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Vertigo is a symptom of vestibular dysfunction.7 It refers to the sensation that you or your environment are spinning or moving.
Vertigo can be described as extreme dizziness. It can last for a few seconds or a few hours. In severe cases, it can be persistent for weeks or even months.5
Some people might not notice they have vertigo. For others, it can be so severe that it affects their balance and prevents them from doing everyday tasks.
Vertigo can feel like everything is moving around you. A common symptom of vertigo is trouble balancing.
The following symptoms may also accompany vertigo:
Stress and anxiety can indirectly cause vertigo. About five percent of American adults experience vertigo, particularly when they’re feeling stressed.
While stress can’t cause vertigo directly, it might contribute to health problems that do. For example, stress can contribute to inner ear problems that lead to dizziness.3, 9
Stress produces adrenaline, which can reduce or stop blood circulation in the inner ear. This damages hearing and may result in vertigo.
Anxiety can cause hyperventilation, especially when panic attacks occur, sometimes leading to vertigo. Hyperventilation refers to rapid or deep breathing, which causes your blood's carbon dioxide (CO2) to drop quickly.
Getting vertigo attacks can be a symptom of many different health conditions and circumstances. Here are some examples:6
Some tips for preventing and managing vertigo symptoms include:8
If you regularly experience unexplained vertigo, talk to your doctor.
If you are taking medication to treat vertigo and it is not getting better, consult your doctor. You should also reach out to your doctor if your vertigo is getting worse over time.
Anyone who is experiencing inner ear dysfunction that is causing vertigo should consult a doctor right away. Because stress and anxiety can ultimately lead to vertigo, talking to a mental health doctor can also help.
Vertigo symptoms can be diagnosed in a few ways:
Your doctor may run several tests to find the root cause of vertigo.
Depending on your health history, current state of health, and other factors, your doctor can also narrow down common causes of it.
If you think stress and anxiety are causing vertigo, your doctor can examine your mental health and test for an anxiety disorder. They may also test your stress hormones.
Treatment for vertigo symptoms varies depending on the underlying causes. You cannot treat vertigo directly. Instead, the condition responsible for causing vertigo must be treated:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and holistic healing problems can help you deal with emotional triggers that contribute to stress or anxiety disorders.
The outlook for vertigo depends on the underlying cause. Because vertigo is a symptom of a health condition, not a condition itself, it can’t be resolved without determining and treating the underlying problem.
Some conditions that trigger vertigo are more severe than others. Brain disease and multiple sclerosis have a much worse outlook than if you have an ear dysfunction, low blood sugar, or a viral infection.
Stress is currently considered a major problem around the world. American adults report feeling more stressed out than ever before.2
If you are experiencing vertigo, you’re not alone. Vertigo is a common health concern, but it’s not always a cause for worry.
Talk to your doctor if you find yourself getting dizzy often. Depending on your diagnosis, there are treatments available to help reduce vertigo.
If you are wondering if stress can cause vertigo symptoms, remember that your mental health is essential for overall health, not just for keeping vertigo attacks at bay.
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