Nitrogen Narcosis Facts
- Breathing nitrogen under pressure produces an intoxicating effect known as nitrogen narcosis.
- Most divers experience symptoms of nitrogen narcosis at depths greater than 100 feet, but symptoms may occur in depths as little as 33 feet.
- For this reason, use of compressed air deeper than 120 feet is not recommended.
- Ascent reverses the symptoms of nitrogen narcosis.
- Factors that increase the risk of narcosis include:
Nitrogen Narcosis Symptoms
- difficulty concentrating,
- poor judgment,
- decreased coordination,
- hallucinations, and
Nitrogen narcosis can lead to death.
Nitrogen Narcosis Treatment
- Ascend from the depth at which the symptoms become apparent.
- If symptoms fail to resolve after ascent, narcosis is not the cause of the symptoms.
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
"Complications of SCUBA diving"