Consequences on Mental Health?
Having a vestibular disorder doesn’t only affect your physical health

Dr Sarah Edelman - Clinical Psychologist 

Dr Sarah Edelman is a clinical psychologist specialising in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Debra Cowen - Art Therapist 

Can Art therapy help? 

Consequences on mental health?

Having a vestibular disorder doesn’t only affect your physical health, but also has social and mental health consequences that can dramatically impact your life.  Some people may experience anxiety and/or depression.  Some may experience a prolonged process of psychological adjustment before coming to terms with their condition.  The various phases can include denial, grief, anger, depression, resolution, acceptance. 

It’s important to learn how MD affects you.  

- Accept you have MD even though it will limit what you can do. Understanding how your condition makes you feel

- Work out what support you need

- Recognise you can get on with life by making the necessary changes 

- Connect with people in similar situations for support

- Share your experiences as this can be a great comfort knowing you are not the only one living with this condition. 

On a day to day basis we can learn to manage our anxiety and it is important choose a path that works for  you.  You can see a clinical psychologist, or go down the  alternative therapy road such as art therapy,  or learn a musical instrument, keep active, take up a hobby etc 

"When perceived threat is in the future (not immediate), we experience anxiety." (Sarah Edelman)

When stressed, anxious, angry or fearful you may be more likely to experience dizziness.  

This is because some of your body’s automatic reflexes are linked to your emotions and thoughts through a process called the fight or flight response. Your body interprets any strong emotions or frightening thoughts as a signal that you are in danger and automatically prepares your body to either fight or run away. Your heart rate increases, your breathing gets faster and blood is pumped round your body quicker. A side effect of this is that you may feel sick or dizzy as breathing too fast causes you to take in too much oxygen.

Your emotions can also be directly influenced by your thoughts. If you think that dizziness will lead to further problems this can make you feel more stressed or anxious when you become dizzy.

Tiredness and concentration

When you are tired or doing things you have to think about this can affect your balance. If you are concentrating on a mental task, your brain has less capacity spare for other tasks – such as maintaining your balance. It takes mental effort and capacity for your brain to cope with conflicting information about balance and so you may become tired and unable to concentrate when you are dizzy and while your brain is adjusting after a vertigo attack.

For more information on the balance system

 Beyond Blue 


Dr Sarah Edelman - Clinical Psychologist

Dr Sarah Edelman is a clinical psychologist specialising in the treatment of anxiety disorders.


Sarah facilitates training programs for psychologists at the Black Dog Institute Sydney and the Australian Psychological Society, runs training programs for government and business organisations, conducts public workshops on the use of CBT therapy at Sydney University Centre for Continuing Education. 

She published 'Change your Thinking" a best seller in the self-help genre.

Debra Cowen - Art Therapist

Debra Cowen is an art therapist who runs both private and group classes in Newtown NSW

Debra has an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts, Transpersonal Art Therapy and Counselling. 

She is trained as an accredited supervisor for the Australian Counselling Association.