I have come to realize that the vertigo I experience is mostly tied to my anxiety. It’s a frightening connection, but understanding this connection is key in learning how to manage my vertigo.
And I know I’m not alone. For many women, stress is an ever-present force in their lives. We juggle work, family, and errands all day long, and it can feel like a never-ending cycle of exhaustion. But sometimes that stress can manifest itself in unexpected ways.
In my case, I noticed that when I was feeling particularly tense or anxious, I would start to experience vertigo symptoms. At first, I didn’t think much of it—I just assumed my dizziness was a side effect of the stress I was feeling—but then I started to realize that my vertigo was being triggered by stress.
My Journey with Vertigo and Anxiety
I first started experiencing vertigo when I was a teenager. It came on suddenly and was so intense that it made me feel like everything around me was spinning. The feeling of dizziness was so overwhelming that I thought I was going to leave my body. All I wanted to do was lie down until it passed.
After seeing my doctor, I learned that the vertigo was related to an inner ear infection. With medication and rest, the episode eventually passed.
Things returned back to normal—or so I thought.
A few years later, I began having episodes of vertigo again, only this time it didn’t seem to be related to any kind of infection or physical ailment.
What I eventually realized is that the episodes were being triggered by extreme levels of stress or anxiety in my life.
Whenever something stressful would happen—a looming deadline at work or a disagreement with a friend—the vertigo would come back with a vengeance.
The Impact of Stress Induced Vertigo on My Life
Having bouts of vertigo due to stress has definitely been difficult for me over the years.
Not only does it leave me feeling physically drained after an episode passes, but there’s also a tremendous emotional toll as well.
Trying to manage my stress levels while also navigating through everyday life has been challenging at times, but it’s also taught me valuable lessons about self-care and self-awareness.
Can stress cause vertigo? This scientific study says yes
Anxiety disrupts the vestibular system, as evidenced by a 2016 retrospective study that followed participants over a nine-year period and found those struggling with anxiety disorder were more likely to later develop benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
In this way, neurology and emotionality are intricately intertwined.
Interestingly, in many cases people may experience sudden vertigo when faced with the very situations they find so anxiety-inducing.
But what is the link between benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and anxiety?
The inner ear contains the vestibular system, which includes tiny structures called otoconia. When these inner ear stones become dislodged and enter other canals in the inner ear, they can cause vertigo when changing positions.
Anxiety has long been linked to inner ear dysfunctions as it causes an increase of cortisol (a hormone released during times of stress), which can lead to inner ear inflammation and therefore inner ear stones.
The inner ear and its relationship to anxiety disorders
Experts also believe that it has something to do with the way our brains are wired to respond to stress.
When we are under high levels of stress and anxiety, our brains become hyper-sensitized which can lead to feelings of dizziness and imbalance.
This is believed to be due in part to the release of stress hormones like cortisol which can cause physical symptoms such as nausea or lightheadedness.
Stress and anxiety and the effect on your vestibular system
In times of high stress and anxiety, vertigo symptoms can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming. It’s an unsettling and alarming experience.
It can come on suddenly, causing feelings of nausea, lightheadedness, vomiting, headaches, sweating, ringing ears and other symptoms that seem to simulate a feeling of being out-of-balance and detached from reality.
Anxiety involves worries and fears deep within the mind
To me, this has always meant that vertigo is an illness rooted in the mind.
It begins with vertigo’s mental roots then translates outwards through the body until it manifests in vertigo symptoms.
Understanding vertigo as one of the most common physical signs of a brain linked conneciton between body and mind has been a powerful tool for helping me manage my own experience with vertigo and anxiety disorders.
Stress and anxiety are underlying causes that trigger dizzy spells
It’s a delicate balance – our bodies and minds handle external stressors differently but it’s up to us how we decide to process it all.
For me, a routine of self-care including meditation is crucial, and allows me to remember that vertigo is just another hurdle on my anxiety journey.
Even if vertigo is caused by stress, it does not mean that we are powerless. With the right combination of self-care, vertigo symptoms can be alleviated and anxiety can be managed.
Managing stress-induced vertigo symptoms
The key is finding ways to reduce your overall levels of stress and anxiety so that your brain does not become overstimulated and trigger the dizzy spells associated with BBPV.
One way to do this is through mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga which can help you relax both physically and mentally.
Additionally, talking with a therapist or counselor may be beneficial in learning how to cope with your stressors in more productive ways so that they don’t lead to uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness or nausea.
Mental health support to reignite your spark
Vertigo caused by psychological factors like stress or anxiety may not be widely discussed but it certainly exists – just ask anyone who has experienced it!
Understanding the science behind why you experience these symptoms when you are under high levels of emotional distress can help you better manage them when they occur.
By finding ways to reduce your overall levels of stress through mindfulness practices or therapy sessions, you can minimize our chances of experiencing these unpleasant sensations when life gets overwhelming.
Cultivate a sense of connection with yourself
Allowing yourself some time each day for self care will make all the difference.
Even though living with stress induced vertigo can be difficult at times, it has also helped me become more mindful about taking care of myself emotionally and spiritually – which can be just as important as taking care of yourself physically!
By recognizing how stress can trigger episodes of dizziness and nausea, I am able to take steps towards managing these triggers before they become too overwhelming for me to handle.
If you suffer from anxiety-induced vertigo like me, remember that you are not alone – there are many other people going through similar experiences.
You can find strength in knowing that you are not alone in your journey towards self-care and wellness.
My advice to anyone dealing with stress-induced vertigo
If you’re someone who experiences vertigo due to stress, the first thing I recommend is to try and figure out what triggers your episodes.
This will help you to proactively manage your stress levels and prevent vertigo from happening in the future.
For me, deep breathing and reiki healing are two of the most effective ways to keep my vertigo in check. I also find that regular meditation can help me stay grounded and calm during times of stress. I also have an excellent free meditation that will help to stop dizziness from anxiety – go here to get it now.
The bottom line is that vertigo can definitely be caused by stress—but it doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Take this challenging moment as an opportunity to open yourself up to greater resilience, understanding your anxiety and treating it like a guide that can lead you closer to inner peace.