[Psychogenic dizziness]

Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei). 1993 Apr;51(4):289-95.
[Article in Chinese]


Psychogenic dizziness is defined as recurring or persistent symptoms of balance dysfunction, inconsistent with organic vestibular disease as determined by history, clinical examination and pertinent investigations, and consistent with emotional origin. Of 1,335 patients seen in our dizziness clinic between January 1988 and August 1991, psychogenic dizziness was diagnosed in 180 (13.5%) patients. There were 67 men and 113 women aged from 12 to 77 years (mean age 40.2 years). The characteristics of psychogenic dizziness are: (1) continuous dizziness for long periods of time; (2) younger patients; (3) predominant female; (4) associated symptoms of panic attack, such as headache, breathlessness, nausea, sleep disturbance, paresthesias, anxiety and palpitation; (5) symptoms of aggravation due to stressful life events; (6) normal neurotological bedside examination; (7) hyperventilation reproduced accurately. The electronystagmographic results of 74 patients show normal bithermal caloric responses in 47 patients (63.5%), caloric hyperactivity in 21 patients (28.4%), canal paresis in four patients (5.4%), canal paresis with directional preponderance in two patients (2.7%), large random voluntary eye swings or severe blinking in 35 patients (47.3%), and spontaneous nystagmus (slow phase velocity < 6.5 degrees/s) in four patients (5.4%). There were 31 patients who consulted psychiatrists with diagnoses of anxiety (51.6%), depression (16.1%), insomnia (12.9%), psychosomatic disorder and adjustment disorder. Treatment of patients with psychogenic dizziness must be directed at the underlying anxiety. Psychiatric consultation is necessary.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Dizziness / psychology*
  • Dizziness / therapy
  • Electronystagmography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders