Question by Jeanmarie: Labyrinthitis, went to hospital with severe dizziness and vomiting?
I am miserable. I’m on meclizine and diazepam which helps but puts me to sleep. I understand it’s inflammation of the inner ear but what can cause the inflammation? And what can cure this? Do I have to live with this forever? Help…The Dr’s don’t seen to know what the cause is, “maybe a virus, maybe stress” they don’t know.
Answer by miss_gretchen21
Labyrinthitis is a balance disorder. It is an inflammatory process affecting the labyrinths that house the vestibular system (which sense changes in head position) of the inner ear.
In addition to balance control problems, a labyrinthitis patient may encounter hearing loss and tinnitus. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a virus, but it can also arise from bacterial infection, head injury, extreme stress, an allergy or as a reaction to a particular medicine. Both bacterial and viral labyrinthitis can cause permanent hearing loss, although this is rare.
Labyrinthitis often follows an upper respiratory tract infection (URI).
Recovery from acute labyrinthine inflammation generally takes from one to six weeks; however, it is not uncommon for residual symptoms (dysequilibrium and/or dizziness) to last for many months or even years if permanent damage occurs.
Recovery from a permanently damaged inner ear typically follows three phases:
1. An acute period, which may include severe vertigo and vomiting
2. approximately two weeks of subacute symptoms and rapid recovery
3. finally a period of chronic compensation which may last for months or years.
 Labyrinthitis and anxiety
Chronic anxiety is a common side effect of labyrinthitis which can produce tremors, heart palpitations, panic attacks, derealization and depression. Often a panic attack is one of the first symptoms to occur as labyrinthitis begins. While dizziness can occur from extreme anxiety, labyrinthitis itself can precipitate a panic disorder. Three models have been proposed to explain the relationship between vestibular dysfunction and panic disorder:
* Psychosomatic model: vestibular dysfunction which occurs as a result of anxiety.
* Somatopsychic model: panic disorder triggered by misinterpreted internal stimuli (e.g., stimuli from vestibular dysfunction), that are interpreted as signifying imminent physical danger. Heightened sensitivity to vestibular sensations leads to increased anxiety and, through conditioning, drives the development of panic disorder.
* Network alarm theory: panic which involves noradrenergic, serotonergic, and other connected neuronal systems. According to this theory, panic can be triggered by stimuli that set off a false alarm via afferents to the locus ceruleus, which then triggers the neuronal network. This network is thought to mediate anxiety and includes limbic, midbrain and prefrontal areas. Vestibular dysfunction in the setting of increased locus ceruleus sensitivity may be a potential trigger.
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