Behavior therapy for vestibular rehabilitation

J Anxiety Disord. Jan-Apr 2001;15(1-2):121-30. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(00)00046-3.


Patients with panic disorder and patients with vestibular disorders often share symptomatology, such as dizziness, spatial disorientation, and anxiety in particular environments. Because of the similar clinical presentations, it is not always apparent whether these symptoms are due primarily to a vestibular disorder or to panic disorder. Depending on where and how these patients enter the medical system, their symptoms may be remedied by treatment from behavioral therapists or physical therapists trained in vestibular rehabilitation. Although vestibular rehabilitation developed independently of behavioral treatment for anxiety disorders, there are remarkable similarities in treatment conceptualization and implementation. For example, both use exposure procedures designed to produce habituation of dizziness and disorientation, as well as enhancing functional compensation. Furthermore, there appears to be a subset of individuals with panic disorder who also have vestibular pathology and thus, may benefit from both interventions. In this paper, similarities and differences in the clinical presentation, treatment goals, and specific interventions for patients with panic disorder or vestibular pathology is examined, and future implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Panic Disorder / complications
  • Panic Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Vestibular Diseases / complications
  • Vestibular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Diseases / rehabilitation*