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Conditions

Benign Essential Tremor

Benign Essential Tremor

Benign essential tremor sends your hands to jelly. Tremor quite simply causes your hands to shake – considerably and constantly, thus shattering any aspirations of a career in brain surgery. Whilst it might not sound that serious if the condition deteriorates those afflicted may find it increasingly problematic to carry out the simplest of tasks such as writing, using cutlery, and – let’s not shy away from it – wiping their bum. Benign Essential Tremor has a habit of flaring up and becoming worse when a person is stressed, tired, angry, anxious, hot or cold. A high level of adrenaline in the body can also heighten the shaking as can caffeine and some prescribed medicines. It isn’t just the hands that can be affected; infrequently the voice, face and upper body have known to suffer too though there is some release as tremor usually fades when resting or moving. If the tremor is so bad that it’s affecting your day-to-day life then there are a few things that can ease the symptoms. Beta blockers, anti-convulsants or even a deep brain simulator have all proven affective in a high percentage of cases and (whilst it should in no way be relied upon) one or two units of alcohol have been shown to temporarily relieve the tremor completely, which can be particularly helpful before you give that important speech, or go out on that big date.

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I've had ET for 30 years. Beta Blockers have been really helpful but now it's getting worse. I was wondering if anyone else gets jerks on falling asleep as for the past couple of nights this has been waking me up





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I have had a tremor as far back as I can remember. Worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, in management so managed to avoid carrying trays of glasses, which would have been out of the question anyway! I am not nervous in any other way and public speaking was never a problem. Much more exaggerated tremor after drinking to much! After a normal night out with pals look like someone detoxing from a 2 week binge! Tried all the meds, hate taking them, side effects, lack of sleep, bad nightmares, etc! Last time at docs, wanted to try me on diazepam, not interested in addictive meds? Any advice? Has anyone with similar been for a full M.O.T? Bit scared to tell the truth, nothing in my family history. Replies appreciated.





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Hello Kevin. First of all, might I direct you to the National Tremor Foundation website? There is plenty of information on available treatment options detailing the benefits and risks of all. Medical intervention rarely comes without some risk or potential risk, it is up to the individual to decide what benefits they require and how much they outweigh the risks. Secondly you need to be sure of the nature and underlying cause of your tremor. Is it neurological, physiological or psychological? If you do not feel your gp has addressed this ask for a second opinion or a referral. Of course, if this is essential tremor you have the option of no treatment at all. It all depends on how severe the tremor is most of the time and what added pressures and stresses it brings in social settings. I have a progressive essential tremor. It was first noticed when I was about 5 years old. Initially it affected my hands and arms. I work in the hotel trade and until my late twenties was actually a serviceable waitress. I now use a lidded desk mug for hot drinks, always keep a spare pair of jeans out incase of spillage disasters and rely increasingly on gadgets that help me cheat with tins, chopping and slicing. Sometimes I loose my balance as my legs are now affected. This is usually the point at which I stick a slug of gin in a glass and self medicate. Raising a toast to the neurologist who told me that alcohol often helps ET. Beta blockers are normally recommended, usually propranolol. General advice is to take them only as required on bad days or in preparation for public social engagements.Anxiety, stress, excess coffee, physical and emotional exhaustion and being rundown with a virus are all the sorts of things that can exacerbate Essential tremor. On bad days my arms now bounce up and down so violently it looks like I am performing a strange dance. I have been hearing a log about deep brain stimulation. Having seen some recorded video evidence of a patient with disabling tremor and how they were greatly improved after deep brain stimulation, I am beginning to warm to the idea despite the risks. Maybe, when my tremor has progressed for a few more years it might be worth the risks. If any of this sort of experience sounds like deja vu to you Kevin, then perhaps you have severe ET. A neurologist would be able to confirm. For the benefit of the Embarrassing bodies people, there is nothing benign about ET and it is not only improper to use the word benign in relation to such a disabling condition, it is also politically incorrect. How up to date is your research?

I can't speak in front of crowd and when ever i have to write in front of any one then all my body part start shaking as well as leg also start trembling..... How can cure this..





