What is Mal de Debarquement Syndrome?

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (or MdDS) is an imbalance or rocking/swaying sensation often both “felt” and “seen” by the sufferer that occurs after exposure to motion (most commonly after a sea cruise or a flight). Although other forms of travel have been known to trigger it.

After alighting or “debarking” (debarquement) the traveller continues to feel “all at sea”, unable to get their land legs back. Although most travellers can identify with this feeling and do actually experience it temporarily after disembarking, unfortunately in the case of MdDS sufferers it can persist for many weeks, months, even years afterwards.

The symptoms are with you constantly, they never leave, nor can they be alleviated by any anti-motion sickness drugs (eg Stemetil, Serc etc)

“Like trying to constantly walk on a mattress or trampoline”

is a good description of the main symptom, which is usually most pronounced when the patient is sitting still, or inactive. It is unique among balance disorders in that re-exposure to passive motion, such as driving, decreases the internal motion perception rather than increasing it.