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by Dr Richard L.
Symonds and Dr Shanmuga S.
Last updated: November 2017
a common complaint and one that is mysterious for the patient
and hard to communicate to the doctor. Persistent dizziness has
been termed a 'heart-sink' complaint by general practitioners.
Dizziness, giddiness, vertigo, unsteadiness
and abasia can all describe the symptoms of this topic. However,
vague terminology obscures any true understanding as to why some
patients have subjective unsteadiness. Usually diagnosed by their
GP as labyrinthitis, patients fail to be treated by an ear, nose
and throat specialist or a neurologist, and may end up as a
Patients are sometimes resentful for being
referred to a psychiatrist, and general psychiatric practitioners
who are used to dealing with more serious mental illnesses may feel
their time is being wasted. Psychiatric dizziness is not easy to
research in standard textbooks and its very vagueness calls for a
didactic, easily assimilated approach.
As a consultant psychiatrist you already have
basic knowledge of general medicine and neurology, as well as
detailed knowledge of clinical psychiatry and psychology, which
will allow you to assist in the elucidation and treatment of
clinical areas such as this. This module aims to alleviate the
topic from unhelpful conceptualisation, and thus improve doctors’
sense of familiarity and competence in helping patients suffering
from psychiatric dizziness.
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Download take-home notes to print and