Anti-Anxiety Medication

Hi Everybody,

Anyone here besides myself received more help thru the years from anti-anxiety medication (Xanex, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan) than any other types of medications ? I was on a much higher dose of Xanex for the first 7 years then weened down the last few years to a very low dose. Without this medication things would have been far worse for me. It helps me to get out and do things with friends/family and hold a part-time job. Helps me to feel more stanionary with less rocking motion and less tension in my head.


My orginal neurotologist started me on klonopin, in 2003, after years of vertigo from an initial viral illness, made worse by BPPV. He pushed the dose to 3 mg/day. I was still pretty miserable, so I saw an otolgist at Mass Eye and Ear, Dr. Rauch, who feels there’s also a component of migraine associated vertigo. We considered some of the migraine suppresant drugs, but decided to stick with the klonopin. I’ve cut down to 2mg/day, and am tryng to go lower. I recently saw Dr. Rauch, and he feels that I shouldn’t push the dose too low, too fast, but has no problems with this being the drug I’m on long term. I have concerns, due to the addictive nature of the drug, and the stigma, but it allows me to function. Someone had posted about brief bursts of vertigo, and it has stopped those. I still have dizzy, unsteady days, but I can work and function. So, for me, the klonopin is very effective. I kind of wish I didn’t have to take it, but I was dizzy for almost 20 years, and really disabled for about a year after a really bad BPPV bout in 2003, and the med has been very effective.

Hi Kira,

I also believe my current diagnosis (migraine equivalent) is correct…but some of the symptoms of this condition certainly are similar too BPPV. In 2000 i had an epley done but it did not help much. The more intense Throbbing that i feel in my head the chances increase that i will have Vertigo or even a small spin or atleast choppy wave feeling. When i am changing positions in bed sometimes i feel like i will go into a slow spin or getting up from bed…looking underneath the bed for something. All of this…sometimes it can bring on a sensation that a spin will come on. I have also thought maybe i had BPPV for a few years (just my theory) and the crystals did some damage and evolved into Migraine Equivalent. All i know is i definetely have a Silent Headache of sorts because i feel the continous throbbing. The Xanex helps too minimize the rocking and make me feel more stationary. It is interesting that of all the medications that i’ve tried…anti-anxiety medication has worked best for me.


It’s interesting that you feel the crystals did damage: I have that belief as well. Basically, about 30 years ago, I suddenly lost my hearing in my left ear due to a virus. I was treated with steroids, and got most of my hearling back, but have some tinnitus and was left with a fixed vestibular deficit in that ear. I had some vertigo sensations, but ignored them.
Then, in 1987, I got my first bout of BPPV, but the time I got in with the ENT, it was gone, but the ENG confirmed the vestibular deficit.
My vertigo symptoms got worse over the years: I would sail and then rock for days, an elevator ride was good for a spin, being tired made things worse, and I would get burst of vertigo. I just thought I was anxious.
Then, in 2003, I swung my head in a yoga class, and ended up spinning on the floor with nystagmus. I had my husband do an epley maneuver on me, and saw the otoneurologist’s PT the next day ( I had seen him in 2002 for worsening vertigo, and he did more sophisticated tests and confirmed the vestibular defect–and injured ears are more likely to get crystal problems.) The PT epleyed the wrong ear, and on my own, I decided I’d get that crystal out of my canal/cupula–so I rigourously did Brandt-Daroff’s and vestibular exercises, and made myself much worse–it was horrible. I literally banged my head against the bed trying to dislodge the crystals.
I ended up with unremitting vertigo, and the otoneurologist put me on increasing doses of klonopin. Before I did the head banging, I was improving.
After a year of the otoneurologist telling me I had a chronic vestiulopathy, and get used to it, and it was having a major impact on my life, I saw an otologist who diagnosed MAV.
We decided to continue the klonopin, and hold on any vestibular exercises. (On my own, I started playing tennis, and got Dr. Hain’s Tai Chi tape.)
I will also get some BPPV symptoms from time to time. And my otologist recommended very GENTLE brandt-daroff’s before bed, to break up crystals.
So, I think you can have MAV and BPPV and nerve damage.
I have two discrete symptoms: the vague rocking, unsteadiness and nausea, and the sudden vertigo with head position. I think the first is MAV and the second is BPPV.
I personally think the BPPV and the subsequent treatment of it in 2003 has permanently damaged my ear.
I’m much better, but even today, while serving in tennis, I felt unsteady and nauseated. And I think there’s an associated fatigue that is more than is caused by the medications.
I know that Occam’s razor would argue that one diagnosis is better than three, but I think the three problems can co-exist. Clearly damaged inner ears, after viral infections, are prone to BPPV.
Sorry to be so long winded. It’s just that what you described sounded so familiar.


