Your all-inclusive cruise might not be all-inclusive after all! Although seasickness is nothing new for most people, few know about a much rarer side effect of — at least what should be! — a relaxing cruise, plane flight, or car trip: Mal de Debarquement syndrome. Those afflicted with Mal de Debarquement syndrome end up paying for their trip long after they return to land.
Little is truly known about what causes Mal de Debarquement syndrome, but it is a disorder of the balance system set off by exposure to motion. By definition, it is the sense of imbalance and/or movement that persists for more than two days after a cruise, plane flight, car trip, train ride, or other “ride.” Interestingly, there is usually NO accompanying nausea.
Although “sea legs” are common after prolonged exposure to motion, they should last less than two days. Unfortunately, there are no documented preventive measures for Mal de Debarquement syndrome, but those prone to motion sickness may benefit from taking motion sickness remedies to prevent or mitigate these symptoms from the initial moment they step into a car, plane, train or ship.
Those suffering from Mal de Debarquement often feel as if they are rocking and swaying while steady on land. This can cause dizziness and headaches, and sufferers might become anxious and depressed. Thus, early diagnosis is very important! The most effective treatments have included Cawthorne vestibular strengthening exercises and vestibular rehab training.
As an expert ENT, Dr. Michelle Yagoda works hand-in-hand with audiologists to help educate, diagnosis, and treat those with Mal de Debarquement syndrome. As the official Mal de Debarquement awareness month approaches in June, she hopes to raise more awareness of this little-understood phenomenon.