One of the Chilean miners biggest dangers comes from their psychological status, which has been on an even keel so far, reports Fox News. The 33 men are accustomed to closed in places, they are miners, but they are also use to seeing daylight at the end of their work day.
Depression setting in with the miners is a very real possibility and experts are debating on ways to handle this, according to the Guardian UK. “Following the euphoria of finally being discovered after 18 days, the reality of not having an escape route can take its toll on the miners psychologically.”
Panic attacks are a condition that would be prevalent under these conditions, and for anyone who has ever suffered a full blown panic attack, you know how debilitating they can be. They can be followed with the constant fear of experiencing another attack and by bouts of deep depression.
The claustrophobic conditions of being in a 500 square foot space along with 32 other miners has to be taking its toll on some of the miners buried alive down there. Even the astronauts who have trained for these conditions for years have had to ward off these feelings.
Out of the 33 men, chances are there are a few addictions buried along with them almost a half a mile under the ground. Any addiction needs to be looked at and addressed immediately in order to keep the miners emotional health as normal as can be under these circumstances.
Being buried alive is not the condition that doctors would want the miners to start a rehab program, so if there are any addictions to alcohol or drugs, chances are these have been addressed by the miners being supplied their addictions.
Cigarettes, which can be the biggest addiction of them all, are most likely being addressed with nicotine patches. Lighting cigarettes could be deadly if they are supplying oxygen lines from above.
On Fox News this morning, they reported anti-depressants were being sent down to the miners, this may be true, but anti-depressants can take 4-6 weeks to take hold, if they will even work for the individual.
The use of this medication may be used as a precaution for down the line. The doctors may be prescribing it to the miners now, so it builds up to therapeutic levels a few months from now. With the expectancy of staying buried ranging from two months to four months, this may be a good idea.
Chances are the use of medications such as benzodiazepines, which have a quick acting tranquilizing affect are being used. This drug family includes medications such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.
This type of medication can start to calm a panic attack in about a half hour, so this may be a drug they at least have on hand to send down if need be. The feelings of claustrophobia are very similar to a panic attack. Panic sets in with no escape route being realized and this can be a frightening experience. They need to keep these men calm.
NASA has been contacted for their expertise on handling the astronauts who experience the same type of isolation and cramped quarters, but from miles above the earth instead of underground. The same nutrition, dehydration safe guards, and sanitary procedures are needed for the Chilean miners as for the astronauts, according to ABC News.
33 miners are in a space no bigger than a living room in your home and yes, they need to set up an area to be used as a bathroom. A small corridor has been set up by the miners to be used for this purpose, according to CBC News. One thing they have in abundance is dirt, so at least they can bury the human excrement to keep down the stench.
Reference: ABC News, CBC News, Fox News Live Sunday Morning, Guardian UK