Dizziness is a common issue. If you have dizziness, you may feel woozy and disoriented. You may feel as if you’re about to lose your balance. Many things may make you dizzy, such as anxiety or a reaction to medication. But dizziness may be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having frequent or serious dizzy spells.


Dizziness is commonly caused by inner ear infections (top right), labyrinthitis (center) and vestibular neuritis (far right).
Dizziness is feeling woozy or unsteady. Many things can make you feel dizzy. Inner ear disorders are a common cause. Inner ear disorders include inner ear infections (top right), labyrinthitis (center) and vestibular neuritis (far right).

What is dizziness?

Healthcare providers describe dizziness as having impaired or disturbed spatial orientation. You might describe dizziness as feeling woozy or light headed. You may feel as if you need to sit down before you fall down. Frequent or severe dizziness may affect your quality of life. People experience dizziness in different ways, including:

  • Feeling faint.
  • Feeling nauseous.
  • Feeling unsteady on their feet, as if they lost their sense of balance.
  • Feeling disoriented or confused.


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Possible Causes

What causes dizziness?

Dizziness happens when something affects your sense of balance. A stable sense of balance requires a steady flow of information from your ears, eyes, tissues and central nervous system. Your central nervous system uses this information to tell your body how to maintain balance.

When something disrupts the flow, your central nervous system can process information incorrectly and you can feel unsteady and dizzy. Inner ear disorders, neurological conditions, medications and even stress may make you feel dizzy.

Inner ear disorders

Other medical conditions

  • Anemia. Anemia is not having enough red blood cells. Dizziness is a common anemia symptom.
  • Acoustic neuroma. Noncancerous tumors in your inner ear may affect your balance and make you feel dizzy.
  • Cardiovascular issues. Issues that affect the flow of blood to your brain such as irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), low blood pressure, (hypotension) or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) may make you feel dizzy.
  • Concussion. This head injury damages your brain and causes dizziness, among other symptoms.
  • Neurological diseases or disorders. Migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease are examples of neurological disorders that affect your sense of balance and make you feel dizzy.

Other common causes

Medical conditions and other issues that may cause dizziness include:

Care and Treatment

How is dizziness treated?

Dizziness treatment depends on the cause. For example, if you’re dizzy because you have an inner ear infection, your healthcare provider will treat the infection. If you’re taking medications that make you feel dizzy, your provider may recommend you limit activities until your body adjusts to the medication. Some people benefit from a vestibular test battery to help determine if dizziness is due to an inner ear problem and vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) to help treat the dizziness. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy involves exercises to manage dizziness symptoms.

Can I treat dizziness at home?

No, but you can manage dizziness. If you’re feeling dizzy, lie down until dizziness passes. When you get up, be sure to move slowly and carefully.

What are the possible complications or risks of not treating dizziness?

Dizziness may not seem as if it’s a symptom of a serious issue, but you should still talk to a healthcare provider if you’re frequently dizzy:

  • Dizziness may be a symptom of medical conditions that could get worse if left untreated.
  • Dizziness is a balance issue, increasing your risk of falling and possibly being injured.
  • Dizziness may make it unsafe for you to drive vehicles.
  • Sometimes, dizziness may make it hard for you to work or manage your daily tasks and responsibilities.


Can dizziness be prevented?

The best way to prevent dizziness is to find out why you’re dizzy. For example, if you become dizzy when you’re dehydrated, you may prevent dizziness by drinking enough water. If you take blood pressure medication that makes you dizzy, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different medication or dosage. Unfortunately, you can’t predict or prevent all things that cause dizziness, such as a neurological disorder.

When To Call the Doctor

When should a healthcare provider treat dizziness?

Talk to your provider if:

  • Dizziness affects your ability to go about your day.
  • Dizziness doesn’t go away or keeps coming back.


Additional Common Questions

What’s the difference between dizziness and vertigo?

With vertigo, you have a sensation that you’re moving through space or your surroundings are spinning. Dizziness is an overall feeling of being unbalanced.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Everyone has dizzy spells — a sudden wooziness that comes and goes. But some people have severe or frequent dizziness that disrupts their daily lives. Talk to a healthcare provider if you often feel very dizzy. That way, you’ll know why you’re dizzy and what you can do to manage dizziness.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 04/03/2023.

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