What is Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)?

A persistent postural perceptual dizziness or PPPD usually strikes people between the age group of 30 to 50 years. PPPD is a condition of chronic dizziness arising out of vestibular disorders.

Renowned German neurologists, Thomas Brandt and Marianne Dieterich first explained about Phobic Postural Vertigo (PPV) in 1986 as a condition of postural non-vertiginous dizziness with recurrent dizzy episodes. Between 2000 – 2014 scientists around the world researched and developed on the concept of PPV and termed it as a combination of Chronic Subjective Dizziness (CSD) and PPV and coined the condition as Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness or PPPD.

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The PPPD condition results from triggers of visual vertigo and postural discomfort due to one’s own or other’s motion.

Causes of Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

  1. Vestibular disorders are the primary causes of PPPD, such as
  1. Medical conditions such as Stroke, Dysrhythmias, Dysautonomia
  2. Brain injury as Whiplash, Concussion
  3. Side-effects of a medication
  4. Psychiatric disorders as Panic attacks, Anxiety, Stress, Depression, OCD may also contribute to PPPD condition.

Symptoms of PPPD

PPPD poses chronic dizziness and unsteadiness for prolonged months, say, 3 months or more, but without vertigo sensation. The condition affects the normal daily lives of patients with the patients experiencing imbalance on a constant everyday basis. The Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness may strike suddenly, or certain postures or activities may trigger the dizziness.

The PPPD patients may also feel like rocking or swaying to the sides.

Activities that aggravate PPPD symptoms

Patients with PPPD need to be cautious when

  • Making any head or body movements
  • Reading
  • Changing postures such as sitting down or standing up
  • Using a computer
  • Presented with visually stimulating environments, such as busy roads, shopping complexes, movie theatre, crowded places etc.

Most often, PPPD sets in owing to the triggers. It is also observed that PPPD mostly accompanies vestibular disorders, making diagnosis difficult. Hence, the doctors suggest a battery of diagnostic tests to understand the Chronic Subjective Dizziness (CSD) pattern and arrive at a right diagnosis of PPPD. Mainly the period of dizziness and the frequency of dizzy episodes is observed to diagnose a PPPD condition.

Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness Treatment

PPPD is treated with a combination of medications and vestibular rehabilitation program.

Primarily, patients are put on SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and SNRIs (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) to address chronic dizziness and unsteadiness.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is recommended to the patients as a long-term treatment that brings a more lasting remedy for PPPD.

Balance workouts and habituation exercises help PPPD patients desensitize and get used to stimulation due to motion and complex sensory environments. NeuroEquilibrium has developed an effective line of treatment using virtual reality technology to reduce visual vertigo. PPPD patients will benefit greatly from this treatment module. For more information contact our Advanced Vertigo and Balance Clinics.

VRT emphasises improving stability and confidence of the patients with balance disorders.

Since dizziness may arise from numerous central, peripheral, or vascular conditions, one must go through a thorough diagnosis that helps arrive at accurate findings of cause and condition causing balance disorder. Accordingly, medication and VRT can be recommended to the patients.

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