Understanding Disembarkment Syndrome
Disembarkment syndrome is a medical condition that may occur following a sustained motion event like an aircraft flight or cruise. It is a neurological condition that is normally diagnosed by a neurologist when the sufferer reports a persistent swaying, rocking, or bobbing sensation. Disembarkment syndrome is often baffling to the doctor attempting to diagnose the condition.
Symptoms of Disembarkment Syndrome
The most common symptoms of disembarkment syndrome are a persistent, subjective experience of motion like swaying, bobbing, or rocking. It typically involves problems with maintaining balance. Sufferers from the condition tend to grow fatigued rapidly and experience back and neck pain.
Additional symptoms may include a feeling of pressure in the frontal part of the skull, headaches, ear pain, tinnitus, and ear fullness.
Changes in weather conditions tend to affect sufferers of disembarkment syndrome, particularly weather changes like drops in barometric pressure and hot weather. Photo-sensitivity is another common symptom that may make it difficult to move around in the dark. “Brain fog” is a cognitive problem that may prevent the sufferer from recalling certain words, impair their ability to multi-task, or exhibit short-term memory loss.
Lack of sleep, crowds, loud sounds, flickering lights, sudden movements, and enclosed areas may worsen symptoms in some sufferers. Some people with disembarkment syndrome may sleep far beyond their usual sleep times.
Symptoms are sometimes alleviated when the patient returns to the motion that led to their initial symptoms. However, once this motion stops, symptoms can return, often in a much stronger way than when initial symptoms were developed.
Disembarkment syndrome symptoms are often debilitating to the patient. They may fluctuate on a daily basis and have an extremely negative impact on the patient’s work capacity. Many patients must limit their work or even quit their jobs. The condition can also have a negative impact on their social activities and lead to a lower quality of life.
Disembarkment syndrome cannot be explained by inner ear pathology or structural brain pathology. It is most often linked to some type of motion trigger and velocity storage.
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