Adverse effects of health anxiety on management of a patient with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, vestibular migraine and chronic subjective dizziness

Julie A. Honaker, Jane M. Gilbert, Neil T. Shepard, Daniel J. Blum, Jeffrey P. Staab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction Care of patients with vestibular symptoms focuses primarily on physical otoneurologic disorders; however, psychological factors can sustain symptoms, confound assessment, and adversely affect treatment. Health anxiety is a particularly pernicious process that simultaneously magnifies physical symptoms and inhibits medical care. Objective To demonstrate the excess morbidity caused by vestibular health anxiety and its successful management in a patient with otoneurologic disease. Method Report of a 41-year-old woman with recurrent benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, vestibular migraine, and chronic subjective dizziness, who expressed grave concerns about her health, repeatedly questioned her otoneurologic diagnoses, and failed physical therapy and medication treatment until her health anxiety and otoneurologic illnesses were addressed simultaneously. Conclusion Health anxiety is an empirically validated concept that explains troublesome health-related beliefs and behaviors. It is frustrating for patients and health care teams, but can be treated successfully in otoneurology practice, thereby reducing physical symptoms, emotional distress, functional impairment, and health care overutilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-595
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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