Why Divers Panic

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ArcticDiver
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby ArcticDiver » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:49 pm

ljjames wrote:and yes, this is me beating an incredibly dead horse.
...

Prevention is the best medicine.

...

Oh, one other thing... the brain remembers that feeling... the feeling of panic... with remarkable clarity. If you have experienced this, you know. Tincture of time and easing back into things. It will still be there, it will just get less and less until one day its gone.



Have to disagree this is a dead horse. Learning how to cope with panic is useful in many different areas of life. In my experience the mental method of dealing with extreme stress is the same regardless. However, I believe some people just aren't able for some reason, be it genetic or whatever, to deal with extreme stress and will panic no matter how much training. Others are able to learn how to be cool under just about any situation. Maybe there is a need for better training to identify those who lack confidence or who just cannot cope.

Yes, indeed, the body does remember. So does the mind. That is one of the reasons real training in many hazardous areas involves exposing people to the situation so they know what to expect and how to deal. That is the basis of much high stress and toxic substance exposure training, especially in the military. SCUBA training could benefit from a bit of reorientation to take advantage of what we know.
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby ljjames » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:20 pm

Panic can also be caused by CO2.

CO2 retention/build up can be caused by a lot of the things y'all talk about. Simple as swimming too hard in a current and over breathing your regulator to holding your breath whilst trying to get 'just the right shot' or a change in demand, such as happily skip breathing along (consciously or unconsciously) and then whatever happens and you start expending more energy (say swimming around looking for a lost buddy) and added to the already mild CO2 retention from the previous skip breathing the increased motion and not always increased breathing rate (I tend to hold my breath for a few seconds to see if i can hear my buddies bubbles) well... you get the picture.

and yes, this is me beating an incredibly dead horse.

BUT, the story i'll tell again and again is the one about scrubbing for awake carotid surgery in the operating room. Patient is fine fine fine (a nice sedated fine I'll add) and then when the surgeon puts a vascular clamp on the carotid near the bifurcation, on occasion he would put it right across the carotid bodies, (little chemo receptors that monitor O2 and CO2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotid_body At that exact moment, with no other changes, we could watch the patient have a massive panic attack. We'd release the clamp and voila... back to normal. The surgeon would then move the clamp around to do his best to avoid them and proceed with surgery. As it was explained to me, when you put a clamp on the chemoreceptors, you can stimulate them and they send the same messages to the brain as if they were experiencing a massive CO2 event.

Anyhow, how to combat it... A lot of what everyone says holds true, but another very important method is to get fit for diving. And simply be aware, I always think that if you practice mindful, self aware diving you'll suddenly start to notice more both in yourself and in your surroundings. You'll see more, hear more, experience more. One benefit of that is you can feel the niggle coming on before it turns into something you actually have to 'manage'.

Prevention is the best medicine.

I'm not always sure that the advice to get breathing 'under control' with slow deep breathing is the best, but more importantly, think about good gas exchange utilizing your whole lungs. If you are holding your breath to take that picture or hover on the wall or to try to maintain perfect trim for the photo, knock it off. If you are hyperventilating and unable to keep up with demand cause you are swimming around madly in nervous circles looking for you buddy, or desperately trying to keep up knock it off (signal them to slow down!!! use that nice big light you spent cha-ching on). If you are caught in a bit of current and unable to maintain a respiratory rate for adequate gas exchange then dump some gas, find a rock to hold on to and chill for a min while your body can catch up.

and yes, all the other stuff people talked about is 100% valid, I'm not discounting any of it at all or saying CO2 is the only thing that causes panic, I just think that it has a bigger role in this party than we give it credit for :)

Oh, one other thing... the brain remembers that feeling... the feeling of panic... with remarkable clarity. If you have experienced this, you know. Tincture of time and easing back into things. It will still be there, it will just get less and less until one day its gone.
----
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby maprn11 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:54 pm

I had a panic situation last year. I'm not prone to that sort of thing, so when it happened I wasn't familiar with the emotions. I was diving in a threesome, and was sucking down my air like crazy. I was to proud and stupid to ask my buddies to end the dive, so I just signaled to them that I was ok (I wasn't), but that I was going up. On the way up I became disoriented because I was freaking out and really short of breath. I managed to do a safety stop but by the time I surfaced I was no where near where I needed to be and had to do a long surface swim. I completely freaked out at this point and it's a miracle I didn't drown. Luckily the reason I was short of breath was not an injury to my lungs (IPE or something), and after going to the Dr I found out I was just severely anemic (not enough blood to carry the oxygen). I fixed the anemia, but unfortunately I still get some moments of panic here and there which really frustrates me. It's hard to get over moments where we face our mortality and live through it. I learned some good dive lessons that day though.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Grateful Diver » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:47 am

Oh yeah, Lynne ... I remember that dive. My first thought was "What's she doing? Underwater somersaults!"

