Our brain receives information from different systems:

  • the Visual System (eyes, brainstem)
  • the Vestibular system (inner ear, VIII cranial nerve, pathways into the cerebellum)
  • the so-called Propriozeptivem system (part of the nervous system that informs us, for example, about joint position, body position, depth sensitivity).

If there is contradictory or insufficient information here, uncertainty or dizziness arises. Roughly speaking, we therefore distinguish between several "forms of vertigo".

The rotary vertigo (as in carousel) usually arises as a result of a disturbance of the vestibular systemThe inner ear and the VIII cranial nerve pathways leading to the brain. Cranial nerve leading to the brain. The affected person has the feeling that the images before his eyes always run away jerkily in the same direction. This phenomenon is called "Nystagmus" and may be observed by a careful observer in the form of involuntary jerky eye movement at the moment of violent vertigo. Common clinical pictures with spinning vertigo attacks are:

  • the benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • the inflammatory unilateral failure of an inner ear, often in the context of a viral infection (Neuropathia vestibularis)
  • the Meniere's diseasewhich is characterized by frequent attacks of spinning vertigo with unilateral ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and which often leads to progressive hearing loss in the affected ear over the years.

Rare causes are localized strokes, tumors or inflammations such as in multiple sclerosis.

Swan Dizziness
A staggering dizziness is rather caused by a diffuse disturbance of the brain center, for example as a result of circulatory disturbances or by medication side effects. As a rule, it occurs less in the form of attacks and more constantly. As a normal phenomenon, it occurs shortly after getting up too quickly or when the blood pressure is too low.

It is not always easy to get away from the frequently occurring "phobic impostor." which, in contrast to the other forms of vertigo, is a psychological phenomenon in the context of an anxiety disorder. The affected person often speaks of dizziness, but means a diffuse kind of "lightheadedness" or reports brief attacks of dizziness in certain situations, such as when crossing empty squares. This dizziness is usually associated with anxiety.

New and sudden dizziness should be taken seriously, it could also be a stroke, for example, and should be clarified immediately neurologically.

Further information:

The German Centre for Dizziness is an integrated research and treatment centre for dizziness, balance and eye movement disorders.

Support group for Meniere's disease