Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is a condition that is characterized by long-term sensations of rocking or swaying. MdDS develops when an individual experiences a motion activity (cruises, airplane rides, or long car rides) and then the motion stops.
Symptoms of MdDS may include a rocking or swaying sensation, headaches, fatigue, light sensitivity, difficulty focusing, and anxiety or depression. Affected individuals typically comment that they experience a temporary relief in symptoms if they experience constant motion activities again, like driving in a car. Symptoms of MdDS typically last for months to years.
At this time, there is not an exact test to determine if someone is experiencing MdDS. After taking a health history (which reports the recent motion activity), in addition to other tests to exclude other conditions, a specialist can make a formal diagnosis. MdDS typically affects women between the ages of 40 and 50. The official cause for this condition is unknown.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for MdDS, but there are several options to help treat the symptoms. Common treatment options may include avoiding stressful or crowded situations, avoiding looking downward for extended periods of time, and certain types of exercise that focus on balance (vestibular). Support groups are good resources of support and information. Most general practice doctors are unfamiliar with MdDS at this time. Therefore, if you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of Mal de debarquement syndrome, seek out a specialist to discuss the most current treatment options.