When you feel like your head is spinning, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Those dizzying effects of the condition called vertigo make you feel physically nauseous, tired, and miserable — and they might be messing with your mental health, too.
Vertigo stems from one of two places: the inner ear or the brain. Either way, if you have this condition, it can cause long-term stress on your body and mind.
On the flip side, stress itself can’t cause vertigo. The link between the two seemingly unrelated conditions is strong, but it’s only one-sided. So what’s going on in your body when you experience symptoms of vertigo that impact your mental health so strongly? We’ll explain the connection here.
1. Breaking Down Vertigo
While vertigo is often described as dizziness, the condition is so much more than its main symptom.
First, let’s clarify that dizziness and vertigo aren’t the same thing. You can be dizzy occasionally because of a head rush, spinning in circles, or other causes, but that doesn’t mean you have vertigo. You’re simply feeling imbalanced for a short period.
However, if you’re frequently feeling dizzy and nauseous, as though everything around you is constantly spinning, and there’s no definite cause, you may have vertigo. The condition isn’t the problem; what’s causing the vertigo is the true diagnosis to look at.
There are two types of vertigo to learn about peripheral and central. Peripheral vertigo starts in your inner ear, while central vertigo is connected to a problem in the brain, possibly a stroke or an infection.
Knowing the cause of your dizziness and other symptoms leads to the right kind of treatment. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy exercises or medication. Many of the side effects of vertigo are improved with medical marijuana, as discussed in this article by Veriheal.
2. How Stress Affects Vertigo
The symptoms of vertigo vary, but they’re usually confined to the vestibular system. This system is responsible for balance and spacial recognition (proprioception). It includes the inner ear and many of the delicate parts that are housed inside the structure.
The inner ear absorbs sensations around you and sends that information to your brain. If your environment is too loud or otherwise distracting, it causes stress on the vestibular system, inducing a vertigo attack.
Another correlation between stress and vertigo has to do with the neural pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Certain panic and anxiety disorders overlap and share the same pathways. When your anxiety is kicking in, it’s running along the same neural connections as your vestibular system, which will likely trigger your vertigo symptoms.
3. Vertigo and Mental Health Medications
Did you know that your mental health diagnosis could increase your vertigo symptoms if you’re on certain medications?
Think back to when you started noticing those dizziness and nauseousness episodes more often. Did you begin a new prescription medication around the same time?
The Cycle of Medication and Vertigo
It’s common for some depression and anxiety meds to include side effects similar to vertigo. You may also notice an increase in your symptoms if you’re taking antibiotics or chemotherapy or using pain or blood pressure medication.
You may also wanna read “Depression: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments | Is CBD A Right Cure?”
Read the side effects listed in the fine print that came with your bottle. If it’s the medication that’s making your vertigo unbearable, talk to your doctor about other possible treatments.
Since regular vertigo attacks often result in increased anxiety and depression, dealing with them can turn into a vicious cycle.
If you need your psychiatric medicine to cope with your mental health problems, and it’s causing an increase in your vertigo, do not try to ignore the problem. Talk to your psychologist and medical doctor about methods that can improve your emotional well-being without causing your vertigo to worsen.
Vertigo symptoms range from mild to severe, but they’re all caused by something going on inside your head. Medication, physical therapy, stress management techniques, and lifestyle changes can help, and in rare cases, surgery is possible.
Living with the side effects of chronic dizziness and vertigo can cause significant stress and increase your anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Before you get to that point, talk to your doctor about all your options, from physical therapy referrals to medical marijuana.
- Vertigo – Symptoms and Causes [Online] Available At: https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/vertigo
- Can Medical Marijuana Help Patients Dealing with Vertigo? [Online] Available At: https://www.veriheal.com/conditions/vertigo/