And that's a thing ... panic will not always manifest itself in ways that your buddy can perceive. I thought Lynne was playing ... meanwhile, something very serious was going on inside her head. Don't always assume that the buddy's going to understand your mental state ... you need to have some way of telling them you're having a hard time, and that isn't always going to happen.

Moral of that story is that even when you work on these things in a class, that's an artificial setting with built-in safety margins that don't exist in the real world ... and on a dive things can go wrong in ways that are very different than in the class, and your conditioned responses won't always be the best ones ... or even possible. Fortunately, there's usually lots of wiggle room for making less than optimal choices and still coming out OK ... if you keep your wits about you and think your way through the problem rather than just reacting to it ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby ohopdiver » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:31 am

In 45 years of diving I've had three near panics, a solo out of air ascent, an emergency buddy breathing event compounded by an open BC inflator both in the early 70's and recently a flooded mask in very strong current. It may be influenced by age and memory but the more recent flooded mask situation, although less of a real threat, caused me the greatest anxiety to the point of hyperventilation. My next several dives included mask removal practice each time with less anxiety.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby LCF » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:36 pm

Panic has fascinated me since I began to dive, because it kills people, and because I am apparently not prone to it. But that is not to say that I haven't been very, very close . . . Bob will remember a dive we did together, which was my first time at Day Island Wall. We swam out and hit the wall right at the amphitheater, so I sailed off the edge with a huge grin on my face because I was flying . . . and I flooded my mask. Now, I am in black water and unable to see, but I can clear a mask. Except this one won't clear, and by the time I got to the third attempt and opened my eyes again to blurry darkness, I was feeling the anxiety building. As I realized I had no idea where the base of the wall WAS, I got much more anxious. And then the vertigo hit, and I was tumbling through black water with no idea how much trouble I would be in if I sank.

The lizard brain woke up and started screaming, "Up, up, up!". And I shut it up FAST, and luckily, about that time, I felt something under one of my hands and I grabbed it. I held on and got the mask sorted, and opened my eyes to find a concerned Bob hovering right next to me. All he had seen was me sailing off the wall, doing a graceful Immelman, and landing on the slope leading down to the drop off. All the drama was internal, but that is the closet I've come to bolting in the last ten years.

Everybody has a limit, but the more you dive, the more you practice emergency procedures, and the more resources you bring to any given dive -- gas, equipment, team -- the further away that break point will stay.
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Desert Diver » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:16 pm

CaptnJack wrote:
Desert Diver wrote:Naw, I'm not talking about that kind of a situation. This is just something that turns my paranoia level up. If I keep buddy contact and hold level and head in the right direction we find what we are looking for. I've done this off the North wall at Sund. Bad vis, I'm turning around to keep track of buddies as we leave the float and we head out a little instead of straight North. Suddenly I'm at 70 odd feet and can't see the bottom or anything else except my buddy. I know that if I hold level and head West I'll hit the wall or shore. But it bothers me! And if I feel that way in that situation I can just imagine how people who are less comfortable in the water feel when in a situation that to them is scary. It would be easy to panic, take a deep breath and head up. I have not done that in over 30 years of diving and don't plan to. My reaction is to concentrate on direction and depth to the exclusion of looking back for whoever is following me. Yes we could surface and head back to the float to reorient, but the problem really needs to be solved underwater.


Couple of thoughts.
Either you are getting in front or your buddy is getting behind. Stop doing that. In epically bad vis get side-by side and stay that way from the get go. The turning around is disorienting you and contributing to the buddy separation, the lose of spatial orientation, and having to revert to a compass in mid-water. Shine your lights across your buddy's field of vision so they know you are "there" without having to actively look.

