BPPV + anxiety + panic attack

Posted , 8 users are following.

I am a new member here and very happy to find such a fantastic and encouraging forum!

I am a 23 year old male. On the Saturday 2 weeks ago, I woke up with an intense spinning sensation. I noticed that  the vertigo only happened when I rolled to the left on bed, got out of the bed quickly (also to via left), looked up or bent over. After the spinning was triggered, it only lasted around 20 seconds (I also noticed that fixing my eyes on certain object terminated the vertigo). Rolling to the right caused no problem at all. In addtion, repeated "triggering" the vertigo with  the above positions did seem to reduce the intensitiy of rotation over time. In addition, I didn't have any headache or change in hearing and vision. The vertigo made me a bit dizzy but didn't cause any vomitting.

I freaked out and rushed to the primary care physician the next Monday. He diagnosed me with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, provided some Meclizine and recommened me to work on the Epley maneuver myself. During each Epley, the nygstamus was invoked with my head down to the left, but diminished upon sitting.  I did two Epley on two consecutive days, and was completely cured (no more vertigo sleeping on left side or looking up/down). To confirm, any Epley afterward failed to induce vertigo and nystagmus (Yay!!!)  

However, I do still have some concerns. The primary care physician never used the Dix-Hallpike to "formally" diagnose me. Instead, he just told me with my typical symptoms, it must be BPPV.  So apparently, I had Epley and I am cured now, I must be happy!  But...

As a graduate student in health science, I get full access to the medical literature of BPPV. From what I have read, some "deeper" conditions (like brain damage, brain tumor, malformation etc.) can mimic BPPV!  That possibility has been making me worry sick the past few days. I have been foolishly torturing myself with a lot of "what if" questions, like what if it was not just an ear problem, and what if the vertigo comes back... I am super hyperchondriac in nature, and these thoughts gave me serious panic attack. I found it quite ironic that the vertigo itself didn't make me feel sick as much the afterward anxiety and hypochondria!

I just want to seek some advice from you, vertigo/dizziness warriors and experts wink :

1/ Are my symptoms typical for BPPV?

2/ The fact that my vertgio went away quite fast with Epley Maneuver, does it confirm that what I had was merely caused by the inner ear, not anything "deeper" ?

3/ Am I too young for BPPV (23 year old)?

4/ Based on your experience, can you tell me if BPPV can return after successfully treated?

5/ How should I deal with anxiety and panic attack?

Thanks so much for your help!!!



0 likes, 18 replies

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18 Replies

  • Posted

    I have also been diagnosed with BPPV. I am a 70 year old lady and can relate to much of what you say.

    I doubt it is age related for a start.

    If all your symptoms have gone I would try to relax about it and put your mind on other things.

    It could come back or it might not. I doubt much money has been spent on studying vertigo.

    A trained professional should be able to check for anything more sinister than BPPV anyway.

    Bottom line....try to stop stressing and enjoy your youth!

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  • Posted

    Hi Andy I'll be the first to reply - there are really good YouTube videos that explains the cause of BPPV - interesting that he didn't do the Hallpike as that's how they diagnose that your BPPV is in what region of the inner ear.  Some people are lucky and one Epley and it's all sorted but for me and others I'm into my 15th week.  It's in the top 10 miss diagnosed conditions so if you feel that there are other complications ask for an MRI!

    Big yes in the anxiety and panic attacks as who would want this back in their lives again. Average age is over 50 and 70% are women but I've seen really young ones on the forum so your in the club, unfortunately ! I've spoken to others at a personal level and many have not had it come back so fingers crossed and guessing yours was quick to deal with let's hope that's all it is. 

    Vit B helps with stress so what I've heard it helps with anxiety but seek a naturopath/ health shop as they are pretty good! I have chosen not to take anything for the anxiety but just for the vertigo but I know others have seeked out other methods so I'm guessing if you feel your not getting ahead re see your doctor or maybe another! 

    Remember Baby steps! 

    cheers Donna 

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  • Posted

    Welcome aboard Andy

    I too am new to vertigo, I was awoken just just like you in the morning rolled over in bed and both left or right started the spinning. It took 1 week flat on my back to get over extreme exhaustion.

