Any advice for a sufferer of MdDS (Mal de debarquement)?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

I know that getting an answer is a long shot but here goes ...

A friend of mine was diagnosed a while ago with MdDS.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about this syndrome:

Mal de debarquement (or Mal de d??barquement) syndrome (MdDS, or disembarkment syndrome) is a rare condition usually occurring after a cruise, aircraft flight, or other sustained motion event. It has only recently received attention and very little scientific research has been conducted. The phrase "mal de d??barquement" is French for "disembarkation sickness".

Symptoms most frequently reported include a persistent sensation of motion usually described as rocking, swaying, or bobbing; difficulty maintaining balance; extreme fatigue; and difficulty concentrating ("brain fog"). Other common symptoms include dizziness, visual disturbances (such as seeing motion, inability to focus etc.), headaches and/or migraine headaches, confusion, and anxiety. Many patients also describe ear symptoms such as hyperacusis, tinnitus, "fullness", pain, or even decreased hearing. Cognitive impairment ("brain fog") includes an inability to recall words, short term memory loss, and an inability to multi-task.

Have any of you heard of MdDS and of any dietary interventions that could help?



on May 30, 2012
at 02:20 AM

I know nothing of this condition, but this part of the article was more helpful to me (also from Wikipedia): "In MdDS, the symptoms persist for more than a month, possibly for many years, and sometimes do not resolve at all. This differs from the very common condition of "land sickness" that most people feel for a short time after a motion event such as a boat cruise, aircraft ride, or even a treadmill routine. MdDS is thought to be a neurological syndrome with no known cause or cure. Research is being undertaken into the neurological nature of this syndrome through imaging studies."

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7 Answers


on June 01, 2012
at 01:04 PM

I have suffered from Mal deDebarkment Syndrome for almost 10 years now. It hit me after a 2 week cruise when our ship hit rough seas. I was never seasick a single day on the ship, unlike other people on our mega-ship. But the morning after getting home I took 3 steps out of bed & fell flat on my face. That started nearly a year of test after test & doctor after doctor. I was treated with different medications which did no good. To make a long story short, it took 2 1/2 years for a definate diagnosis.Then it took another 3 1/2 years (due to insurance cnstraints) to get to the specialist (Dr, David Zee) at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for more testing & confirming of the diagnosis. There is NO cure, only some things that may help to aleviate the symptoms. For me, I am on a regimine of B-12 & Clonazepam. My condition was helped for a time with 2 years of "Curves" Program. My condition gets somewhat tolerable but is unpredictable. I do get much worse when my sinus condition acts-up due to allergies, stress also makes matters worse. My best wishes to you. I do hope that you can get to a Neurologist who will not just fluff this off. It IS real, it is not anything to fool with. Get a good doctor!


on May 30, 2012
at 03:17 AM

Fascinating -- I had a vacation last summer that involved being on the ocean in various small craft quite a bit, and I got a pretty bad "wavy" motion sensation on land during the trip which persisted, gradually diminishing, for a good number of weeks after I returned. It was not pleasant and I worried somewhat. I don't recall the host of other symptoms mentioned, though -- maybe a bit of queasiness secondary to the wavy feeling. And yes I was already paleo then. No suggestions, sorry. But I'm not planning any oceanic recreation any time soon again.


on April 09, 2013
at 01:18 AM

I think paleo is working to relieve this syndrome. The first day I was grain free was a huge improvement. When I eat some bread or grains, I get it worse. I couldn't believe it, but it was really an improvement. Don't take clonazepam, it might be tempting because it is a big valium and makes you not feel the rocking, but it's a drug and addictive and too risky.



on June 01, 2012
at 05:50 PM

Going 100% gluten-free may help since there seems to be a connection with gluten & vertigo for some folk.




on June 01, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Planes are strayed with harsh anti-biotics, it may be a reaction to them.

Last time I got on a plane I was really really sick for days.



on May 30, 2012
at 12:50 AM

I thought that was called getting your land legs back. Um ... time?



on May 29, 2012
at 05:41 PM

Isn't it just reverse sea sickness? Just spending time on land should fix, right? How long have they had it?

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