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Asphyxia Break Down and Common Causes

August 12th, 2014

Asphyxia Break Down and Common Causes


In light of the recent tragic passing of beloved actor Robin Williams (Robin Williams Wiki Page), the topic of asphyxiation has once again been brought into light. Claiming the lives of thousands of people every year, in today’s topic review Dr. Elist (About Dr. Elist) reviews what asphyxiation is, what are the causes and how can it be prevented.

Asphyxia Break Down

Asphyxia or Asphyxiation, in general terms, is deprivation of the body from vital Oxygen. Oxygen is a necessary for your body to function and deprivation of it for just a few seconds can lead to loss of consciousness, coma and even death. The means by which asphyxiation can occur are numerous and can be intentional or unintentional. Whether a blockage of the airway or an inability for the lungs to exchange oxygen, when oxygen becomes unavailable to your bodies tissues and organs, serious consequences can result.

Common Causes of Asphyxia



An unfortunate and common cause of asphyxia is drowning. As water fills the lungs and prevents oxygen and gas exchange, the brain’s necessary supply of oxygen is stopped and death can result. There have been horror story after horror story of infant drowning inside bathtubs in a mere 2 inches of water. It is estimated that every year over 100 cases of drowning will occur in bathtubs, with half of these infants under the age of 12 months of age. Most, if not all of these instances can be prevented with the proper supervision of an adult.

With children and adolescents, common causes of asphyxiation are drowning in pools, but a growing and quite disturbing trend as of recent years has been induced asphyxiation to achieve a feeling being “high.” Complaints from school administrators as well as concerned parents have been flooding the media to bring into light this trend where children as young as elementary school ages are participating in choking each other to the point of nearly passing out. Many instances go to far and have resulted in coma, permanent brain damage and death. Proper education about the dangers of asphyxiation and choking should be talked about with a parent or guardian to their children to address any issues or questions children or young adults may have.

Auto-Erotic Asphyxia

Auto-erotic asphyxiation has, as of late, has become an important concern amongst health care field. Defined as a restriction (often intentional) of oxygen to achieve sexual arousal (Healthy Sexual Relationship), it is a serious and deadly practice that claims the lives of countless individuals annually. Classified as a paraphilla by the American Psychiatric Association, if you or someone you know is suffering from Auto-erotic Asphyxiation, seek help immediately.

Asphyxia has long been a tragic means of suicide, asphyxiation has been sought as a means to commit suicide in, what is believed to be, a minimally painless manner. With the recent death of actor & comedian Robin Williams, it was found that he committed suicide using asphyxiation. With a long and open battle against depression, Mr. Williams silently used a belt to hang himself in his own home, while his wife slept in the next room. If you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, mental health issues or thoughts of suicide, please seek immediate help. There are multiple means to get help and no matter what events may be causing the feeling, help is only a phone call, mouse-click or email away.

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