Psychiatric consequences of vestibular dysfunction

Curr Opin Neurol. 2001 Feb;14(1):41-6. doi: 10.1097/00019052-200102000-00007.


Anxiety and dizziness are co-morbid symptoms in a larger percentage of patients than would be expected from chance alone. Such patients have an increased handicap and poorer prognosis. In this review, we discuss the interface between vestibular disorders and anxiety disorders. The two conditions are functionally related via both somatopsychic and psychosomatic mechanisms, and are linked via overlapping neural circuits that include monoaminergic pathways and the parabrachial nucleus network. An alternative conceptualization to the common notion of 'psychogenic' dizziness is presented. Implications for patient management are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Behavior
  • Dizziness / psychology
  • Humans
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vestibular Diseases / psychology*
  • Vestibular Diseases / therapy