a “high without drugs”. In this “game” kids, and some adults, try to get a close to death as possible by shutting off oxygen to the brain for that “high”. Kids, most old enough to be considered to be young adults in many cultures, are playing this “game”, flirting with death. It kills; it has killed here in Lake County as it has elsewhere. How big a problem is it? No one knows, but I know some teens who have tried it (thank goodness/luck without fatal results).
The “high” comes from robbing the brain of its needed oxygen and then giving it back (if all goes as planned). Brain cells can’t store oxygen and survive only minutes without a continuous supply. These cells shut down/off before they die. That is something to recall with self-induced “choking”, because the brain will shut off very quickly, all too often before whatever is being used for self-strangulation can be released or undone.
With relatively minimal pressure the venous blood outflow from the brain is stopped (a point rarely mentioned in discussions on the topic). This results in back pressure into the brain. That back pressure can easily get high enough to stop blood flow into the brain (and happen very quickly), starving it of oxygen. This back flow will break small blood vessels (capillaries) scattered throughout the brain. [This is also responsible for the broken blood vessels (blood-shot, reddened) white part of the eyes that can be an outward sign that someone has been playing the choking “game”] These broken blood vessels damage and kill brain cells by blood leakage and disruption of local circulation. This back pressure also causes leakage of fluid from the blood vessels and that edema can impair circulation and kill brain cells. [Point to remember: dead brains cells do not come back, do not regrow.] Death can and does result from stopping venous outflow from the brain.
A bit more pressure on the neck shuts off Carotid arterial blood flow into the brain, cutting off the flow of oxygenated blood into the brain. Quickly, within a very few short moments, the brain shuts down and dies without the continuous flow of blood and oxygen into the brain.
The “high” someone gets from this “game” is the brain screaming for oxygen, pleading, not wanting to die. The odds really are stacked against the “player”. Some brain cells will die every time you “play”. The roulette part is the very real risk of “winning” death.