Posted by: seattledizzygroup | July 31, 2016

Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS)

Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDs)

Travel adventures often cause temporary motion sickness, but in rare cases motion sickness may persist long after travels.

Mal de Débarquement Syndrome or Disembark­ment Sickness is a rare neurological disorder (also considered a balance disorder though not resulting from an inner ear disorder or labyrinthitis) that most often develops following an ocean cruise. Less often, a perceived sense of motion follows air, train, or auto travel. In fact, any motion experience can result in symptoms, and cases of spontaneous onset have been reported.

MdDs is not common “sea sickness.” The characteristic symptom of MdDs is a persistent sensation of motion (such as rocking, swaying, bobbing, etc.). Other common MdDs symptoms include disequilibrium (unsteadiness or imbalance) or ataxia (staggering gait), impaired cognition (difficulty concentrating,  confusion, or memory loss), and fatigue.  Additionally, MdDs may cause dizziness, nausea, headache, and visual sensitivity (for example, intolerance of flickering lights, busy patterns or environments, etc.). Symptoms of MdDs often seem to be alleviated in passive motion such as in a moving car, plane, train, etc. However, the symptoms of MdDs return when motion is stopped. Feeling relief of symptoms during motion and having the abnormal sensation of motion return as soon as the motion activity is suspended is an important feature in the diagnosis of MdDs.

MdDS is not life-threatening, but it is life-altering. While the intensity of symptoms is highly variable among patients, they may be quite disabling and may persist for years. If remission is achieved, the recurrence rate of MdDS is high and symptoms usually more severe.

Unfortunately, MdDS is frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, lacks an effective treatment or cure, and the cause remains unknown.

(Information from: and


Help Stop the Rock

Every June, MdDs Foundation encourages others to help “stop the rock” by promoting awareness of Mal de Débarquement Syndrome. 

Find out more about MdDs Awareness Month.

More Information About MdDs:

VEDA Overview of MdDs

Dr. Timothy Hain Overview of MdDs


© Copyright 2016, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Post updated July 2018.


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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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