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Understanding Mal de Debarquement Syndrome: Causes and symptoms

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Boating Accidents

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that causes individuals to experience a persistent sensation of rocking or swaying movement, typically occurring after exposure to certain types of motion, such as when traveling by boat or airplane. MdDS can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

Discover more about the causes and symptoms of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome.

Causes of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

The exact cause of MdDS remains unclear, but experts believe it results from a mismatch between visual and vestibular sensory inputs in the brain. Prolonged exposure to movement or repetitive motion stimuli, such as during boat or air travel, can trigger the onset of MdDS in susceptible individuals. Continuous motion disrupts the brain’s ability to readjust to stable surroundings once the motion has ceased, leading to the constant feeling of rocking or swaying.

Symptoms of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

MdDS is when a person feels continuously rocked, swayed or bobbed. This sensation is typically more pronounced when the person is still, such as when sitting or lying down, and often improves with actual motion, including walking or driving.

Additional common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, headaches, anxiety and depression. These symptoms can significantly impact daily activities, social interactions and overall well-being.

Diagnosis and Management of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

Diagnosing MdDS can be challenging due to symptom overlap with other conditions. A healthcare professional will conduct a thorough evaluation, including a detailed medical history and specialized tests, to reach an accurate diagnosis. While no specific cure exists for MdDS, various management strategies can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

These may include vestibular rehabilitation therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medications to address associated symptoms and lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise and stress management techniques.

Raising awareness about Mal de Debarquement Syndrome is essential to support those affected by this often misunderstood and underdiagnosed condition.


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