Photo by: Marcello Di Francesco

Nitrogen Narcosis: the Test

Take this short test to find out what kind of diver you are.

Answer each question honestly with a Yes or a No.

  1. Stating that air is an obsolete blend is pure heresy?
  2. Did you ever have to read your air gauge twice to understand how much air you had left?
  3. Three times?
  4. Four times?
  5. Is it true that drinking a lot of beer in the evening helps tolerate nitrogen narcosis?
  6. The forty meter depth limit was invented for non-drinkers?
  7. Did anyone ever catch your tank to force you to go up a bit?
  8. Did you ever not remember why they forced you to go up?
  9. Did you ever experience the world around you as though seen through a badly tuned TV?
  10. And through a tube?
  11. Have you ever seen pink elephants underwater?
  12. Giant squids?
  13. Is it possible for a gorgonian sea fan to crack you up?
  14. Do you think that the deep dive in the Advanced course is a useless dive?
  15. Is it true that nitrogen narcosis is manageable?
  16. Is it true that the effect of oxygen and nitrogen compensate each other?
  17. Have you ever trained to withstand oxygen partial pressure like Bret Gilliam used to do?
  18. Is it true that descent speed has no effect on narcosis?
  19. Cold temperatures and low visibility favor narcosis only in tourists?
  20. What the Dalai Lama calls Universal Peace is down there… more or less below 70?

Calculate your profile

PROFILE 1 – 1 to 5 Yes answers PROFILE 2 – 6 to 10 Yes answers

Control Freak
Your distance from nitrogen narcosis is often the same you keep from prolonged cocktail hours and other social practices that induce the slightest alteration of perception, or the loss of control. You always want to remain ‘sharp’, this is why you prefer diving on Nitrox than air, even at ten meters. Hard to blame you. In this category, fundamentalist tech divers lurk, with very few recreational divers.


Easy going 
You think, also due to the costs of courses and tank refills, that air is still a more than adequate blend. You’re convinced that nitrogen narcosis is an ugly beast, but one that sooner or later everyone needs to deal with. But better if in a controlled context and without going too far, especially to avoid ever stepping into the minefield of oxygen partial pressure.


PROFILE 3 – 11 to 15 Yes answers PROFILE 4 – 16 to 20 Yes answers
Deep divers 
You feel a kind of physical attraction for 18 liter tanks and vertical walls that do NOT end on a sandy plateau at 40 meters. You avoid coral gardens like the plague, and you allow for a quick drop just beyond the limits in all your dives. On the surface, you’re always very busy hiding your dive computer from the sight of instructors or divemasters. At the right moment, to defend yourselves, you pull out standards and manuals from the Navy or various federations. Too bad they were written in 1957.



You like to call the countless beers you drink each evening ‘training for narcosis tolerance’. You laughed in the face of a poor moray eel at fifty meters and that of a tech instructor who was scolding you for your equipment configuration, a single 12 liter tank, while you were poking around under the third arch of the Thomas Canyon. Narcosis doesn’t even apply to the likes of you… When faced with an anesthetist, if you don’t want to get a weak dosage and wake up under the knife, you better declare yourself for what you really are: addicts.



Want to know more about nitrogen narcosis? Read the article Physiological responses to high pressure during immersion.


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