One and a half month ago I went on a ten days cruise up the norwegain coast with Hurtigruten. When done with the trip, I still felt like I was on the boat. My balance was very bad, and I almost hit the wall several times when I walked.
You might have felt the same way if you have been on a cruise or on a long flight. The condition is called landsickess. Some also call it drunken sailor syndrome, as that is what you feel like.
I have felt like this several times. But it has never lasted as long as after this trip before. Though it was worst the first days, I still had the sensation of being on the sea after one and a half week. Then this feeling had been long gone for my husband that also had felt the same the first days. So I went on Google for try to figure out how long this feeling can last.
I could not find any research that said anything about this. But I found some discussion forums, where most said they had felt this for a few days after being on a boat. A few said they had felt or knew someone that had felt it up to two weeks. After around two weeks the feeling went away for me as well. Though I afterwards have been thinking that since I just have been pregnant and feel in general dizzy fast due to hormons, this can be a part of the reasons I felt it for so long this time.
Mal de debarquement syndrome
However, I found some writing about something called Mal de debarquement syndrome. This is a rare neurological condition that most commenly occurs after a cruise or flight. The symptoms are the same as landsickness, but they are constantly and last more than a month, some cases it lasts for years.
Erasmus Darwin wrote about this already in 1796
Those, who have been upon the water in a boat or ship so long, that they have acquired the necessary habits of motion upon that unstable element, at their return on land frequently think in their reveries, or between sleeping and waking, that they observe the room, they sit in, or some of its furniture, to librate like the motion of the vessel. This I have experienced myself, and have been told, that after long voyages, it is some time before these ideas entirely vanish. The same is observable in a less degree after having travelled some days in a stage coach, and particularly when we lie down in bed, and compose ourselves to sleep; in this case it is observable, that the rattling noise of the coach, as well as the undulatory motion, haunts us. ” (Darwin, 1796).
I am very happy that the sensation went over after two weeks. It must be horrible to feel like that for months or years. That being said, I will be aware next time if it does not og away. I had never heard about this condition before. The reports I read also stated that there is little awareness about the condition. Furthermore, that the people that suffers from Mal de debarquement syndrome is increasing as people are travelling more on cruises, airplanes and by car than ever before.