Course of illness in phobic postural vertigo

Acta Neurol Scand. 1997 Jan;95(1):23-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1997.tb00063.x.


Forty-two patients with phobic postural vertigo took part in a neurological and psychiatric follow-up study. During the follow-up time of about 2.5 years the neurological diagnosis remained stable (41 of 42 patients). PPV can be assigned to various psychiatric categories according to DSM-III-R. Although an association of PPV with anxiety disorders is evident, not all patients present with symptoms of anxiety or panic during attacks of vertigo. However most patients develop a disabling "phobic-avoidance pattern" with recurrent attacks. Important psychosocial stressors can be identified at the onset of the condition. Motives of secondary gain have also to be taken into consideration. The course of illness varies depending on the neurological syndrome of vertigo, on the one hand, and concomitant psychopathological syndromes, on the other. Despite a considerable rate of improvement in vertigo complaints (79%), the group of patients with phobic postural vertigo as a whole presented with significant psychological problems at follow-up term (74%), requiring specific psychiatric and/or psychotherapeutic interventions. Dependent or avoidant personality, and hypochondria were prognostic of a more negative course of illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / diagnosis
  • Hypochondriasis / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Posture*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vertigo / diagnosis*
  • Vertigo / epidemiology