You’re walking along, and—yikes! It feels like the floor is tilting, and you’re definitely going to wipe out, hard. Or you feel generally off-balance and dizzy, like you've just gotten off a mildly aggressive amusement park ride. (Seriously, watch out for those teacups—they’ll get ya.) This symptom is known as disequilibrium, and it's usually only an issue if you experience it often, it interferes with your daily life, or it puts you in danger. Disequilibrium is often associated with vestibular disorders (aka disorders of the inner ear and central nervous system) and can also be a side effect of medication, especially if you're taking antidepressants, sedatives, antibiotics for inner ear infections, or anything for seizure disorders. Stress, tension, and fatigue can also contribute to it. In rare cases, it could be a sign of a neurological problem. Fortunately, disequilibrium caused by vestibular dysfunction can be treated with vestibular rehabilitation therapy, (or an "exercise based program" including vision stability and postural training exercises). It may seem obvious, but if your world is already spinning, it’s key to avoid activities that make you even dizzier, like strenuous exercise or dancing, drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs. Try to live your normal life without adding any extra dizziness into the mix! If your symptoms are so bothersome they make "normal life" sound laughable, see a practitioner about discovering the root cause. In some cases disequilibrium can be a sign of something serious, and you may need to explore other treatments before you start feeling like your steady self again.
- Mayo Clinic. Balance problems. Mayo Clinic. Balance problems.
- Front Neurol. Vestibular deficits in neurodegenerative disorders: Balance, dizziness, and spatial disorientation. Front Neurol. Vestibular deficits in neurodegenerative disorders: Balance, dizziness, and spatial disorientation.
- Vestibular Disorders Association. Causes of dizziness. Vestibular Disorders Association. Causes of dizziness.
- Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Rehabilitation therapy for patients with disequilibrium and balance disorders. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Rehabilitation therapy for patients with disequilibrium and balance disorders.