Psychological comorbidities and their relationship to self-reported handicap in samples of dizzy patients.


Factors such as anxiety, depression, somatic awareness, autonomic symptoms, and differences in coping strategies are known to affect dizziness handicap. We studied these factors in 63 consecutive "dizzy" patients. This sample was subgrouped into normals and patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, compensated and uncompensated unilateral peripheral vestibular system impairment, or abnormal vestibular evoked myogenic potential as a single significant diagnostic finding. Results showed that (1) anxiety and depression occur with greater frequency in dizzy patients than in the normal population; (2) the magnitude of anxiety, depression, somatization, and autonomic symptoms does not differ significantly in subgroups of patients; (3) women tended to report greater handicap and somatic/autonomic symptoms; and (4) Dizziness Handicap Inventory total scores were correlated with patients' complaints of somatic/autonomic symptoms, anxiety, depression, and coping strategies. These findings suggest that self-reported measures represent unique pieces of information important for the management of dizzy patients.