Dealing with Anxiety and Depression
This information is intended as a general introduction to this topic. As each person is affected differently by balance and dizziness problems, speak with your health care professional for individual advice.
People with vestibular disorders often have dizziness- and balance-related anxiety. This anxiety sometimes leads to depression. Research suggests that about half of adults with vestibular disorders may develop anxiety, panic disorders, or depression.
The symptoms of some vestibular disorders can be distressing and upsetting. They may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, panic sensations, and ‘situation avoidance’ behaviours (such as avoiding crowds). The symptoms are real and legitimate. They do not represent psychiatric disease.
Getting anxiety under control
If your imbalance and dizziness is making you anxious, check in with a family doctor before these feelings get out of hand. Your dizziness and imbalance symptoms may improve as you get anxiety under control. At the very least, you will be better able to cope with dizziness and imbalance.
Anxiety management strategies for dizziness and imbalance include:
- Using relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relation, and traditional Eastern practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong
- Doing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Learning to better manage your time
- Getting regular exercise
- Improving your sleep
- Eating well
- Taking medication
Know the signs of depression
A general rule of thumb for recognizing depression is experiencing at least 5 of the following symptoms continually for more than 2 weeks:
- depressed mood
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
- loss of interest or pleasure in usually-enjoyed activities
- change in weight or appetite
- sleep disturbances
- decreased energy or fatigue (without significant physical exertion)
- thoughts of death
- poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
If you or someone you know is having recurring thoughts of suicide, it is very important that they get medical help right away. For immediate help contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service. Call 1-833-456-4566 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For residents of Quebec, call 1-866-277-3553.
Personal accounts of those living with chronic dizziness.
Most titles are available for loan through public libraries. If your local library does not own a copy, ask for it to be sent from another library through interlibrary loan.
How to handle anxiety with simple evidence-based techniques that can reduce anxious feelings and responses on the spot.
Based on hard science and over 10 years helping people who suffer from anxiety, the author advocates facing your fears, anxiety and panic head-on. McDonagh’s approach best suits those who are at a stage when they are willing to try something new.
Focuses on teaching mindfulness techniques to allow you to be present in the moment and take control of your thought processes.
A psychotherapist shows how to alleviate anxiety, worry and stress using a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) techniques.
This interactive workbook teaches you cognitive behavioural therapy and offers a practical plan that is straight-forward to follow.
Offers an evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based on current neuroscience and research.
Written by a leading expert in cognitive behaviour therapy, this fully revised 7th edition offers step-by-step treatment strategies for anxiety, worry and fear.
A clear, step-by-step plan to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone.
Dieterich M, Staab J. Functional dizziness: from phobic postural vertigo and chronic subjective dizziness to persistent postural-perceptual dizziness. Curr Opin Neurol. 2017 Feb;30(1):107-113. Abstract available from: https://bit.ly/3a4lBSa
What is depression? Public Health Agency of Canada. Available from: https://bit.ly/2kmt19f. Accessed 9 September 2019.
Page updated September, 2019.