Essential Tremor: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The management of a patient with ET includes (a) behavioral techniques and physical therapy, (b) medical therapy, and (c) surgical treatment. The patient should be explained about the disease, the long-term outcome, and what the therapies can achieve. All therapies are essentially symptomatic and will not cure or change the course of the disease. If there is minimal functional disability, the patient need not take treatment.

  1. Gamma-hyroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a derivative of GABA with similar effects to EtOH.
  2. Essential tremor is known to be familial condition, meaning that it runs in families.
  3. In this home video before and one hour after ingestion of six ounces of 80 proof vodka, significant improvement in myoclonus at rest and with action is evident.
  4. Preclinical efficacy data for OA are positive, and human pilot data demonstrated excellent safety as well as efficacy in secondary outcome measures of tremor amplitudes.

And staying active socially is an important part of maintaining both your emotional and physical well-being. You can go to physical therapy to improve coordination and muscle control. Botox injections can also be done in your hands to weaken the muscles and minimize or stop shaking. They might also perform imaging tests to determine whether you have an underlying condition that’s causing your tremors, like a stroke or a tumor.

Also, environmental exposure to lead or pesticides may put you at a greater risk of developing essential tremor. People with current urinary tract infections should avoid botulinum toxin injections. Clonazepam (sold as a generic and under the brand name Klonopin) has limited evidence behind its effectiveness for essential tremor. One study found a 69% to 76% reduction in tremor 40 to 80 minutes after taking a dose of alprazolam. Alprazolam (sold as a generic and under the brand name Xanax) may be particularly useful to reduce essential tremor affecting your arms or legs, but more studies are necessary to confirm this.

Essential tremor is most common among people older than 65, but it can affect people at any age. Some experts have proposed considering ET that starts earlier in life as essential tremor and ET that begins later in life as age-related tremor, because the conditions may have different symptoms and may respond differently to treatments. However, propranolol may not be effective for everyone with essential tremor. While propranolol is used as a first-line treatment option for essential tremor, a 2022 review states that it may only be effective in roughly 40% of patients. If you suffer from alcoholism and are going through alcohol withdrawal, it’s crucial to be aware that alcohol tremors are a potential side effect. Additionally, alcohol tremors may be a symptom of a more serious condition, like delirium tremens, which necessitate immediate medical attention.

What is essential tremor?

A case-control study of 87 patients with essential tremor and 92 controls reported a mild, but significant, impairment on the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). Essential tremor is the term for having uncontrolled shaking movements in parts of your body – most commonly your arms and hands – with no other symptoms and no underlying cause. It is mild in some people but how to safely detox from alcohol at home can become severe and disruptive to daily activities in others. There is good treatment available in the form of medication and occasionally surgery. None of the deep brain stimulation implants and 15% of the thalamotomies had to be repeated. Stereotactic thalamotomy is less expensive than deep brain stimulation, no hardware remains, and it has been demonstrated to provide long-term efficacy.

The famous actress Katharine Hepburn led a successful career despite essential tremor that affected her head and voice. Before the 1990s, the main surgical intervention for essential tremor was thalamic lesioning. However, this approach fell out of favor with the development of deep brain stimulation (DBS). A frontal burr hole is drilled and then electrodes are implanted. Microelectrode and macroelectrode recordings can be used to assist in location of leads. The intracranial electrodes are ultimately connected to an implanted pulse generator.

Guidelines for management of essential tremor

Patients in this study did not have any significant side effects. Surgical treatment for ET is reserved for those selected patients who have severe tremor not adequately controlled by medical therapy. Bilateral thalamotomy is not recommended due to its adverse side effects. Therefore, in those who cannot afford DBS, unilateral thalamotomy contralateral to the most severely affected side is recommended. In patients who can afford DBS, bilateral DBS is recommended to suppress tremor of both sides.

A: Evidence of the effect of modest doses of EtOH or GHB on cerebellar metabolism

However, clinical trials indicate a fairly substantial dropout rate of 40% because of adverse effects such as cognitive difficulty and somnolence. Common adverse effects include sedation, dizziness, and ataxia at higher doses. The chosen medication, primidone or propranolol, is introduced at a low dose and increased slowly until sufficient benefit is achieved or the usual maximum dosage is reached.

Many people with essential tremor respond to ethanol (alcohol); however, it is not clear why or how. NINDS researchers are studying the impact of ethanol on tremor to determine the correct dosage amount and its physiological impact on the brain, and whether other medications without the side effects of ethanol can be effective. Older studies included patients who would not meet modern definitions of essential tremor owing to lack of arm involvement. This is concerning, as isolated vocal tremor is typically due to an alternate diagnosis (dystonia).

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Simple activities like eating, writing, or picking up a cup of coffee can be challenging and frustrating. As the disease progresses and tremor becomes more pronounced, many people feel anxious and embarrassed in social situations, which only makes the situation worse. Consider participating in a clinical trial what are sober living house rules so clinicians and scientists can learn more about tremor and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease. Medications are effective in about 50% of individuals with tremor.

Adverse effects include sedation, dizziness, edema, weight gain. Pharmacokinetik analysis of OA showed a tmax at 72.8 min, a relatively large volume of distribution (389 L), and an elimination half-life of 83.5 min. The elimination did not entirely follow first-order kinetics, suggesting the presence of a second compartment. The mean Cmax after administration of 4 mg/kg was 1,288.4 ng/mL, which is close to the Cmax of OA that was measured after the administration of 4 mg/kg of 1-octanol. Researchers are working to better understand the underlying brain functions that cause tremor, identify the genetic factors that make individuals more likely to have tremor, and develop new and better treatment options. Certain lifestyle changes and techniques may provide some relief for mild to moderate tremor.

How can I reduce my risk of developing essential tremor or prevent it altogether?

Therefore, medical professionals do not believe that alcohol use impacts whether or not someone gets ET. If you are on medication such as propranolol it is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and even dizziness. Eating before you go out and drinking plenty of water will slow sober living house down the rate alcohol is absorbed and also help you not to get too drunk. The occasional soft-drink or ‘spacer’, will keep you fresh for the night and help you reduce the amount you drink. However, they may be an option when other medications aren’t helpful or for people who cannot take oral medications.


Essential tremor isn’t life-threatening or dangerous, but tremors can also be a part of other conditions, some of which are treatable if caught quickly. It’s important to call your healthcare provider and make an appointment if you start experiencing tremors that you can’t explain. Experts estimate that it affects about 1% of all people worldwide, and about 5% of people over age 60. It’s the most common form of tremor and one of the most common movement disorders. Essential tremor is a movement disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking of your hands, arms and other body parts.

The video segment illustrates myoclonus before and one hour after ingestion of 2.5 gm of Xyrem [48]. Patient #3 developed severe PHM after a spontaneous bilateral pneumothorax leading to cardiopulmonary arrest. Despite treatment with valproic acid, levetiracetam and zolpidem, severe action and intention myoclonus were disabling.