This study reports the psychiatric morbidity in 54 patients with objective evidence of peripheral vestibular disorder seen three to five years after their original referral. A third of the patients were free from vestibular symptoms at follow up and a further third had experienced some improvement. Two thirds of the patients had experienced psychiatric symptoms during this period, although only 50% were rated above the cut off point for significant psychiatric disturbance when interviewed. Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia and major depression were the commonest psychiatric diagnoses. Patients with classical "labyrinthine" symptoms had a more severe canal paresis than the rest, but the degree of the abnormalities in the neuro-otological tests was unrelated to outcome or to psychiatric morbidity. On the other hand, there was a significant correlation between the presence of vestibular symptoms and psychiatric morbidity, which in turn correlated with measures of anxiety, perceived stress and previous psychiatric illness.
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