In 70ft of water at the very start of your dive there is no problem here that needs solving underwater. There's no overhead of any kind. If I was your buddy and you were swam away from me, I would go up and regroup at the surface. If I was actively blown off the site like Bob describes I would shoot a bag. If I was at someplace like Sund rock and didn't hear any boats I would probably just ascend sans bag. At the start of a dive I wouldn't bother with a safety stop.

If you decided to screw around on the bottom or midwater and didn't surface within a few minutes, after perhaps 5 to 10 minutes I would drop down on your bubbles. If you were on CCR and I didn't see any bubbles I would wait a fair amount of time but would also expect you to realize that if you continued to dive I would probably call EMS after about 30 mins since my chances of finding a bubble-less diver in epically bad vis are slight. Either way I would be unhappy with you for sure. Open water 101, look for missing buddy for 1 minute then surface. Period end of story.


Full agreement. When we get separated we need to look 1 minute and then surface and I insist on that. Always diving side by side...not so much agreement. Just doesn't always work.

Remember that I am talking about this one situation that causes me stress, and lets me understand why others react like they do in situations that don't bother me at all. I'm working on it, but it bothers me even though I know it is not logical. Like why don't they just inflate their BCD or drop their weight belt when they are struggling on the surface? Because they are panicking and not thinking logically. And I have to overcome that thing in my head that tells me that because I am at a depth that should put me on the structure and have no visual reference points, the current is carrying me away and I need to line myself out and swim fairly rapidly in the right direction at the right depth. Panic comes just after stress and it kills people, either by bad decisions or by heart attacks. And I am not as immune as I would like to think I am.

The Sund Rock problem is still best solved best underwater. Logically there is no fast current there and we just need to meander in the right direction and we will hit the structure or shore. If we were on the Pinnacle and couldn't find structure we would need to go up. I've been there when I couldn't see the buoy line at arms length, but being on the structure there was no stress. Someone else might feel differently about that. Panic is hard to cure with logic.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby ArcticDiver » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:24 pm

Marc wrote:You can really insert 'people' instead of divers and have the same conversation. People that are panic prone on the surface will be panic prone under it.


Absolutely.

You are going to meet situations you have not trained for, maybe haven't even contemplated. Some people just can't learn how to resolve those issues. Others, even though they have trained and practiced will panic when faced with reality; especially if circumstances are different, even slightly
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby CaptnJack » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:05 am

Desert Diver wrote:Naw, I'm not talking about that kind of a situation. This is just something that turns my paranoia level up. If I keep buddy contact and hold level and head in the right direction we find what we are looking for. I've done this off the North wall at Sund. Bad vis, I'm turning around to keep track of buddies as we leave the float and we head out a little instead of straight North. Suddenly I'm at 70 odd feet and can't see the bottom or anything else except my buddy. I know that if I hold level and head West I'll hit the wall or shore. But it bothers me! And if I feel that way in that situation I can just imagine how people who are less comfortable in the water feel when in a situation that to them is scary. It would be easy to panic, take a deep breath and head up. I have not done that in over 30 years of diving and don't plan to. My reaction is to concentrate on direction and depth to the exclusion of looking back for whoever is following me. Yes we could surface and head back to the float to reorient, but the problem really needs to be solved underwater.


Couple of thoughts.
Either you are getting in front or your buddy is getting behind. Stop doing that. In epically bad vis get side-by side and stay that way from the get go. The turning around is disorienting you and contributing to the buddy separation, the lose of spatial orientation, and having to revert to a compass in mid-water. Shine your lights across your buddy's field of vision so they know you are "there" without having to actively look.

In 70ft of water at the very start of your dive there is no problem here that needs solving underwater. There's no overhead of any kind. If I was your buddy and you were swam away from me, I would go up and regroup at the surface. If I was actively blown off the site like Bob describes I would shoot a bag. If I was at someplace like Sund rock and didn't hear any boats I would probably just ascend sans bag. At the start of a dive I wouldn't bother with a safety stop.

