Auras and dizziness without headache

Here’s my dilemma:

I have been diagnosed by a neurologist as having migraines even though I don’t have headaches. Instead I get lightheaded and/or dizzy, and occasionally have “auras” in the form of weird circular lights. The meds prescribed didn’t do anything. Then i saw a psychiatrist, who said I was actually having panic attacks. Now I take a Xanax whenever I get these symptoms, and everything - incluidng the auras - goes away! I’m glad this works but I don’t understand about the aura part and why that would have anything to do with panic attacks. Anyone else having this experience…?

Joanne K.

HI Joanne,

Lots of us can relate to your symptoms I think. Certainly I almost never get headaches but do experience classic auras (zig zag flashing lights), and most of us can relate to the dizzies and the lightheadedness too. Not only that anxiety is a feature of migraines for many of us

Based on your description migraine is certainly a possible diagnosis - you don’t have to have a headache to be a migraineur - of course it might be panic attacks too - but as anxiety can be part of the migraine experience (certainly the physical symptoms of anxiety are part of my migraine experience, even though I’m not anxious mentally if you know what I mean).

The fact that Xanax helps doesn’t rule out migraine either as many of us get relief from our symptoms from benzos like Xanax (eg Valium)

if you haven’t already, take a read of the excellent Mav survival guide

What meds did you try?

PS Welcome to MVertigo

I take diazepam for ocular migraines as well as vestibular migraines. It doesn’t work for any other type of headache I get though.

I was diagnosed with Migraine when I never had headaches either. I was lightheaded 24/7 and felt my vision was off from my brain somehow. Ithought my neurologist was nuts for saying it was Migraine…I wish he would have educated me instead of just insisting it was migraine. Most benzo type meds can calm the brain and help many of the symptoms. Xanax in particular is a quick onset, quick exit benzo, and might be worth considering valium or Klonopin, as you get a longer half life…more bang for your buck so to speak.
Anxiety and Migraine (and Depression) seem to have similar circuitry in the brain, and so meds that help one, often help the others…
Welcome to the board!

Hey, Joanne, there’s hope for you too to lose that outsider feeling: I started out without significant headaches, but as the MAV has developed, I’ve had a bunch, though thankfully not the classic migraine bullet. (I hope you can skip them, even if it means you hold on to that outsider feeling.)

welcome to the board - lots of good information and people to talk to here I was the same way when i went to the neuologist and still not completely convinced i have MaV but who knows. i take valium - small amounts - off and on and it helps a little bit. i’ve tried some other stuff but didn’t do me right so i stopped. I think i have an anxiety component to mine like most of us do - i’ve always been a very anxious person and it seems to be getiing worse and then when i’m dizzy esp for days and weeks and months on end i get very anxious about it.

sorry you are suffering



Wow, I wish I could take a Xanax and make it all disappear! I take Ativan and it does help reduce things but the dizziness and off balance feeling is usually still there.

hello J.

What is the dosage of Xanax you take? Do you take it every day or just when the “aura” begins?

Really glad you’ve found something helpful. :smiley:


I get the circles and half circles. I also get zig zags, sandstorm, tadpoles :shock:

I had the circles the other night, I was totally relaxed so I dont think they are part of anxiety for me, but I am in a constant low grade migrainy state. The circles were on a day with no head pain but I didnt feel right in myself but then I very rarely do.

I find it interesting that Xanax gets rid of these symptoms, I will have to try it and see.

Brian, are you saying that diazepan works for your dizzy heads?

Kelley, I get depression when I have bad migraine. Would this mean valium would work for me?

I think I tried some diazepan years ago and I couldnt walk in a straight line. Must have taken too much. What is a good amount to try?



Yes, diazepam works for the dizziness for me. For some reason it also works for ocular migraines. I started at 1mg years ago, but I’ve been taking it for a while now, and have built up a tolerance. I am currently up to 2.5 mg at a time, and I take it in steps until I am able to bring the dizziness down to a tolerable level, or get it to stop.

Regarding the depression after a migraine/dizzispell, I don’t think that diazepam will help with that, if anything it may increase it. That is one of the reasons that I try to take bare minimum to get by.