People with Virtual Earthquake Syndrome feel as if there is a real earthquake.
The earthquakes that hit Turkey on February 6 destroyed a large area that included 11 cities. Heavy tremors were felt over a wide area, including Cyprus. According to the latest official statements, while the number of people killed reached 48 thousand, hundreds of thousands of people became homeless. After the earthquakes, many people reported to the emergency services with complaints about trembling, dizziness and balance disorders. Tansel Ünal said these complaints may be due to the neurological consequences that occur due to the sensitivity of the earthquake trauma in the brain.
Dr. Dr. Tansel Ünal said: “These people say that they felt the ground shake, even though there was no earthquake at the time. This is the most common neurological picture in people who have felt an earthquake, and it is completely different from the psychological fear and tension that real ground tremors cause. These patients, who have experienced virtual earthquakes, now have to struggle with this situation, among other things. They are very worried about being alone and are constantly checking the ceiling lights and furniture. They are very uncomfortable and restless,” he said.
Virtual Earthquake Syndrome creates a real earthquake feeling
“Balance; It is provided by the analysis of the signals sent from the inner ears, eyes, sensors in the legs and feet, in the balance center of the central nervous system. This system allows us to stand upright and use the data it obtains to predict which direction is up. Normally, if we make an unpredictable move, such as stepping on lower ground than we think, the system quickly adapts, because it knows what the real world looks like,” says neurology specialist Dr Tansel Ünal said: “According to one view, experiencing an unexpected crisis situation, such as an earthquake, temporarily disrupts this system, making it difficult to process the data obtained, and therefore the person feels that there is an unexpected shock. “
Dr Ünal said another view states that the system became overly sensitive and gave false signals due to the extreme level of preparedness and alert status of the person who experienced the quake.
Emphasizing that most people who experience this condition, the symptoms resolve spontaneously within a few weeks, Dr. Tansel Ünal: “However, complaints can sometimes take longer. Especially in such cases, patients need treatment. Emphasizing that properly informing the patient is the first step of treatment, Dr. Ünal said: “First of all, the doctor should clearly explain that this condition is usually temporary and harmless. Since symptoms often occur in confined spaces, taking the patient outside will temporarily relieve the patient. Patients who experience intense attacks learn some simple maneuvers that they can perform on their own and medical treatment is applied with the help of drugs.
The frequency of seizures may increase in patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
“Another important point to highlight in terms of earthquakes from a neurological perspective is that the condition of patients with chronic neurological conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s often worsens after the disaster,” said Dr. Tansel Ünal: “Under treatment, for example, the suppressed and calm state of the disease can be reactivated. A patient with epilepsy controlled by treatment may have seizures again after a long period of time, or a sudden deterioration in the general condition of a Parkinson’s patient may occur. This is a situation that should certainly not be neglected and patients should be reassessed by their doctor as soon as possible and their treatment should be shaped.