If you decided to screw around on the bottom or midwater and didn't surface within a few minutes, after perhaps 5 to 10 minutes I would drop down on your bubbles. If you were on CCR and I didn't see any bubbles I would wait a fair amount of time but would also expect you to realize that if you continued to dive I would probably call EMS after about 30 mins since my chances of finding a bubble-less diver in epically bad vis are slight. Either way I would be unhappy with you for sure. Open water 101, look for missing buddy for 1 minute then surface. Period end of story.
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Marc » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:09 pm

You can really insert 'people' instead of divers and have the same conversation. People that are panic prone on the surface will be panic prone under it.
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby johndo88 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:03 am

Grateful Diver wrote:Next dive when I signaled her to flood and clear her mask she ripped it completely off, removed her reg, stuck her tongue out at me, put her reg back in, put her mask back on, and cleared it.

That is outstanding. I want to meet this person. :)

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Jeff Pack » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:04 am

Grateful Diver wrote:Panic really is much less about your abilities than it is about your mental approach to using them ...


sig worthy right there...
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Grateful Diver » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:59 am

Desert Diver wrote:Naw, I'm not talking about that kind of a situation. This is just something that turns my paranoia level up. If I keep buddy contact and hold level and head in the right direction we find what we are looking for. I've done this off the North wall at Sund. Bad vis, I'm turning around to keep track of buddies as we leave the float and we head out a little instead of straight North. Suddenly I'm at 70 odd feet and can't see the bottom or anything else except my buddy. I know that if I hold level and head West I'll hit the wall or shore. But it bothers me! And if I feel that way in that situation I can just imagine how people who are less comfortable in the water feel when in a situation that to them is scary. It would be easy to panic, take a deep breath and head up. I have not done that in over 30 years of diving and don't plan to. My reaction is to concentrate on direction and depth to the exclusion of looking back for whoever is following me. Yes we could surface and head back to the float to reorient, but the problem really needs to be solved underwater.


It gets back to being faced with a problem you never learned how to solve. Yes, at an intellectual level you know what to do ... but you never trained yourself to be comfortable with doing it. And therefore the "feeling" sets in when you are suddenly faced with that circumstance. It's one of the reasons I train people at the AOW level how to deal with that particular situation ... because here in the PNW there are several places where what you describe can happen. I once had a student who, a few weeks after taking the class, got caught in a current in the San Juans that pulled him away from the wall. His dive buddy panicked and bolted ... leaving him down there by himself with no spatial orientation whatsoever. Because he'd been exposed to training that taught him what to do, he pulled out an SMB, shot the bag, and ascended up the line. When he reached the surface, he was far from the dive site ... but the boat was right there, ready to pick him up, because he followed a protocol they understood. And so instead of a big problem, like his dive buddy perceived it to be, it wasn't any big whoop ... just an inconvenient situation that he handled routinely, because that's what he was trained to do.

Similarly, I've had students who complain because I make them do certain skills over and over again. I had an OW student once who got mad at me because I kept signaling for her to clear her mask. After one dive she confronted me, asking me why I kept asking her to do it, since she'd already done it so many times. I told her that she was doing it like she was scared of it. When I saw her doing it like it wasn't a big whoop ... because it ain't ... then she'll be done. Next dive when I signaled her to flood and clear her mask she ripped it completely off, removed her reg, stuck her tongue out at me, put her reg back in, put her mask back on, and cleared it. We were done ... she went from something she was afraid of to something she was completely confident in doing. Had nothing to do with anything other than her mental approach to solving the problem. She had to learn to believe she could do it. That's a diver who learned an important lesson about problem-solving underwater ... and regardless of the problem she's much less likely to panic. Certainly I don't think she'll ever worry about clearing her mask again.

Panic really is much less about your abilities than it is about your mental approach to using them ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Jeff Pack » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:37 pm

johndo88 wrote:Could not agree more. When diving Day Island, my goal is not the wall but to get back to the car. When diving Cove 2, my goal is not the I-beams, it's to get back to the car. If you are on a dive with me and it totally sucks because we didn't get to see what we came for, regardless of the reason, don't apologize to me. I will be grinning from ear to ear cause we both got back to the car.


Or like the phone call I make to my wife at the end of a day of multi hour tec diving in my rebreather...

