Dizziness, migraine and psych disorders

Hi All,

A new article from the March edition of The Journal of Laryngology and Otology titled:

[size=130]Dizziness, migrainous vertigo and psychiatric disorders[/size]
Department of ENT, San Raffaele Hospital, Vita-Salute University, Milan, Italy

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on anxiety so this comes at a good time. This study found a trend towards a higher prevalence of vestibular disorders (especially unilateral reduced caloric responses) observed in dizzy patients with panic disorders and agoraphobia, compared with dizzy patients with panic disorders alone. Migrainous vertigo was more prevalent in patients with panic disorders and agoraphobia, compared with those with panic disorders alone.

The data supported the hypothesis that, in patients with panic disorders, the symptom of dizziness may not be a ‘functional’ symptom related to an anxiety state but may instead be linked to malfunction of the vestibular system. Moreover, the data was consistent with the possibility that migrainous vertigo may be the main aetiological factor for vestibular disorders in such patients.

Migrainous vertigo was the most important causal factor for vestibular disorders. Overlapping neural circuits may explain the concurrence of panic disorders, migraine and vertigo. However, the pathophysiology of migrainous vertigo is not well understood and is still a matter of speculation.

Clearly, being told that you’re “just anxious” is incredibly simplistic and does not begin to describe the real physiological processes at work in a migraineur that brings the feelings of doom and panic. It seems that the overlap of a psychiatric disorder, vestibular disorder and migraine create the perfect trifecta for a one way ticket on the hell express. No wonder some of us have such a shocking time with this.


I often wonder about the definition of anxiety. I know that having the MAV obviously gives us more anxiety, but I sometimes look at my own personality and I know I am my own worse enemy and dont seem capable of changing.

As a child I was shy but determined and would push myself into situations that I felt uncomfortable in, just to succeed. Always loved achieving something but it didnt really seem to do me much good health wise. I am the same now. In employment, no matter how much work I was given, I always had to get on top of it, which meant they gave me more! Even now, at home, on good days, I will work through a written list of things and my head is often scrambled from being in top gear all the time. Yet when you look around, other people are so laid back, can sit doing nothing for hours on end, knowing there are lots of things that need to be done. Those people I know, dont seem to get headaches.

I would be interested to hear what type of personality others are on this site. I always say that when I have worked through this list I will change and try and relax more, but then the list gets longer again :roll:


I was a nervous kid inside. But for others I was the ‘strong’ one, which meant it was okay to give MJ even more stuff to be strong about. Took me d.e.c.a.d.e.s. to learn that I don’t have to make strength my business. It meant learning to say ‘no’ and taking time out for myself.

We gave up sub-division living and moved our family to the country on small, three-acre stretch with a pond. The ducks were inevitable, as was learning to meditate. From the age of 40 to about 8 months ago, I was enjoying a sense of balance and peace, which brought about a new kind of strength. I even built a serenity garden out back. Seems like just when I had things figured out and was living the life that I’d dreamed of, MAV roared to life.


Your phrase “my head is often scrambled from being in top gear all the time” really struck a chord with me. I can’t relax till ‘everything’s done’. Drives my husband bonkers. Likewise, his ability to realx amidst chaos in blissful oblivion drives me bonkers!

Also, it’s funny that although I’ve suffered from panic attacks for about 15 years (and I think I may have had one or two as an adolescent - I’m 42 now), dizziness has NEVER been a symptom of my panic attacks and during my worst ‘panic attack’ years (1996-2004 and 2007-8) I had virtually no dizziness bouts. Weird - yet they must be related, perhaps different ‘surface’ manifestations of a common underlying brain disorder.

Your idea of trying to find a ‘personality’ trait in MAV people via this forum would be really interesting. We need an good academic researcher in psychoneurotology (just made that up) to do a study using this forum as subjects. :idea: A questionnaire would be a good start, so if a potential researcher is reading this then here’s an opportunity!

There may of course be a different type of MAV person who is totally different from us but never uses the internet… :lol: