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Anti-anxiety meds

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

  1. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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  2. CanadaDan

    CanadaDan DMC ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I was on SSRI's for many years but weaned off before I started diving. It's an interesting question for me as there is always the possibility I'll have to start taking meds again at some point. Chemistry is somewhat balanced for now but I have bad days. The biggest thing for me now is knowing when to not dive. I've called dives because I was not at my most balanced and would have been a burden and possibly a danger. Know yourself and be honest.

    Anyway, back to the question at hand...

    A quick search yielded a PADI article, a diving doctor's article and a study paper. Might be worth a read.

    Scuba Diving and Antidepressants.

    Diving Doc: Antidepressants and Diving

    Diving and antidepressants
     
    OTF and Jim Webb like this.
  3. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I'm not giving any specific advice on this situation as I never worked in dive medicine (nor is this to be taken as any form of 'medical' advice or in any kind of 'provider-patient' relationship). A couple of general points:

    1.) 'Anti-anxiety' may potentially cover a range of things, and they're not interchangeable. I respect the right to maintain one's confidentiality. A listing of some fairly common groups:

    -----1.) Antidepressants - not all, and it's often the SSRI class. There are other types of antidepressant with different or broader mechanisms that could be used to address anxiety.

    -----2.) Benzodiazepines (e.g.: Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Xanax) - the first thing I think of when someone says 'anti-anxiety' med. in a prescription context.

    -----3.) Off-label (often low dose) antipsychotics (e.g.: Seroquel, aka Quetiapine, mentioned by someone else).

    -----4.) Vistaril, an anti-histamine.

    In a class, individual agents vary, individual people vary widely in how a medicine effects them, there's the question of what other medications you take (if any; for example, what if you take a medicine with anticholinergic effects, then put on a scopolamine patch for diving - that's also anticholinergic?) or what other health conditions you have, and should your diving progress (e.g.: get deeper), your susceptibility to narcosis and the potential for a sedative med. to add to impairment. If you take a benzodiazepine, there's also potential for withdrawal effects (which can include increased anxiety) if you run out the medicine, or skip taking it on a dive day. Individual classes, medications and people vary so much it's risky to generalize much.

    If it were me and I wanted to be thorough, I'd go to Dive Alert Network's website and search and read through whatever articles I could, do the same on threads on Scuba Board, talk to my prescriber and consider whether I needed to consult DAN directly, a diving specialist, etc...
     
    Jim Webb, Esprise Me and dlofting like this.
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Contacting DAN is always a right answer.
     
    nadwidny and Jim Webb like this.
  5. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Puhleez. And take out the fun of sifting through all the useless answers on SB? C'mon Chilly!
     
    judyo1 and Jim Webb like this.
  6. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The SB answers weren't useless (at least not the majority of them). That said, DAN is always a right answer.
     
    Jim Webb likes this.
  7. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I'm not a medical professional and did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night, so take this with as much salt as your doctor will allow you to have at your age. At a minimum, if I shouldn't drive, I don't dive. As far as I know antidepressants are fine in that regard; things like Xanax, less so, maybe depending on dose. That doesn't mean if I'm safe to drive that I'm necessarily safe to dive, given the ways meds can increase specific diving-related risks. But if I'm at all impaired on the surface, it's not going to get better with depth.
     
    Jim Webb, RyanT and chillyinCanada like this.
  8. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I'm going to disagree with you there. I tried calling DAN for advice about scopalomine and diving. Their answer was "we can't help you with that as it has not been studied. You should call your doctor". Don't get me wrong, I have DAN and love it. Unfortunately, the idea that they have all the answers when it comes to dive medicine is false.
     
    tridacna and Jim Webb like this.
  9. Julius SCHMIDT

    Julius SCHMIDT Solo Diver

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  10. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Perhaps so, but one can't know until one calls DAN and asks one's question.
     
    Searcaigh likes this.

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