anxiety and dizziness

Anxiety and Dizziness: How are they related?

Anxiety

When it comes to anxiety and dizziness, there is a direct connection between the two. In fact, many studies have shown that there is a cyclical relationship between the stresses caused by anxiety and the feeling of dizziness.

Anxiety May Cause Dizziness

While your experience with anxiety and your own symptoms may differ from those of others, anxiety dizziness is known to be a common side effect of anxiety. This is because an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder typically goes hand in hand with a vestibular disorder that leads directly to dizziness.

While vestibular disorders are typically associated with ear damage and lead to vertigo, you may also experience these disorders accompanying periods of anxiety. Therefore, when you are feeling anxiety or experiencing a panic attack, there is a high possibility that you will be left feeling quite literally off balance.

This additional feeling of dizziness is one of the last things someone with a generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder likely wants to experience. The stress of tampering a panic attack is already bad enough, but adding in a vestibular imbalance can make this a truly disorienting experience.

You may feel as though you are mentally unable to stand your ground when experiencing anxiety, and this may be due to the fact that you are at times quite literally unable to stand your ground when your anxiety causes anxiety dizziness.

Dizziness May Also Cause Anxiety

However, when it comes to the topic of anxiety and dizziness, many believe there is a slight “chicken or the egg” phenomenon that occurs. You may often experience both dizziness and anxiety, however, you may find yourself unable to place which one occurred first.

This is because while anxiety can cause dizziness, dizziness may also lead to anxiety. What’s more, this can occur in a variety of different ways. The process of frequently experiencing dizziness or vertigo, especially when it is unexplained, can easily lead to increased feelings of anxiety.

If you are unsure as to why you are suddenly experiencing feelings of dizziness, it can be quite easy to begin to feel additional anxiety. In turn, that increased anxiety can lead to increased dizziness, creating a vicious circle and seemingly unending dizziness and anxiety.

Similarly, vestibular diseases such as vertigo can lead to anxiety. Because anxiety is already associated with vestibular disease, it can be difficult to determine which came first. However, an injury to the ear can easily lead to vestibular damage which in turn makes you feel off – quite literally.

This feeling of imbalance easily leads to anxiety and additional stress, and may ultimately culminate in a panic attack.

A Cyclical Relationship

While the relationship between dizziness and anxiety is indeed a cyclical one, consulting a medical professional can help to shed some light on the best way to proceed with treating the two.

A medical professional will be able to help you identify any vestibular damage and diagnose any potential vertigo you may be experiencing. Getting help for these conditions can help to eliminate feelings of dizziness and may, therefore, help to decrease any additional anxiety you may be feeling.

Medical professionals may also help you with diagnosing any anxiety disorders you may be experiencing as well. Regardless of which came first, identifying any underlying medical or psychological trauma you have experienced and can help you to decrease one or both of these phenomena.

Treating both dizziness and vertigo as well as recognizing anxiety you may be experiencing can help you to decrease both, due to their dependent relationship with one another.

Coping With Vertigo and Dizziness

Vertigo can often feel like a more intense version of dizziness. Most people who experience vertigo report feeling as though the world around them is spinning and find themselves unable to keep their balance.

What’s more, these attacks can last for extended periods of time. Because they are so disorienting, they are quick to attract feelings of anxiety.

However, there are some simple steps you can take in order to ease your feelings of vertigo at the moment you are experiencing an attack. This can help to calm your dizzy feelings while also calming your anxiety.

The NHS recommends taking the following steps when experiencing vertigo:

  • lie down in a room without stimulants, keeping it quiet and dark
  • minimize head movements
  • use a walking stick
  • keep your head slightly raised with multiple pillows

The NHS also recommends attempting to get out of bed slowly when you finally feel you are ready. This will help you to make sure your vertigo has truly passed and keeps you from risking an anxiety attack.

Coping With Anxiety

While getting professional help is always recommended if you feel you may have an anxiety disorder, there are a few steps you can take in order to manage your anxiety symptoms in your daily life.

Taking time for yourself, taking small steps in order to improve your quality of life, and removing unnecessary stressors are just some of the things that can help you manage your anxiety.

When you feel yourself getting anxious and feel a dizzy attack coming on, it is okay to take an adult version of a time-out. Stop what you are doing and step back, taking a moment to relax. This could include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or putting on relaxing music. However, just taking a moment for yourself in order to slow down signals to your brain that you are worth caring for.

Additionally, many find that eating well and limiting alcohol and caffeine can help them to manage their anxiety symptoms. It can be easy to use these things as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety, but they ultimately exacerbate them and do nothing to help eliminate them.

In the same vein, making sure to get enough sleep and exercise can do wonders for your mental health. Rather than feel frayed, on edge, and tired, keeping your body healthy has a clear connection to keeping your mind healthy.

Learning the things that trigger your anxiety and learning what healthy methods help most to cope is truly important. Keeping an anxiety journal listing stressors and coping methods can help you to organize your thoughts and manage your anxiety over time.

Know That There is Hope

While both dizziness and anxiety are serious issues that make life difficult, they do not make it impossible. Rather than ignore them, be sure to take a moment for yourself and signal to yourself that taking care of your own health is important.

Do not be afraid to reach out to a medical professional, and above all, create a network of loved ones who are aware of your struggles. Those around you may be able to recognize your symptoms before even you can, helping you cope with these serious issues.

FAQ

What is Vestibular Neuritis?

Vestibular neuritis is a disorder in the inner ear that causes extreme vertigo, severe dizziness, and even nausea and vomiting. Another common symptom is balance problems.

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is an inner ear disorder, and it’s one of the most common causes of vertigo. Another common symptom is having brief moments of light to severe dizziness.

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease is a rare disease that can lead to hearing loss and also vertigo. It normally occurs in one ear.

What is Chronic Subjective Dizziness?

Chronic subjective dizziness produces persistent dizziness (over 3 months), lightheadedness, high sensitivity to motion stimuli, and having difficulty with visual assignments.

Can Hearing Loss cause Vertigo or balance problems?

No, it doesn’t cause by itself balance problems.

Is Chronic Dizziness serious?

Chronic dizziness could be serious because there are many underlying causes that can explain this physical symptom. So in this scenario, the best would be to go with a health specialist.

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