[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine neurootological and psychiatric abnormalities associated with complaints of dizziness in an epidemiological community sample of people of working age, and the extent of comorbidity between neuro-otological and psychiatric dysfunction.
A survey of 3884 people randomly selected from six general practice lists identified 262 people with significant dizziness, from which a subsample of 15 men and 22 women were recruited for testing. Dizzy subjects were evaluated by blind neuro-otological testing, computerised dynamic posturography, a computerised psychiatric assessment, neuro-otological and general medical examination, and diagnosis. An age matched control group of 18 men and 22 women underwent the same evaluation.
Tests of auditory, vestibular, and oculo-motor function did not discriminate between dizzy subjects and controls, but dizzy subjects had significantly worse balance on posturographic testing, more diagnoses of medical disorder, and a higher prevalence of psychiatric morbidity.
The findings suggest that dizziness in the community is typically characterised by mild physical disorder accompanied by some psychiatric disturbance. As the combination of minor physical and psychiatric disorder is known to be unusually persistent and handicapping, treatment programmes must be provided for this prevalent syndrome, perhaps by a partnership between primary care and neuro-otological and psychiatric hospital outpatient clinics with experience and expertise in the diagnosis and management of dizziness and psychiatric disturbance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the majority of people with dizziness in the community are never referred for specialist testing and treatment, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether it was desirable and feasible to provide vestibular rehabilitation for this patient population. Demand for therapy was assessed by a survey of 9198 working age people randomly sampled from six general practices. One in 10 respondents reported current, handicapping dizziness, but fewer than 2% of those with dizziness severe enough to merit treatment proved suitable and willing to attend hospital for testing and rehabilitation. Nevertheless, vestibular rehabilitation was clearly beneficial for the 16 patients who completed the therapy programme, as their scores on measures of symptoms, disability, handicap and postural stability improved significantly post-therapy to near-normal levels. We conclude that there is a need for provision of vestibular rehabilitation in primary care for patients with dizziness in the community.