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Mothball
08-12-2008, 08:26
Hey all!

I was diagnosed with post traumic stress disorder about two years ago stemming from a tour of duty in the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. I voluntarily stopped diving/divemastering since then because of some of the meds that I have been prescribed, which really do help.

I have contacted DAN about my meds and the Dive Doc said that three of my meds are CNS depressants and that they would cause a narcosis at a shallower depth and that there have been no studies done for folks in the spot that I am in currently.

I was just wondering if there are any Vets with PTSD out there willing to divulge any of their own findings underwater.

Thanx, Dave

JCAT
08-12-2008, 09:25
I saw your post and allow me to welcome you. Please know that there are many vets on this board, me included. (Baghdad 03-04).

Just from my very limited knowledge, CNS drugs could cause you to be Narced at a shallow depth. (I'm not a Doc). But, what about getting a second opinion or a third to see if there is any way you can come off of them? I don't know your situation so please excuse me if I stepped over the line.

For me, Diving has been my therapy. I'm only at peace with things when I'm underwater.

If you want to PM me, I'm available to talk...except next week..I'll be in Jamaica.

James

Mothball
08-12-2008, 10:41
Hey James!

First, I'll say welcome home, and you guys are doing a damn good job out there.

I figured there would be some Vets here, thanx for typing back.

My wife and I have actually been trying to get me off of some these meds (behind the VA's back), but I found that no matter how slowly I ease off of a single particular med, I find myself going back to my old Drill Intructor-ish, "rock 'em sock 'em", infantry/combat ways. I've also tried the "cold turkey" method which was a complete disaster. So, in short, and for the near future, I think the meds will have stay whether I like it or not.

The other option that was thinking about, was to develop a training program of my own where I can go do several hours in the pool and then ease into a shallow quarry/spring (20' or so) where, if something goes wrong, I can be dragged up with minimum risk. And, if I do okay, then I'll just slowly press the envelope and find where that "narc depth" would be. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried this before.

The underwater and adventure is my safehaven also. I had to get rid of my motorcycles and stop skydiving a few years ago because of financial reasons. Now the money is flowing again, and although the motorcycles and skydiving are exciting and envigorating, SCUBA is just a passion for me also. I miss the slow, methodical movement and the sights and sounds of the water. If you can believe it, I also enjoy doing pre and post dive homework also.

Thanx for typing back and Welcome Home Brother,

Semper Fi, Dave

Rileybri
08-12-2008, 11:08
Hey James!

First, I'll say welcome home, and you guys are doing a damn good job out there.

I figured there would be some Vets here, thanx for typing back.

My wife and I have actually been trying to get me off of some these meds (behind the VA's back), but I found that no matter how slowly I ease off of a single particular med, I find myself going back to my old Drill Intructor-ish, "rock 'em sock 'em", infantry/combat ways. I've also tried the "cold turkey" method which was a complete disaster. So, in short, and for the near future, I think the meds will have stay whether I like it or not.

The other option that was thinking about, was to develop a training program of my own where I can go do several hours in the pool and then ease into a shallow quarry/spring (20' or so) where, if something goes wrong, I can be dragged up with minimum risk. And, if I do okay, then I'll just slowly press the envelope and find where that "narc depth" would be. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried this before.

The underwater and adventure is my safehaven also. I had to get rid of my motorcycles and stop skydiving a few years ago because of financial reasons. Now the money is flowing again, and although the motorcycles and skydiving are exciting and envigorating, SCUBA is just a passion for me also. I miss the slow, methodical movement and the sights and sounds of the water. If you can believe it, I also enjoy doing pre and post dive homework also.

Thanx for typing back and Welcome Home Brother,

Semper Fi, Dave


First let me say thank you for your service to our country and putting your life on the line day in and day out. I will begin by saying that I am not a MD and I am not a psycho-pharmacologist (I did stay at a Holliday Inn Express last night though! lol) I however a clinical social worker and have had many years of working with both children and adults with PTSD.
On the subject of quitting the meds, I think it is an unfortunate catch 22. I do not know what specific meds you are taking but many of them are only effective when they are at a “therapeutic” level in your system. There for a drastic decrease in the chemicals they are providing you have amplified effects on your physiology and psychology. I would not recommend going cold turkey! As you have discovered it can be problematic at best. That is with out addressing the physical effects it may have on you (cardiac, pulmonary, nuro). I am not saying that you should not attempt to wean your self off of them by any means, just that you follow a set protocol for doing so. In my work I use meds as a last resort and have had many great successes. All I am saying is that there are options out there for you if you can find and access them.
It may be that you will need to take a hiatus from scuba during your treatment but will be able to return to it at a later date. Keep your MD’s and “shrinks” in the loop and make them your allies. If there is one thing I have learned from my work it is that ANYTHING is possible if you set your mind to it! Good luck getting back into the water and diving again. Take it slow so you can dive long!

I am not sure if you are tapped into it or not but my LDS works closely with the Wounded Warriors Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/)) taking wounded vets diving in the lake. They will be heading to Bonier next month as well with the WWP.