"I cheated death another day".
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Desert Diver » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:35 pm

Naw, I'm not talking about that kind of a situation. This is just something that turns my paranoia level up. If I keep buddy contact and hold level and head in the right direction we find what we are looking for. I've done this off the North wall at Sund. Bad vis, I'm turning around to keep track of buddies as we leave the float and we head out a little instead of straight North. Suddenly I'm at 70 odd feet and can't see the bottom or anything else except my buddy. I know that if I hold level and head West I'll hit the wall or shore. But it bothers me! And if I feel that way in that situation I can just imagine how people who are less comfortable in the water feel when in a situation that to them is scary. It would be easy to panic, take a deep breath and head up. I have not done that in over 30 years of diving and don't plan to. My reaction is to concentrate on direction and depth to the exclusion of looking back for whoever is following me. Yes we could surface and head back to the float to reorient, but the problem really needs to be solved underwater.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby johndo88 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:50 pm

Grateful Diver wrote:... don't worry about "ruining" somebody else's good time ... second worst reason to push a dive. Always keep in mind that the very best way to ruin someone else's good time is to put them in a position where they need to attempt to rescue you...)


Could not agree more. When diving Day Island, my goal is not the wall but to get back to the car. When diving Cove 2, my goal is not the I-beams, it's to get back to the car. If you are on a dive with me and it totally sucks because we didn't get to see what we came for, regardless of the reason, don't apologize to me. I will be grinning from ear to ear cause we both got back to the car.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby CaptnJack » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:27 pm

Desert Diver wrote: What really gets to me is when I drop into the dark green water and don't find the bottom or wall where I expect it. That raises my heart rate and makes me concentrate on where I am and what I am doing somewhat to the exclusion of staying with my buddy(s). I know it is illogical but I get the feeling that a current may be moving me where I don't want to go and I have a hard time not just focusing on my compass and my depth gauge and swimming for the structure. I don't forget that I have a buddy but it seems very important to me to get back to somewhere that I recognize or if I've not been there before, to something that I have planned for. I have to really be careful to not just swim away from my buddy. I feel out of control until I'm back on the plan.


Get with your buddy and go up. You're just adding to your (and buddy's) stress level by trying to find something under water in mid-water blind. Go up, reorient, re-descend. If you have lost your buddy in the process of finding whatever you were looking for you will be ascending anyway. Save the gas, go up if you get blown off and don't bother searching mid-water in the first place.

On the bottom, prepare to run a line from the anchor so you can search for whatever you are heading towards if the anchor/shot isn't within visual or arm's length.
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Desert Diver » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:18 pm

Bob, You list a bunch of reasons that people panic that are solvable problems, all good thoughts. I believe there are panic attacks that are harder to control. For me getting caught in current hasn't caused panic. It causes me a lot of concern when I get so far out on the Keystone Jetty and I feel the current change to out. I probably turn around before others would but it doesn't really change my heart rate. What really gets to me is when I drop into the dark green water and don't find the bottom or wall where I expect it. That raises my heart rate and makes me concentrate on where I am and what I am doing somewhat to the exclusion of staying with my buddy(s). I know it is illogical but I get the feeling that a current may be moving me where I don't want to go and I have a hard time not just focusing on my compass and my depth gauge and swimming for the structure. I don't forget that I have a buddy but it seems very important to me to get back to somewhere that I recognize or if I've not been there before, to something that I have planned for. I have to really be careful to not just swim away from my buddy. I feel out of control until I'm back on the plan. Because of this I can kind of understand someone realizing they are down to 300# of air and blasting for the surface. I wouldn't react that way to a low on air situation because it just doesn't bother me the same way. I believe different people have different things that set them off and it is not as simple as having a solution to the problem.

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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Grateful Diver » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:43 pm

Why divers panic ... in general terms it can be summed up as our natural reaction to being faced with a problem we don't know how to resolve. Panic is our "fight or flight" instinct. In our natural environment it's designed to keep us alive. Underwater it can kill us quickly.

Best way to avoid panic is to ...

- practice your basic skills to the point where you don't have to put conscious effort into doing them well
- plan your dive ... that should always include knowing before you get into the water that you're carrying an adequate air supply for the dive you're planning to do
- know when to say when ... too many people push it because they just spent a lot of time and money to get there, and by God they're gonna do the dive ... even when they know they really shouldn't
- don't worry about "ruining" somebody else's good time ... second worst reason to push a dive. Always keep in mind that the very best way to ruin someone else's good time is to put them in a position where they need to attempt to rescue you
- pay attention ... people get into trouble because they don't maintain awareness of what's going on around them. Whether it's losing a dive buddy, running out of air, getting caught in current, finding yourself too deep, or any of a number of reasons why people get into trouble, the most common root cause of all of these problems is not paying attention to the signs that your dive's building up to a bad situation ... those signs usually start to show up while you're still well within your ability to do something about them that would lead to a better outcome.

