Depersonalization and Dizziness

My depersonalization experience has always been accompanied by dizzy spells. Before my DP/DR “took over” I woke up one morning feeling horribly dizzy and off-balance. Over the years I have heard DP sufferers mention dizziness as well. I have also had bouts of serious vertigo that come and go “out of the blue.”

I recently found this current article indicating this is probably not a coincidence, and may not simply be associated with anxiety. I also recall (though I will have to verify this) that the DSM-III mentioned dizziness as a symptom of depersonalization disorder.

I hope for replication of this study and dissemination of this critical information which could lead to further understanding and treatment.

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Jul;201(7):629-35. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182982995.
Depersonalization experiences are strongly associated with dizziness and vertigo symptoms leading to increased health care consumption in the German general population.
Tschan R, Wiltink J, Adler J, Beutel ME, Michal M.

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

This study investigated the association of depersonalization (DP) experiences with dizziness and its impact on subjective impairment and health care use.

Trained interviewers surveyed a representative sample of 1287 persons using standardized self-rating questionnaires on dizziness, DP, and mental distress. Symptoms of dizziness were reported by 15.8% (n = 201). Thereof, 62.7% endorsed at least one symptom of DP, 40% reported impairment by symptoms of DP, and 8.5% reported clinically significant DP.

Regression analyses identified DP as a significant, independent predictor for dizziness symptom severity, health care use, and impairment by dizziness. With regard to the Vertigo Symptom Scale, DP explained 34.1% (p < 0.001) of the variance for severity of symptoms of dysfunction in the balance system. In conclusion, symptoms of DP, highly prevalent in patients complaining of dizziness and vertigo, were independently associated with increased impairment and health care use.

The presence of DP symptoms should actively be explored in patients complaining of dizziness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]