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katherine's picture

Mal de Debarquement

Stacy’s post that mentioned mal de debarquement syndrome made me curious about this condition.  After getting off a boat, many people feel like they are still rocking on a boat temporarily, but in rare cases, the condition can last for months of even years.  I came across a story in the BBC about a woman who has been suffering from mdds for four years!  She has tried a variety of treatments and even contacted experts in the field for advice, but nothing has been successful. 

Stacy wondered if anyone had any ideas about what may cause this condition, but I am completely baffled.  It seems logical that immediately after you got off of a boat you might still feel like you were rocking because your system has gotten used to the sensation and has synchronized itself with the rocking motion; when you get off, it takes time for your body to adjust to its new surroundings.  What really confuses me is that this condition can last for months or years.  Given that some people recover from this condition relatively quickly and others, like the woman in the article, never recover it seems that some people suffer some sort of permanent change.  But what is it?  For people that experience mdds for just a few months and then recover, why?  What accounts for these differences?

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