Does anxiety cause dizziness is a question that comes up again and again. The traditional answer that most doctors will tell you is “yes”. Conventional and traditional medical thought says that anxiety causes dizziness and indeed there are many people who have been suffering with dizziness for years that have nothing physically wrong with them, they are just anxious.
But is this conventional opinion actually true? Lets look at anxiety and its relationship with dizziness more closely. The vestibular system that control balance from the inner-ear is highly complicated and not as well-understood as other parts of the human anatomy. Dizziness never killed anyone so medical research is thin on the ground here.
When something doesn’t have a clear physical cause, doctors like to tell you its psychological. But what they find it hard to accept is that there may be a physical cause that they don’t understand.
Looking at a symptom and saying “it’s anxiety” and packing them off to Cognitive Behavioural Therapist is much easier than saying “I don’t know”.
Why would anxiety make you dizzy? What would the function of it be? Anxiety is there to protect us, it is the fight or flight response. We hyperventilate to get more oxygen to the lungs, our heart beats faster to keep the blood pumping to our muscles, the adrenalin makes us ready for action. All of these things make it easier for us to fight the beasts that used to prey on us, or run from them. But dizziness doesn’t help us, it hinders us and there is no reason for it to be there. The fight or flight response has evolved over millenia and it is unlikely that dizziness is a part of it.
So does anxiety cause dizziness? Perhaps some of the fight or flight response and the physiological changes it brings can cause you to feel a bit of balance while you are anxious, but the idea that anxiety is a major cause of chronic dizziness is not one I believe.
I suspect that the link between anxiety and dizziness has been so often talked about that many doctors assume it’s true when the evidence simply does not exist.