Hope this helps in some way?

Cheers,

Brian D.

Mothball
08-13-2008, 09:32
Hey Brian! It's funny you mentioned the Wounded Warriors. I am, in deed, aware of there existence along with the SUDS program. I think both are VERY good and I am happy to see some Vets getting relief and re-invigoration for life through these programs. The fact of the matter is, finding out about these programs "sparked" my wife to get me to do research and try to get me back into the water. My wife and I were in Bonaire in the spring of '05 and loved it. That's a lot of the reason she's trying to get me back in the water. I'm sure the Vets will love it also.

I'll definately take your advice with the meds also. I'm not going to tinker with them anymore since they really do help in my every day life.

As of yesterday, I visited with my 12th doctor. When questioned about diving, he listened to my concern and brief explanation of what happens physiologicly to the human body at depth. He smiled and said he didn't know of such occurances. He went on to say that he had no reason to think that meds should stop me from diving. This is the basic answer that I keep running into when speaking with non-diving physicians.

Another idea I have is, barring the possibility of an oxygen hit, I'll ask some trimix instructors about the possibility of using a hyperoxic trimix (something like 26/20 - 30/30 maybe) at recreational depths with idea being, to take as much nitrogen out of the mix without increasing the risk of an oxygen hit (which still looms in my mind). I think SSI was offering a "recreational trimix" course about the time I stopped diving. Anyway, I'm just thinking...

Any further thoughts, ideas or chastizements are still appreciated...

Semper Fi, Dave

hawkenph
08-13-2008, 09:47
Hi,

I also have PTSD from the 1st Gulf War. I had stop taking meds along time ago. Having PTSD is not very easy on anyone including our love ones. The VA Doctors have told me I am at the point with my PTSD where there is nothing they can do for me other than the drugs. Which I told them no way. I want a life and not just sit there and be numb. I know my triggers,etc and I do things on my own time. Since I am 100% service connected. Just take it slow.
Just know Brother you are not alone. I am not sure what else to say. Just wanted to share with you how I handle things. I hope this some how helps.
If you have any question. Please feel free to send me a message. I have learned with Group and other things. No one will take care of us except US as brothers. Find some guys near you that also, have PTSD. And make a small support group. We all need to trust someone.. I don't trust the VA or the Doctors too many bad experinces..
Take care and God Bless.
Kurt

Mothball
08-13-2008, 13:44
Hey Kurt!

Thanx for piping up. Ditto for me too. I said hell no to the drugs and the stigma at first. After Hurricane Katrina hit my area, I found myself in that "combat mode" again although my family and I, and our property were not affected, I found myself surrounded by people who were spazzing out because they had never been in a life or death situation and then there were a lot of people that were just spazzing because it was "in vogue" err something and just plain ole, stupid dumbfux. I was to the point that I was going to hurt somebody very badly if I didn't get help.

I was initially awarded 70% because I told the C&P doc that I didn't know what to do if I didn't work, but she told me straight-out that I should have never been allowed to work for 14 years (at that time), and if I ever got to the point that I couldn't handle work anymore, to just let her know and that she'd grant me a full disability. Well. I finally got to the point where the idiots at work and on the streets were beyond unbelievable last September, and began burning off 1500 hours of leave that I had on the books, and asked for an upgrade to 100%, which I recieved in May. So I am moving fairly slowly these days and the meds seem to calm me down a good bit.

It's nice to be alone, but it's a real comfort to know that I am not actually alone. I did the VA's 12 week PTSD class. I was fortunate that I was in a big class (12), with all services represented and Vets from Korean to Iraq/Afganistan and every conflict in between. I had made a observation and commented on the fact no matter the age or the war, that we could finish each others sentences and had the same overall attitudes and sentiments.

Welcome Home,

You take care and God Bless you and your family also

Semper Fi for now,

Dave

Largo
08-13-2008, 21:56
This reply is in response to meds, in general. I recently spoke with an MD, a person with a MS in Physiology, and a third person with an MS in Biology. None of them had heard of O2 toxicity, and they were all only vaguely familiar with hyper-oxygenation. Only people who study dive medicine can really tell you what you need to know.

I would Call DAN and ask them.

Mothball
08-14-2008, 01:57
Yeah, I've emailed DAN and found out that my meds are CNS depressants, but that was all the info I recieved. I'll probably compose another email and rephrase some questions and get some things clarified. The DAN doctor was about as vague as the rest of the docs. I might offer myself as ginnie pig if I find a doctor that seems half way interested in doing a study.

I brought up the higher percentage of O2 and possibly some helium just to lessen the the amount of N2 in the mix to avoid or lessen the likelyhood of narcosis.

Semper Fi, Dave

Mothball
08-14-2008, 18:35
Well, I heard back from the DAN dive physician. He explained all of the factors that I should consider, and I've decided that the risk is too great for me right now. I'll abstain from diving for the near to mid-range future.

Thanx for reading and typing back folks,

Blue water wishes, Semper Fi, Dave