When i finally recieved a concrete diagnosis from Dr. Baloh at UCLA…i asked him if it was possible that i had BPPV first then it evolved into Migraine?? He said yes. Some people feel like they have Migraine and Meneires and others like myself feel they have Migraine and BPPV. I understand that Migraine has similar symptoms of these other conditions to begin with. All i know is that since 1992 the only medication that has helped me a fair amount (far from a cure) is anti-anxiety medication. So far all the anti-depressants that i have tried have not helped. I am going to see a new Neurologist on friday and suggest to try either Verapamil or Neurontin.


Good luck: did you stop seeing Dr. Baloh? There was a recommendation by Dr. Furman from Pittsburgh to try zoloft, but personally I hated it, and didn’t give it a chance–I quit it after about two days. I hope you find a good combination of meds that helps.

Hi Kira,

I saw Dr. Baloh only once…first of all the VA Hospital in (loma linda, Ca) was willing to pay for only one visit. He is somewhat expensive. The reason the VA hospital sent me to him was because i requested it and also they were not familar with my motion symptoms. A number of months ago i e-mailed Dr. Baloh’s assistant and asked if i could see Dr. Baloh again but she said one appointment is really all that is needed. He diagnosed me so now i need to find a doc to monitor the medication. I tried many of the SSRI’s including Zoloft during the early to mid 1990’s and had very bad side affects so i will never try them again. I will stay on one table of Xanex perday until i can find another doctor to help monitor my medication and who really knows this condition well.


kira, i was just prescribed zoloft and i’m giving it a shot. What side-effects were so bad for you?

Yeah I’m wit you Joseph. I have been on 2mg of Xanex for about 8 years and it’s the only thing that has helped so far.

I was diagnosed this year by Dr Hamalgyi with MAV. He perscribed Prothidan but I didn’t have any succes with that. I’m going to try another anti-migraine med soon.

Previously I was diagnosed with anxiety disoder and depression. I onmly felt down due to the horrid dizzies/swaying. I tried every anit-deressant under the sun with no result.

I have been a migraine sufferer since I was a teenager. I have the classic aura but that is not so often now. Just headaches that aren’t as severe but occur on a daily basis and the unbalance, pull to the right and lack of ability to concentrate and even talk at time. Also really, really tired all the time!

Best of luck


Hi Tempe,

I was also initially diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder (Panic Disorder) in 1992 and a few years later they changed it to Inner-ear dysfuncton w/Anxiety…and years later one doctor thought i might have BPPV and Anxiety and another doc thought it was Menieres. So in 2006 the diagnosis i received from Dr. Robert Baloh (Migraine Equivalent) satisfies me. But he said that Migraines and Panic Disorder are all in the same family.

What anti-migraine medication are you thinking of trying next? I never suffered from depression…but i certainly have my blue moments with this condition. I never was one to have many headaches but the last year or two i have noticed if i get too stressed out or skip a meal i end up with a headache. I definitely relate to you when you said that you have difficulty with ability to concentrate. But if i take the Xanex i am generally ok…it’s when i don’t take the medication i get myself in trouble.


According to my doctor, I didn’t give it a real chance. I started at 50 mg, and would start at half dose if I tried it again. All I remember is that it made me feel groggy and out of it. I tried celexa, from my primary MD later, and it made my chest feel tight–I did try a lower dose.
My primary told me that the first week you tend to feel all the side effects, and few benefits, and if you hang in there it gets better. Also, starting at a very low dose can minimze the side effects.
I think I just didn’t want to try another medication, so after a groggy weekend, I stopped it. Not a real therapeutic trial.