Depersonalization Experiences Are Strongly Associated With Dizziness and Vertigo Symptoms Leading to Increased Health Care Consumption in the German General Population

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This study investigated the association of depersonalization (DP) experiences with dizziness and its impact on subjective impairment and health care use. Trained interviewers surveyed a representative sample of 1287 persons using standardized self-rating questionnaires on dizziness, DP, and mental distress. Symptoms of dizziness were reported by 15.8% (n = 201). Thereof, 62.7% endorsed at least one symptom of DP, 40% reported impairment by symptoms of DP, and 8.5% reported clinically significant DP. Regression analyses identified DP as a significant, independent predictor for dizziness symptom severity, health care use, and impairment by dizziness. With regard to the Vertigo Symptom Scale, DP explained 34.1% (p < 0.001) of the variance for severity of symptoms of dysfunction in the balance system. In conclusion, symptoms of DP, highly prevalent in patients complaining of dizziness and vertigo, were independently associated with increased impairment and health care use. The presence of DP symptoms should actively be explored in patients complaining of dizziness.

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