Passing Out; Getting High? What is my sister doing?

Note: I don’t know how in-depth responses can get per the board’s regulations, but this is a serious concern and I need to find out some information about this. A google search yielded zero useful results as I’m not quite sure what to look for.

I’ve heard of a method where people can cause themselves to pass out for a few seconds, and as a result, feel “high” for a short while (no drugs or drug paraphernalia involved, to my knowledge). I believe it neccessitiates holding one’s breath and/or having someone push on a neck artery. I have suspciousions that my little sister has engaged in this activity on several occasions and I’m extremely concerned. What I need to know is what exactly (well, not exactly, I just need a general idea) are they doing, and is it harmful?

Thank you so much.

-Concerned brother

“Hyperventilation” is what you might want to search for.

Well, I know what hyperventilation, but I don’t think that’s what they were doing, then again, maybe so. Well, in any case, from the brief research I’ve done, it seems there’s no immediate danger. Sounds like a really stupid thing to be doing though.

What you describe your sister doing is a maneuver which causes the vagal nerve reflex to kick in, and cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. It often results in (usually) brief unconsciousness. It can be dangerous if the neck pressure is applied overzealously by another person. Also when one faints, one risks bashing one’s head. I don’t believe there are any studies which look for problems associated with long-term use of this odd habit, but frankly, I doubt it can really be good to starve your brain for oxygen on an episodic basis.

As for why it’s done; transient loss of consciousness has a dysphoric effect. That is, it makes one feel different. Not always in a good way, but definitely different.


Many thanks for the thorough response. I’m going to talk to her tonight (parents out of town) and hopefully set her straight. I tell ya, it’s one thing after another with her.

Duderdude2: I’ve heard of this activity. Maybe. Here in Florida, Ecstasy is a popular party drug. An activity associated with Ecstasy is called “passing out”. You can read a description of it
here . OTOH, you say your sister is not using drugs in connection with this activity. I hope you’re right.

Thanks,I hope I’m right too. I know she’s tried an least one other drugs before; I really wouldn’t be surprised if she’s tried ecstasy. I really hope not though.

Oh, and I just checked out that brilliant link trancefish. It describes pretty much what I think she’s doing, sans the drugs (which I may be wrong about anyway). I’m going to read that link to her tonight and make sure she gets it through her damn skull that what she’s doing is potentially dangerous.

Just wanted to relate that I used to do the hyperventilation thing as a kid and thought it was quite fun and produced an interesting sensation. That was until the day that I came to with the top of my head touching the front of the raised brick fireplace hearth. One more inch and I’d probably be a veggie right now. That was the last time I did it.

I had thought there was NO WAY I could possibly hit that hearth, or even come close. If nothing else, cracking her head open is a reason for her to stop.

How’d the talk go? What’d she say?


Well, she was upfront about everything. She mentioned it before even I did, alluding to the fact she was unaware of the danger she was placing herself in. I read to her the source linked to by trancefish to demonstrate that not everything her friends tell her is true. They had told her it was “harmless” and had “no side-effects”. Funny, that.

As for drugs, she’s clean for the most part, thank god. She apparently toked up with weed a few days ago, but I was expecting that. She claimed she’s done with it though, but I’ll keep a close eye on her.
Anyways, thanks for the help guys.

In high school I stumbled upon this effect by accident while telling friends a story about a weight-lifting match I had seen.

I mimicked the hyperventilation of the weight-lifter and then pretended to strain, hard, against an imaginary weight. I instantly grew lighthheaded and crumpled unconscious to the ground.

I woke what seemed like 15 minutes later with a tingling sensation in my teeth, face and head and with a swarm of vivid, dreamlike memories. – But in reality I was out for less than a second, so short a time that my friends couldn’t tell it wasn’t part of my story.

Being a teenager, I thought this was weird and kinda cool. Within the week probably 10 of my peers had done it. Then it was old news and no one ever did it again. No one ever got hurt and to my knowledge.

Uh, to my knowledge it never affected my ability to proofread.

I know you mentioned there are no drugs involved but it sounds very much like she is inhaling laughing gas, like you get at the dentists office. People inhale it and it produces a light headed feeling, some people pass out for brief periods of time. Is that a possibility? It is often kept in a baloon and passed around like a joint.

Thanks for your concern, but I believe what she told me (with skepticism, of course). She was quite sincere and told me everything I wanted an answer to.

That is interesting though, passing a balloon around like a joint. What will kids think of next? :wink:

I had this done once in HS, and when I came to I 1st felt like I was waking up in bed, funny how all my classmates were around me and standing on the wall. Few seconnd later I realized I was standing and they were holding me up.

I was plesant but never did it since.

You may find some useful information here and here.