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By the time people afflicted with dizziness or imbalance come to see a physician, many appear overanxious, even if they were previously confident, competent individuals. The purpose of this article has been to explain why dizziness so often leads to apprehensive, self-defeating thinking and behavior, which in turn perpetuates the dizziness. The state of fearful uncertainty and passive dependence in which many dizzy people find themselves trapped can be prevented in many cases by supplying convincing explanations for their symptoms. Comprehensible information about how the balance system functions, and the process of adaptation following balance disorder, reduces anxiety by helping patients to understand the causes, significance, and control of their various symptoms. It also provides the rationale for a paced resumption of activity, and so enables patients to become well-informed partners in the management of their recovery (with or without formal rehabilitation).

Original publication




Journal article


Otolaryngologic clinics of north america

Publication Date





603 - 616