Approaches To Therapy For Dizziness

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Dizziness is something that many people experience at some point in their lives, whether from motion sickness, illness, or something else entirely. While it may not indicate anything severe, consistent dizziness and balance issues could indicate a more serious condition that may require physical therapy and rehabilitation. 

Could your dizziness be a sign of a mental health condition?

There are several approaches to therapy that may help alleviate dizziness and identify the root cause of the issue. It can be important for individuals experiencing dizziness to seek therapy, as it may indicate the presence of a physical or mental health condition that could require further intervention. From vestibular rehabilitation therapy to cognitive behavioral techniques, several therapies may be able to help manage symptoms, identify underlying causes, and improve quality of life. Keep reading to learn more about the different approaches to therapy that can help improve dizziness.

Conditions that come from dizziness

Dizziness is a common symptom in a few different types of neurological and mental health conditions. Dizziness often indicates a disruption to the vestibular labyrinth, a key sensory organ in the inner ear. A negatively impacted vestibular labyrinth may affect the central nervous system, which can lead to adverse physical and cognitive symptoms. 

Dizzy spells and balance issues are common symptoms of Meniere's disease and vestibular neuritis, two conditions that can seriously affect a person's quality of life. It is also regularly identified in those who experience mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

To improve functioning and overall well-being, people with these conditions may need to seek appropriate mental health and physical therapy interventions. Below, we'll explore several conditions that may have dizziness as a symptom. 

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a condition characterized by brief episodes of vertigo and dizziness. It is a very common type of dizziness and balance disorder known to be the most common cause of vertigo, which is a false sensation of spinning or moving. BPPV results from a disruption in fluid balance in the inner ear, which is thought to be caused by head injury, aging, and/or environmental factors. BPPV is the most common inner ear condition known to cause dizziness. 

Treatment for BPPV typically involves a procedure called Canalith repositioning maneuver (CRM). This involves positioning the patient's body into different positions to allow gravity to help move debris trapped in the labyrinth out of harm's way. After a successful CRM, patients may experience immediate relief from symptoms and may need to complete additional exercises and activities prescribed by their doctor to strengthen and balance their muscles and enhance vestibular function.

Vestibular neuritis

Vestibular neuritis is an inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo and dizziness. It is caused by an inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which carries information from the inner ear to the brain. Symptoms usually start suddenly and may include intense vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and balance issues. Other symptoms might include hearing loss or tinnitus in one ear. Treatment typically involves vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) to help reduce symptoms such as dizziness and improve overall balance. According to experts, inner ear conditions such as these may increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and dementia. 

Anxiety disorders

Dizziness may also be caused by a variety of anxiety-related conditions. In some cases, sudden bouts of anxiety may lead to severe physiological effects that may cause feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, and nausea. This is often a result of sudden and severe increased blood pressure, which can lead to the onset of these symptoms. In the most extreme cases, the combination of anxiety and these physical effects may lead to panic attacks and a loss of consciousness. Coping with dizziness related to anxiety may require targeted therapy and lifestyle changes. Therapy may help people manage their stress levels which can help to reduce the onset of physical symptoms such as dizziness. 

Treatment and therapy options for dizziness

If you or someone you know is experiencing consistent dizziness, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), or vertigo, it can be important to seek out a professional diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan. If left untreated, these conditions may increase the risk of developing mental health conditions and neurological disorders that can severely impact your ability to lead a productive, healthy lifestyle. 


There is a strong link between physical symptoms such as dizziness and various mental health conditions, which can make it important to seek professional assistance if you are experiencing consistent bouts of dizziness, vertigo, confusion, or related symptoms. Some of the main preventive approaches used to treat dizziness and related conditions include:

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT)

VRT focuses on physical therapy techniques to restore balance and coordination through exercises that reprogram the brain's balance system. The goal is to reduce the brain's reliance on signals from the inner ear to control balance and retrain it to interpret sensory information more accurately. 

VRT may include specific exercises with a physical therapist, including head movements, eye exercises, gait training, postural stability activities, chair exercises, and stretching. VRT providers may also provide education about improving overall physical health to minimize symptoms, which may include getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a healthy diet. Through this type of therapy, patients may gain greater control over their symptoms and be more equipped to lead a healthy lifestyle.

VRT also incorporates cognitive behavioral strategies such as relaxation techniques and mindfulness practices, which can be extremely beneficial for managing stress related to dizziness or vertigo episodes. These activities have been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety or fear. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be used to help individuals who experience dizziness due to anxiety and/or panic attacks. CBT works by helping individuals identify and challenge problematic thoughts or behaviors to improve their overall mood and well-being. Specifically, in the case of dizziness-induced anxiety, this means teaching individuals strategies to manage the physical sensations of dizziness and associated fears. 

These methods may include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness-based skills training
  • Exposure therapy

Additionally, CBT may involve confronting fears by engaging in activities that cause feelings of dizziness and anxiety. By doing so in a safe space with guidance from a therapist, individuals may be more equipped to cope with these episodes when they arise in everyday life. CBT may also be used in combination with anti-anxiety medications to reduce the severity of anxiety symptoms and improve an individual's ability to participate in talk therapy strategies.  

According to experts, psychotherapy may be an effective choice for managing and treating conditions that are defined by symptoms of dizziness, tinnitus, headaches, and similar symptoms. Research suggests that there is a significant overlap between the mental and physical causation of these symptoms, making CBT a potentially effective approach for managing relevant symptoms and identifying the underlying causes. 

Online therapy for mental health concerns

While dizziness itself is not a mental health issue, it may be a consistent symptom for individuals who experience concerns such as anxiety and depression. For these individuals, it might be difficult to participate in in-person therapy sessions. Online therapy may provide a more practical form of therapy that they can participate in from the comfort of their own homes. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, these individuals can connect with a licensed therapist through phone calls, video chats, or in-app messaging. 

Could your dizziness be a sign of a mental health condition?

According to one study, CBT strategies delivered through online therapy effectively treat conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depression, panic disorder, and other mental health conditions that include dizziness as a symptom. CBT is an approach to mental health that works by teaching people how to recognize their negative thoughts and reframe them to be more helpful. While every individual may require a unique treatment strategy, online CBT may be an effective method for identifying the underlying causes of symptoms and developing newer and healthier coping mechanisms. 


Dizziness is a common symptom that has been linked to both physical and mental health conditions. Therapy strategies such as CBT and physical therapy may help minimize symptoms and address the underlying causes of dizziness. With proper treatment and self-care practices, those experiencing dizziness may be able to find more effective ways to manage their stress levels and dizziness due to anxiety or depression. Those struggling to make it to in-person therapy sessions because of their symptoms could benefit from online interventions through platforms such as BetterHelp. By connecting with a therapist from the comfort of one's home, individuals can receive guidance and advice that aligns with their goals toward improved physical and mental well-being.
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