Two hundred and two consecutive patients with dizziness were evaluated using blind neuro-otological testing and examination, blind psychiatric examination, including structured interviews (according to DSM-IV), the Symptom Check-List (SCL 90 R), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). In 28% of the patients (N = 50) dizziness was of organic origin (O group); in 55.3% (N = 99) of psychogenic origin (P group) and in 16.8% comorbid psychiatric disorders were found (Mixed group). In 5.3% (N = 10) neither organic nor psychiatric results could be found, which could explain the dizziness (Ideopathic group). Compared with the Organic group the patients with psychiatric disorders (P and Mixed group) had much more extensive workups for dizziness, intense emotional distress (anxiety, depression), greater handicaps, and high somatization scores. In the P and Mixed groups three main subgroups of psychiatric disorders could be found: anxiety (N = 56), depressive (N = 20), and somatoform disorders (N = 53). Patients with anxiety and depressive disorders showed the greatest emotional distress and handicaps. The results indicate that psychiatric disorders, above all anxiety disorders, should be included in the differential diagnosis in patients with a long duration of dizziness and great handicaps. An interdisciplinary treatment (including psychiatric treatment) would be superior to an exclusive somatic one. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
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