Known as narcosis or deep-sea drunkenness, nitrogen poisoning results from increased partial pressure of this inert gas on the diver’s central nervous system and is characterized by decreased intellectual performance and behavior changes (e.g., euphoria, depression, fear).
The severity of this effect depends on the depth, speed of descent and experience of the diver.
The effects are progressive with increasing depth but do not increase in intensity with permanence at the same depth. Some drugs especially alcohol and sedatives (tablets for seasickness) have an additive effect on narcosis and should not be ingested before diving. Other additive effects are anxiety, cold and fatigue.
AS IN OXYGEN POISONING, THIS TYPE OF INTOXICATION WILL NEVER BE FELT BY THE DIVER CMAS ONE STAR DIVER, GIVEN THE DEPTH LIMIT IMPOSED ON YOU
Although there is variable susceptibility among different individuals, most divers are affected by narcosis at depths greater than 50 meters. The minimum depth to which it can be manifested is difficult to define, but there are cases of intoxication at depths of less than 30 meters.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Superior functions, reasoning, recent memory, learning and concentration are the first to be affected. The diver may feel well-being and overconfidence similar to moderate alcohol intoxication.
With increased depth decreases the capacity of physical performance, worsens mental performance, hallucinations arise and finally loss of consciousness and coma.
THE DANGER OF NARCOSIS IS TO LEAD THE DIVER TO INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, WHICH CAUSES AN ACCIDENT
Individual susceptibility is variable and some habituation arises to the effects of narcosis with repeated dives. The symptomatology is similar to drunkenness caused by alcohol. The narcotic effect itself is not dangerous and disappears rapidly upon returning to the surface. Therefore, in the face of this accident, the diver should decrease the depth of the dive or, in more serious cases, interrupt the dive and return to the surface.