Hold ur breath & die?

Hi everyone! This site is so cool, this is my first message after reading like every question that’s on this site I had one of my own. Can someone kill themself by holding there own breath? If someone knows this please reply…thanks a bunch buh bye!

IANAD, nor have I investigated, but my understanding has always been that at some point in the breath-holding process, you pass out. You then lose conscious control of your body, and it begins breathing again. In other words, no, I don’t think you can kill yourself by holding your breath.

Nope. The worst that could happen is that you lose conciousness. Once that happens, your body’s autonomous nervous system takes over, and you start breathing normally again. Even this is unlikely, since the urge to breathe will become stronger and stronger as your oxygen levels deplete until it’s overwhelming, so you’ll probably just have to take a breath, unless you’ve got uncommonly strong willpower. Of course, you could hit your head when you pass out and die that way, but that’s not what you meant, is it?

Everything I’ve read agrees with the previous answers. I’ve also read that if you do manage to force yourself to pass out, you’ll wake up later with one heck of a headache.

There is one rare, genetic exception. Its a condition called Ondean’s curse. The respiratory center in the brain doesn’t recieve the necessary signal to breath. Normally, when CO2 increases, the brain tells the respiratory system to get busy. In Ondean’s curse, that comunication malfunctions. People that have it have to have a breathing tube in their neck (a tracheostomy) and be hooked up to a ventilator whenever they go to sleep. While they’re awake, they have to make the effort consciously. Its diagnosed at birth.

Sorry, I spelled it wrong. ItsOndine’s Curse

Now if you could just get your URL right :wink:

Is this what you were trying to link to?

Nope - that’s plain old garden-variety sleep apnea.

picunurse is talking about a problem where the sufferer must consciously remember to breathe 24/7 because they won’t, otherwise. I hadn’t know what it was called, but my mother knows a teenager with this condition. If he’s too focused on something he’s doing, such as getting engrossed in a good book, he’ll sometimes forget and start to pass out. His family is helping him lead as normal and active a life as possible, but it’ll only get harder as he grows up. Apparently he wants to play football this year, and the answer’s pretty much going to have to be no. It truly is a curse.

Just lost a 20-year-old local who drowned while in a breath holding contest in a backyard pool; under for just more than a minute; youthful vigorous fellow who played football for Villanova U. So I guess it depends on where one depends to hold their breath. Was number 73 look for it on his teammates jerseys this fall. Tragic story :frowning:

IIRC, isn’t brain damage a possible risk of this too? If you pass out from holding your breath, can it (rarely) cause brain damage, or at the very least injury in some cases?

Just in passing, let me mention that the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope (lantern in the daytime looking for a virtuous man, asking Alexander to stop blocking the sunlight, etc.) was claimed to have died this way.

Of course, a carefully documented videotape of the event with an accompanying autopsy is not available… :wink:

That was very strange. The link I copied was Medline. Thanks for the save. :slight_smile: