In medical terms, vertigo is an "illusion of motion." Laymen use the phrase to refer to conditions ranging from dizziness to loss of balance, but these are not true vertigo. While rarely caused by stress, vertigo is often related to stress.
Definition of Vertigo
The Mayo Clinic defines vertigo as a sensation of unsteadiness. Often it is the direct result of changed position of the head.
Types of Vertigo
Vertigo falls into two categories. Peripheral vertigo stems from disturbances in the inner ear. Central vertigo involves the central nervous system.
Causes of Vertigo
Virtually any impairment of the inner ear or central nervous system can potentially cause vertigo, but most cases can be traced to the inner ear because this is where the body maintains spatial sense and balance.
Vertigo and Stress
While stress is not considered a cause of vertigo, vertigo can cause stress, and stress can exacerbate the condition. In a study performed on 190 patients by Science Links Japan, results indicated that 31.8 per cent also were experiencing stress. Various drugs taken to combat stress can result in vertigo, from alcohol to antidepressants and sedatives.
In the Science Link Japan study, vertigo was linked with fatigue and insomnia in 46.3 per cent of patients. It was theorised that since stress can cause fatigue and insomnia, stress is related to the condition. Stress also can cause blood pressure changes which can aggravate vertigo by affecting blood flow and metabolism in the inner ear.
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: Vertigo: Frequently Asked Questions
- Involvement of Stress in Vertiational go: Japanese Journal of OccupMedicine and Traumatology; Watanabe Naohiko, Okuno Keiichiro, Sakuma Takaaki, Noguchi Kazuhiro, and Zusho Hiroyuki; July 2009
- American Family Physician: Initial Evaluation of Vertigo; Ronald H. Labuguen, M.D., University of Southern California; 2006