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Anti-anxiety meds

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine Q&A' started by Jim Webb, May 5, 2021.

  1. Jim Webb

    Jim Webb New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Miami
    4
    3
    In my short time diving I (sometimes) (rarely) find myself a bit anxious. This passes quickly and I've never (ever) felt as though I would panic and do something stupid.

    I take a common anti-anxiety medicine in very small doses in everyday life but haven't done so while diving yet.

    Question: does anyone take anti anxiety meds when diving?

    Before people get upset. I am not a risk taker, I always dive with a group and I rarely find myself below 40ft in depth.

    I'm just thinking my (prescribed) meds might help me relax and enjoy the dive more.
     
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Tech Instructor / Captain ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Livonia, MI
    603
    309
    My wife does. She spoke with her doctor before she started diving, her doc saw no reason for complication. In the last decade of fairly frequent diving, she hasn't seen any side effects from it.
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  3. CuzzA

    CuzzA Percoidea Wetwork for Hire ScubaBoard Supporter

    18,986
    33,101
    I am not a doctor, and that is who you should be asking the question to.

    That said, anxiety for new divers, especially those who are past the invincible age is common and often passes with experience. My understanding is these meds generally slow you down so you may have reduced motor function and decision making, but 40 ft reef dives in good viz are about as benign as it comes and rarely require advanced skills. Those who do have accidents from those types of dives are often self inflicted. I.e. lost buddy panicking and running out of gas.

    Talk to your doctor, but know there's likely no major side effect that if you take it your going to immediately die because you're scuba diving.
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  4. Jim Webb

    Jim Webb New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Miami
    4
    3
    I agree with your assessment that sometimes these meds can slow motor skills and impair decision making in some cases. However I have extensive experience with them and in my case they actually aid me in the area of decision making and motor skills because they let me remain calmer and more focused and in control.

    You're right though. Doctor is the one to consult here. Just taking a shot to see if anyone else has experience using these kinds of meds on dives.
     
    CuzzA likes this.
  5. CuzzA

    CuzzA Percoidea Wetwork for Hire ScubaBoard Supporter

    18,986
    33,101
    Have fun and get a bunch of experience. Repetition builds confidence and eliminates anxiety.

    I've dove with guys who are paralyzed from the waist down. A buddy of mine is an exceptional deep diver (200+ fsw) and he lost his legs to a boat strike while diving. There's very few thing we're afflicted by that force us to not be divers. A little anxiety med likely isn't one. :wink:

    ETA: Deep diving and narcosis might have more of an effect. Something to consider. I don't know.
     
  6. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    540
    450
    I think it would depend on which meds you're taking. I take beta blockers and antidepressants and have no problem diving with either. In the past I have also taken quetiapine and done a few dives while on it....not sure I'd want to do that long term. I have also taken ativan for a short period of time and would definitely not dive while on that. As others have said, best to consult a doctor, preferably one who understands the effects of diving.
     
  7. Julius SCHMIDT

    Julius SCHMIDT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alexandra Headland
    395
    225
    Why not if you want to keep yourself rollin smoothly
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  8. Raphus

    Raphus Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Germany
    379
    297
    It could be that, the mess make narcosis worse especially since they make you slow in thinking.

    100% go to a dive(!) doctor before you take them. Or/and call Dan.
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  9. Uber Dave

    Uber Dave Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Eastern, CT
    258
    127
    I have taken anxiety meds when diving never had a problem.
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  10. rick00001967

    rick00001967 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: canada
    1,858
    832
    this is a great question that many divers may be uncomfortable asking in a public forum. so thank you.

    i would love to know if you find any relavent medical/scientific info that discusses this.

    i would say that if you have never had any serious issues while diving without using your meds, then why bother taking them? many of us have had to deal with anxiety while diving. it is something you need to learn to identify before it becomes a problem in the water and deal with it. for some of us it is just part of diving. but i agree that if therewas a way safely control some of this, it could be a huge benefit to some.

    i would also suggest that your dr would not be competent enough in this area to give appropriate advise. as suggested above....can D.A.N. to start your search for an answer. let us know what you find.
     
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