Being dizzy may be defined as silly, scatterbrained, unbalanced or bewildered. However, its primary meaning may be a sign of health issues that may be consequences or side effects of drugs, prescribed or otherwise, and medical treatments. Unbalanced is closer to that meaning, which, according to one dictionary is “a whirling feeling with a tendency to fall.” The most recognized synonym of “dizziness” is “lightheadedness,” and just about everyone has experienced that feeling, if only briefly. Dizziness in itself is not a condition or ailment, but it is a symptom of other disorders.
What disorders include symptoms of dizziness?
People with diabetes, even Type 2 diabetics, often report occasional dizziness among their first symptoms, along with extreme thirst and frequent urination. It may also be an early symptom of high blood pressure. It could lead to vertigo, which might be described as extreme dizziness and disorientation. It could be related to an inner-ear infection, anemia and even heart ailments. If dizziness occurs frequently and with severity, you should seek medical attention.
- When the cure (medicine) becomes the cause of dizziness…
Dizziness is a potential side effect of a number of medications— something you think you have to tolerate for effective treatment a more serious condition. That may or may not be true. We do know that among the medicines where dizziness may be a side effect are sedatives and tranquilizers, antibiotics, blood pressure controls, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs. Cancer treatment via chemotherapy is also a culprit.
Following is a more specific breakdown of medications known to make you dizzy:
Depression and its most common types— major and persistent depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, seasonal depression and postpartum depression— affect 16.2 million American adults based on those treated for at least one recorded depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). These so-called drugs for depression and anxiety include, though not limited to, fluoxetine and trazodone. If you take such antidepressants, do not get off or change your prescription without consulting a doctor. If episodes of dizziness are serious, even intolerable, you might have to turn to alternative approaches like psychotherapy to keep dizziness at bay.
- Blood Pressure Medications…
Among the classes of blood pressure are ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics. Among the representative drugs are:
- ACE inhibitors for expanding or dilating your blood vessels– Lisinopril;
- Beta blockers to control high blood pressure are also used for heart angina and to control heart rhythm —Propranolol;
- Calcium channel blockers, also known as calcium antagonists, prevent calcium cells from being absorbed in blood vessel walls and the heart itself — Nifedipine
- Diuretics, known popularly as water pills, help rid your body of sodium and water – Hydrochlorothiazide and Furosemide
Note: You may be able to end your reliance on the above drugs altogether by adhering to a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise. It may not always be as simple as the obvious option of your doctor prescribing other drugs.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs, a.k.a. Anticonvulsants…
Although there may be no alternatives to controlling epileptic seizures, with dizziness being the lesser of two evils, that may not be the case for anticonvulsants used to treat the following; bipolar disorder, diabetic neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. Anticonvulsants are the group of drugs used to treat all of the above. Your doctor should be consulted to deal with the effects of dizziness via changing or stopping the medication or regulating dosages.
Some of the drugs that might be targeted are:
- Divalproex, Gabapentin and Pregabalin
- Muscle Relaxants or Relaxers…
Pain from painful sudden, involuntary muscle spasms and muscle cramping, often in the back and neck, are routinely relieved by prescription drugs. These conditions also trigger headaches, which are relieved by these medications. Typical drugs with dizziness reported as symptoms include Cyclobenzaprine and Metaxalone.
You can change the medications, as well as trying some of the following options after consulting with your physician, of course:
—Physical therapy, yoga, massage, exercise, biofeedback techniques, relaxation techniques/meditation or, if you are lucky, a heating pad
- Sedatives and Tranquilizers…
Sleep, serenity and relaxation are highly sought commodities in the United States and the sleeping pill among its most relied upon “cures”. Again, dizziness may be a side effect of some of the most popular sleeping pills, including;
- Diphenhydramine, Eszopiclone and Zolpidem
Alternatives to sleeping pills? Believe it or not, changing your lifestyle may be the most effective way to improve capacity to sleep and relax. You may need professional guidance to decide what may work for you, but we know cognitive behavioral therapy has its share of success stories. If you can sleep without such medications, episodes of dizziness could be history.
- Chest Pain or Angina…
Nitroglycerin is the go-to medicine for chest pain and it does cause dizziness. Since there are really no known alternatives to conquer the life-threatening effects of coronary artery disease, getting off this pill is not an alternative.
Note: You’ve got to take it when angina strikes, and the recommendation is to sit when taking the pill, remaining in a sitting position for several minutes after doing so.