What Does Dizziness Have to do With Sobriety?
“I don’t have a drinking problem,” said Dean Martin. “I drink. I fall down. No problem.”
The singer, movie actor and television celebrity who died on Christmas Day, 1995, was known publicly for his alcoholic “schtick.” Behind the scenes, Martin seldom drank. What you saw in his glass was apple juice, according to his long-time comedy partner Jerry Lewis.
Towards the end of his life though, it was a different story. Martin let all restraint and inhibitions go and became “one of us” â€” an alcoholic.
Martin’s comment about falling is something every alcoholic can relate to. We’ve all “been there, done that” â€” many of us more than once.
What about the causes of dizziness that can happen after we’re sober. Months, years sometimes, after we’ve quit, the dizziness can return. What is that all about?
Vertigo is the feeling of movement when we are not moving. Recovery can take seconds, hours or months and can come in several forms.
The most common types are:
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV is the most common causes of vertigo and causes short periods of mild to intense dizziness. Usually triggered by changing the position of the head as when tipping your head up or down, or when you are in bed and either turn over or sit up.
While it can be bothersome, it’s rarely dangerous. Effective treatment for BPPV can be done during a physician’s office visit.
Labyrinthitis (inner ear infection)
Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear and, besides vertigo, may also cause hearing loss or persistent ringing. Labyrinthitis may happen as a single attack or be a continuing condition that fades away between three and six weeks. Often associated with nausea and vomiting, it may also be related to eye nystagmus.
Despite research, causation is still not clear. Labyrinthitis can happen because of a head injury, stress, allergy or a reaction to medicine. Approximately 30-percent of individuals affected had a common cold before developing the disease.
In many instances, the condition is self-limiting, and in 95-percent of cases, it is a one-time happening with most fully recovering.
Meniere’s Disease or Endolymphatic Hydrops
Meniere’s disease is a dysfunction in the inner ear marked by episodes vertigo and fullness in the ear. Often just one ear is affected, but both may become involved over time. The episodes may stick around between 20 minutes and several hours and the time between occurrences alters.
While the reason is not explicit, most researchers believe genetic and environmental factors are involved. Two popular theories for why it occurs include blood vessel constriction and viral infection.
Despite incurable, there are treatments to help with the symptoms which can include nausea and anxiety. Physical therapy often helps with balance while counseling can help with anxiety. Using tympanostomy tubes is popular, but there is insufficient evidence of the tubes effectiveness.
Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut, was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease in 1964. Following endolymphatic surgery, Shepard flew to the Moon on Apollo 14.
Nelson, J. (2017). What Does Dizziness Have to do With Sobriety?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 30, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sober-life/2017/04/what-does-dizziness-have-to-do-with-sobriety/