The Experience of Chronic Subjective Dizziness: A Qualitative Exploratory Study
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This study explored the working-age adult's experience of Chronic Subjective Dizziness (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness). Research specific to Chronic Subjective Dizziness is in its infancy and initial scoping of the literature revealed that none specifically focused on the personal experience of the condition. This qualitative study drew on the methodology of Interpretive Description to explore the experience of working-age adults affected by Chronic Subjective Dizziness recruited from a specialist clinic in New Zealand. Inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse data generated from eight individual semi-structured interviews. Three themes were constructed: ‘It sounds like I’m crazy’, ‘I’m a shadow of my former self’ and ‘How will I survive?’ This study identified that the experience of Chronic Subjective Dizziness was shaped by perceived illegitimacy of the condition, biographical disruption and a changed self-identity as well as the uncertainty and unpredictability of the condition. These appeared to be influenced by the individual’s stage of life, priorities and personal needs, and availability of support systems and resources. This study contributes to the current knowledge base in many ways. This is the first study to explore the personal experience of Chronic Subjective Dizziness as a condition in its own right, and to focus solely on a working-age adult population. The approach taken to this research, including methodology and methods for data collection and analysis, produced insights and points for consideration immediately applicable to health care practice. This study highlighted that health professionals could do more to support those affected by Chronic Subjective Dizziness. Key points for health professionals to consider include: support needs are unique to the person, their priorities, and circumstances and support should as such be individually matched; legitimisation and unobstructed access to specialist services are key to successful management of the condition; and health professionals may benefit from re-evaluating current practice including their approach to assessment and treatment.