Swaying like on a ship

Mal de débarquement syndrome

If you have ever been on a ship for a long time, you know the strange feeling when you have solid ground under your feet again: The ground seems to sway similar to a ship.

As a rule, this disappears after a few minutes or hours. If someone was on a longer cruise, then it can take until the next morning for the world to get back on track.

About ¾ of all seafarers reported a feeling of swaying (forward/backward, up/down, sideways), according to one publication, but this dissipates after about 24 hours in the vast majority. In one study, even more than 90% were affected.

In addition to a sea voyage, flights, train journeys or other irritating movement experiences can also be at the beginning. Very often a combination of movement and uncertainty is found.

In a few people, the symptoms persist for weeks, months or even years. There are no clear figures about the frequency of the symptoms, it is suspected that it may be more common than is known in everyday medical practice. This condition is called Mal de Debarquement. This is derived from the French Mal = disease and Debarquement = to leave a ship. In English, it is referred to as Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS).

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