Cognitive behavior therapy for chronic subjective dizziness: A randomized, controlled trial

Sarah Edelman, Alison E J Mahoney*, Phillip D. Cremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a brief cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) intervention on the physical symptoms, illness-related disability, and psychologic distress of patients with chronic subjective dizziness. Materials and methods: Forty-one patients with chronic subjective dizziness referred by a neurootologic clinic were randomly assigned to immediate treatment or a wait-list control. Three weekly treatment sessions based on the CBT model of panic disorder, adapted for patients with dizziness, were administered by a clinical psychologist. Treatment included psychoeducation, behavioral experiments, exposure to feared stimuli, and attentional refocusing. Outcomes were measured on the Dizziness Handicap Inventory and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales. Two further measures developed for this study; the Dizziness Symptoms Inventory and the Safety Behaviours Inventory were used to measure physical symptoms and safety behaviors. Results: The intervention was associated with significant reductions in disability on the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, reduced dizziness and related physical symptoms on the Dizziness Symptoms Inventory, and reduced avoidance and safety behaviors as measured by the Safety Behaviours Inventory. Pre- to posteffect sizes ranged from 0.98 to 1.15. There was no change in psychologic outcomes measured on the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales. Conclusions: A 3-session psychologic intervention based on the CBT model can produce significant improvements in dizziness-related symptoms, disability, and functional impairment among patients with chronic subjective dizziness. This suggests that treatment of this condition may be reasonably simple and cost-effective for most of the patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

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