3PD is a New Name for a Common and Under Recognized Cause of Dizziness

Very few physicians have ever heard of ‘3PD’, which stands for Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness. 3PD is a new name for a medical condition formerly known as ‘phobic postural vertigo’ or ‘chronic subjective dizziness’. As the features, diagnostic criteria and treatment options of 3PD have been refined over the years, 3PD will appear for the first time in the ICD-11 (11th version of the International Classification of Diseases), being released in 2017. So, if you are a healthcare provider and have never heard of 3PD, this article offers the opportunity to be on the leading edge of being able to recognize this condition in your patients.  If you are someone who suffers from dizziness that no one has been able to treat effectively, see if the description of 3PD below resembles your symptoms.

What is 3PD? 3PD is a non-vertiginous (non-spinning), waxing-waning dizzinessand/or unsteadiness, persisting for at least 3 months, with symptoms present at least 15 days per month, but typically daily. 3PD often follows a separate triggering event (vestibular neuritisvestibular migraineMeniere’s, head injury) that caused dizziness, vertigo or unsteadiness. With the anxiety or worry over an underlying sinister cause (i.e., tumor) of these dizzy symptoms or with the anticipation of having another vestibular attack, symptoms of 3PD develop.

What are the symptoms of 3PD? The symptoms of 3PD include dizziness and /or unsteadiness, worse when upright, head or body in motion, and in visually busy environments, becoming worse later in the day. Worsening of symptoms in grocery or large stores, when reading, scrolling on the computer or cell phone, and with exposure to complex patterns on carpeting, wallpaper or clothing, is common. Fatigue and trouble concentrating may develop.  The dizziness and/or unsteadiness becomes intrusive and the symptoms of 3PD have been called elsewhere (www.neurosymptoms.org) the “balance equivalent of tinnitus”.

How is 3PD treated? Once other causes are ruled out with appropriate vestibular function and/or other diagnostic testing, a combination of medications, such as benzodiazepines and SSRIs, and vestibular rehabilitation therapy is often effective. With significant underlying anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy may also be helpful.

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