    Then 3 more weeks to not feel wobbles .

    Now I'm just exhausted and light dizzy spells.

    I had osteo treatment on my neck 2 days prior where my neck was crunched and I was in intense pain.

    I went to ent and hall pike was performed and I had no reaction . So not BPPV but still a bit wobbly tilting to the left .

    I'm exhausted , anxious and over it, and no diagnoses .

    I too felt panicked with what if, especially with driving, however just remember it does seem positional and seems to start when lying vertical , so unless you ride luge you will be ok. I wished for a BPPV result just to know what caused it,

    It's great you had results from manoeuvre so I wouldn't worry 😊

    For anxiety practice abdominal breathing , really helps, keep the oxygen flowing, so you won't feel dizzy.

    I think it can happen at any age too .

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    • Posted

      Thank you!

      I am no doctor, but I am wondering if your case is caused by the lateral canal BPPV. The most common type of BPPV is posterior BPPV, in which you can clearly identify that only by turning one side you will have the vertigo. Lateral canal BPPV is rarer , and you will have vertigo by turning both sides (although only one ear is effected, and only the specialist can figure out which ear).

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    • Posted

      It's the left ear I have issues with, always feels blocked and gets shooting pains randomly, have found I have an infection in old root canal on same side. Could it be all related ? Where to from here
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  • Posted

    Hi there 

    I am a 59 year old female with BPPV.  In answer to your questions from my experience:

    1.  Yes your symptoms are typical - my problem is my right side.

    2.  Most probably.

    3.  No you're not too young I was 21 when I had the first attack

    4.   Yes it can - but some research paper I read years ago suggest that 90% of people will not have a repeat experience -  I seem to have fallen into the 10%. Having said that I have only had 2 reoccurance in 38 years and am currently once again on the road to recovery.

    5.  If you are continuing to have anxiety/panic attacks - something I experienced this time around - I found a handful of sessions with a qualified cognitive behaviour/hypnotherapist did the trick. Of course if any physical symptoms change you should always go back to your GP  

    Hope this helps and I do remember how frightening it was when it first happened to me.  Good luck

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  • Posted

    Hey there,

    My comments mirror many of the other replies. Symptoms very typical of BPPV but one always needs to be cognitive of anything else out of the ordinary that your body is experiencing. It appears that your symptoms have subsided, which is great! I have heard that others do get relief from a simple, one-time Epley manuever and don't experience this again for many, many years, if at all. This disorder does not pick ages as we can read from this and other health forums. Perhaps you had a virus and this was your body's way of reacting to it.

    I, too, have studied in the health sciences field and we can drive ourselves crazy with the "what ifs" because of our studies and experiences. We are our own worst enemy. That being said, there is great support and advice here, points to ponder. Yes, practising deep breathing will go a long way in helping your anxiety as will meditation. Check out reviews on some popular meditations and find one that works for you. This will be great if you are travelling in the car as well.

    Take care smile 

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  • Posted

    Yes this sounds like bppv and the epley maneuver can definitely cure it within hours to just a day or two. Anxiety is something that occurs naturally when there's an inner ear issue. And yes bppv can return but now you know what to do to cure it so don't panic. If u had something worse (which I doubt) your symptoms would certainly not improve not would they completely go away.
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    • Posted

      Hi Tasha , it is incorrect assuming that we are all in the same basket and BPPV can be cured with a few Epleys ! There are many of us on this forum that are dealing with it for months with very little relief and need further treatment where The Epley Maneuver does not work ! research Omniac Machine or Chair! 
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    • Posted

      There's so many causes to dizziness. The Epley will only work for bppv. It won't work for me cause I have vestibular neuritis. I caught an inner ear virus that damaged my vestibular nerve. I've been dizzy for 11 months. My brain needs to learn to recompensate. I believe it will in time. It take ALOT of time and patience. I've done VRT and it helped a bit but still get dizzy but not as intense as it was before. I just returned to work after being off for several months. I'm working half days and I get very tired.
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