MARD and agoraphobia

As I am still unofficially diagnosed with mav, I want to further explore comorbid mental illnesses as a possible CAUSE of this. I have suffered an array of complex mental health problems my whole life, then this “mav” thing kicked off about 2 years ago. That said, about a year before this became chronic(so 3 yrs ago now), I began to experience classic symptoms of agoraphobia, sometimes panic attacks…but I wasn’t particularly dizzy then…as time progressed, bam came the dizziness which to this day, arises in my typical “agoraphobe triggers.” I read an article on this forum a while back on MARD, but cannot recall if agora. was mentioned. As for treatments, I cannot do antideps for various reasons, so i am stuck taking Valium everyday now. :-/ I am also seeing my therapist to not only address CBT strategies, but to figure out if some sort of stressor kicked any of this off along the way (dizzies and agor). I was an anxious person before agora, but now it’s frustratingly difficult, even on days when i’m not dizzy! Also, is there any evidence for Viibryd’s efficacy in managing mav? Psych wants me to try this but i am skeptical. Tried Lamictal recently with poor results, mentally and physically. Thanks all!

I was wondering, do you feel your bipolar and agoraphobia are intricately linked with the Mav?

what is viibryd? how did your dizziness start? do u have unsteadiness walking? honestly if the dizziness comes and goes maybe it could be linked to the anxiety, do u get more dizzy if u get anxious? i see u are on cymbalta and abilify, do those make your mav any better or any worse?

@Rebzi, I am skeptical of the idea that my bipolar is causing any of these vestibular symptoms directly; that said, my psych feels most of my anxiety issues derive from bipolar, so there may be an indirect sort of link there for sure.
@sarahd, Viibryd (Vilazodone) is a new SSRI, but I don’t have a great history with antideps (mentally and physically), so I never tried it. In fact, I am no longer on Cymb. as this gained me no improvement in phys or ment symptoms, but no worsening thankfully.
I remember being at work in 2009 and having a dizzy spell turning my head (I have never had bppv)…over the next few years, the spells turned into a chronic hassle, not just positional induced. I have never been unsteady walking: in fact, I have zero clinical features of a vestibular problem which is i guess, one reason i got hit with the mdds label first. Abilify doesnt seem to improve or worsen my mav. Anxiety is my number one trigger for dizziness, every time. When I am home for instance, I usually do not feel dizzy or anxious.

can you drive ok? do you have any visual symptoms? you probably already mentioned this before but can u describe your specific symptoms again?

Yes I can drive okay. I do have visual vertigo at other times though. Specifically my symptoms are: chronic non rotational vertigo, some spin attacks (anywhere from three times a week to once a month), mild headaches, light and sound sensitivity, head motion sensitivity, and sometimes I get that shifting feeling in my vision even though there is no nystagmus at all.
How about you? How are you holding up?

You say that you have never had unsteadiness while walking. Is this even when being dizzy? You don’t find this affects your sense of steadiness at all? Apart from that, many of your symptoms are so similar to mine, including the vague headache (not all the time). I’ve had a diagnosed anxiety/panic disorder for 30 years. The dizziness has come in the last 7 years, getting particularly bad this last year and a half. It’s been during this time that I also started getting visual auras when awaking from sleep at night and was diagnosed by a neurologist as having migraine associated disorder. I wonder, too, how much anxiety has to do with the whole thing.


so when you are calm and at home, do you always feel normal or nearly normal? honestly a good chuck of it could be from anxiety then. I am not doing well unfortunately the treatment I have been given has almost completely destroyed my ability to stand up and to walk, I can barely walk with a walker at this point and crawl around the house on my hands and knees half the time. As the last 3 meds have med me get progressively permanently worse, I can’t risk trying another one unless i resign myself (and am living somewhere) where i can use a wheelchair. I wish I was never treated at all, I could walk safely unassisted and semi function and leave my house. ugh. i seem to be the only one on here with this experience although i have seen 2 who got permanently worse with vrt like i did.

alternaace how long have u had the mav for? are u able to work?

It is all very strange. I FEEL like I could be unsteady at any minute while walking (during dizziness), but I never am. I can walk perfectly straight lines, ace the Tandem-Romberg, jog, etc.
I do work yes, but unfortunately, work is where I feel my symptoms the most. I sit in front of a computer all day, and I normally wear a hat to “dim” down the glare and the lighting. I tend to feel very anxious at work even when not dizzy, so there’s another example. Yeh when I am at home and/or calm, my symptoms are 75-100% better! I have had chronic mav and/or mdds since 2011.
@sarahd, which meds worsened you? Would be great if you could file a lawsuit, seriously! What does your dizziness feel like?

yeah for real, a law suit against my dr. for never warning me i could get permanently worse from vrt or meds (topamax, savella, atenolol).ugh but honestly i could be given 10 million dollars and it wouldnt make this situation right. you can’t put a price on your mobility and ability to physically function and take care of yourself.

i can’t even imagine working with this and with the anxiety, i really admire anyone who is able to do that. i forgot you must have said this but do u know how your dizziness started? sorry to hear you have been suffering so long. it looks like you have tried a lot of the psych meds, were these for psych stuff or mav or both? did any make your mav better/worse? do you think you could work part time from home, if that might help?

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It is all very strange. I FEEL like I could be unsteady at any minute while walking (during dizziness), but I never am. I can walk perfectly straight lines, ace the Tandem-Romberg, jog, etc.

This is the way I would describe my dizziness/unsteadiness too: I feel like I am unsteady walking but someone watching my would not see a difference – so weird. I can jog too.

You may have said this already, but do you have any fullness in the ear/tension around a TM joint? I do at times, and when that flares up, I feel the worst dizziness. According to the ENT, I have some TMJ issues, cervicogenic dizziness and MAV, not to mention the anxiety/panic issues, and they are all playing off one another.

One more question: when you added Clonazepam (Klonopin), did you find any noticeable relief? When my psychiatrist added a small dose of Lorazepam (Ativan) to my Cipralex (Lexapro), it really helped everything, including the dizzy/unsteady feeling, and the anxiety/panic/agoraphobia, of course.


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Yeh I’m not sure exactly how the vertigo started, but all I know was in 2009-2010, everything was episodic only. I would turn my head too fast or get anxious about something, then get a dizzy spell. Wish I knew what kicked this off into a more chronic state. The psych meds were mostly for psych related stuff, but they did not help or hurt my mav. Klonopin makes me better though.
@angel, yup, this is just as invisible of a disease for me as well.
No problems with the TM joints, although my ears sometimes feel “stuffy”.

Thanks for answering my message. Everything you describe sounds so much like my condition, including how it was episodic at first and the lack of effect of psych meds, other than benzos, on this condition. The TM joint involvement is about the only difference. Again, I appreciate you answering my questions.