The very best way to avoid panic is to recognize an impending problem take action before it becomes more than you can handle. Maintaining good diving skills, an appropriate attitude toward safe diving practices, and a basic awareness of what's going on during the dive are essential elements to making sure it doesn't happen to you ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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Re: Why Divers Panic

Postby Desert Diver » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:35 am

Good thoughts. I'll bet if you could put panic and heart attacks in a single category, and they sometimes are related, it would cover the vast majority of scuba deaths. Instead the cause of death is usually drowning. I know that there is one certain situation that sets me off, and I have a hard time controlling my reaction which is always the same. My reaction is not very dangerous but it is astounding how I tend to react the same way every time. I need to get that under control but if my reaction in those instances was to bolt to the surface and I couldn't control it any better than I do, it would eventually kill me. This gives me some insight into people panicking and making terrible decisions.

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Why Divers Panic

Postby Jeff Pack » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:18 am

Courteousy of David Gieroux
A police diver...
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WHY DIVERS PANIC !!!
Divers by nature tend to be cucumber cool. How else could you sail out to sea, toss on a tank, and plunge into the depths of the ocean blue? Yet, dwelling within each of us is a panic button that can get pushed when we least expect it, sending us into the danger zone without warning.
Fact is one fifth of all diver deaths can be directly attributed to panic, according to the National Underwater Accident Data Center. Another 22 percent of fatalities remain a mystery. Considering the number of divers who are recovered with working equipment, plenty of air, and their weight belts firmly in place, most experts believe that death due to panic is far more common than reported.
Panic can kill in any number of ways. Rapid, shallow breathing can cause hypoxia and a buildup of carbon dioxide, causing the diver to act irrationally, breathing faster, expelling the regulator or bolting to the surface. These panic responses can make you pass out, or even have a heart attack if you have a weak heart. Panicking also hinders your ability to solve problems and get to safety when your equipment malfunctions. Here’s how to keep your cool.
Practice makes perfect. Always do a checkout dive to make sure your wetsuit still fits (nothing like not being able to breathe to induce anxiety), equipment still works and your skills are sharp. Practice sharing air and clearing your mask and all those skills you may not have done since certification. Know what to do so you problem solve and don’t panic if your regulator starts free flowing or your mask floods or gets kicked off. Review the dive details with the dive master, so there are no surprises. Before a dive, assess your mental state. Ask yourself, "Am I anxious? Am I breathing too fast?" If you answer yes, something about the dive is worrying you. Figure it out and problem-solve it before you go under.
Hatch emergency plans. Stuff happens. It’s rational to be a little afraid when something goes awry underwater, but if you have planned for it that rational fear is far less likely to become irrational panic. What might send you over the edge? Seeing a shark? Losing your dive buddy? Equipment failure? Have an emergency procedure ready for every situation and rehearse them with your dive buddy. That way if something scary happens, you both know what to do and you’ll automatically do it.
Stop. Breathe. Think. Act. Once panic starts creeping in you need to do what you can to stop it in its tracks. It’s nearly impossible to panic when you’re taking deep even breaths from your diaphragm. Train yourself to Stop — Breathe — Think — Act when something unexpected happens. Of course, it’s often breathing — specifically the inability to do so — that causes panic. If you’re out of air or otherwise having trouble breathing, the other steps still apply. Think about your options. Most people can easily hold their breath for a minute. That’s enough time to find your backup air (or buddy) and get a breath.
Know the signs. The following are classic signs that you’re losing your cool (notice that these are signs that you can recognize you before you get in the water, too). If you experience any of them, stop to relax, breathe, think — and seek help.
• Rapid breathing or feeling like you can’t get enough air.
• Rapid heart rate, palpitations or heaviness in the chest.
• Gastrointestinal distress, "butterflies," nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
• Muscle tension, headache or tremors.
• Trembling voice or inability to speak.
• Sweating, chills or hot flashes, feeling out-of-control or impending doom
Hope this sheds some light for you all..happy diving..
Dave
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- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.


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