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I am a recently retired contractor, 64 years old, and have noticed 'occasionally' that I began having tremors. My head jerks and my hands and arms do as well. It is very unsettling. As I stated, these tremors only happen occasionally, maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I've done a lot of research and suspect 'Essential Tremor' but I believe it would be happening regularly if it was E.T. The first time I noticed it was about a year and a half ago when I had run out of my anxiety meds, Klonopin, and I felt myself jerking as I laid in bed. I finally fell asleep and I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I have also noticed that if I drink too much I have had tremors the next day. I typically have a few drinks in the evenings but not more than 2 or 3. Two nights ago, I had 2 mixed drinks and grilled a large steak and decided to open a bottle of red wine. I was shocked that I had consumed the entire bottle by myself. Yea, I felt like a lush but I really enjoyed the steak and lost track of the wine but I rarely have ever done such a thing. Yesterday evening, the day after the wine and steak dinner, I began to have tremors. I decided against having anything to drink at all. Still, I continued to have tremors and tried going to bed but finally got up and hit the computer. Now, it is the next day and I woke up feeling fine. Am I going nuts? :) I am terrified of getting old and greatly fear getting Parkinson's disease. I am an ex-boxer by the way. Hopefully I'm worrying about nothing. Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

Hi all, I have all the symptoms of ET but haven't been diagnosed with it officially. Just wondering some sites say avoiding alcohol and caffeine, yet others say taking alcohol helps. Can anyone help? Has anyone stopped taking alcohol who has ET? Thank you.





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What have you done to improve your conditions? I am in the same position as you, 24 years old and have had ET since my early years.

i was diagnosed when I was 16, im now 20. I find that the beta blockers don't really help, whether I take them or not I still have constant tremors all over my body. it does effect everyday life and I don't think theres enough knowledge about it in everyday life. If it effects something in my job I just get told I am incompetent. but that's something we have to deal with. but I figure with everything the condition throws at us we just get stronger.





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Hi there Rachel, I am a suffer of essential tremor ages 25, being diagnosed aged 13. Beta blockers are one of many options drug wise. Cutting out caffeine and relaxation techniques can help. I have taken up weight lifting as this helped a lot. There is a new treatment called Focused Ultrasound, they should begin trials in the United Kingdom in the next couple of years. I'm currently communicating with the company in Israel and Switzerland about it. It won't be around for ever. Hope this helps

I have had ET since I was 30, is it true a pace maker will stop it.





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Hi! I have essential tremor since i was very young. But it was only on hands. Now i'm 19 years old and i have ET all over my body, and it gets worse when i do a voluntary move (like grabbing a glass) or doing exercise. I stutter as well, and i'm afraid to get a job because i don't want people to know that i stutter and shake. When i go out with my friends I feel more relaxed because they know that i have that problem, but I don't feel confortable anymore meeting new people, dinning with all my family (excluding my dad, mom or brother), in short, doing something that improves my tremors and stuttering in front of people that i don't usually talk. Now, i get anxious and embarassed easily, and, of course, it improves my tremors, so im avoiding getting in embarassing situations, like staying at home all the time, dont talking to people that I'm not used to talk. All I want to do in my life is to meet new people, having a girlfriend, have a job and start buying material to create a home studio to start producing some music, and this is stopping me from doing that. P.S: Sorry for my english





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Hello Gary. Your tremor is not stopping you from doing anything. Anxiety is the culprit. Talk to your gp. If beta blockers do not help then maybe occupational and cognitive behavioral therapies can help overcome the anxiety. The tremor? It's a physical nuisance and probably a bit disabling sometimes? That can be overcome with humour, self esteem and the additional cheats of gadgetry.

another long term sufferer here who has survived without taking beta blockers, though with the way things are worsening, i might have to go down that route. However me and the docs are investigating an unrelated issue and they re loath to put me on something that may mask my current issue so it means i have to soldier on; only big problem is i selling stuff for a living, and hand shaking doesn't help one bit. It would be great to see some other solutions in the market but presume we're not an attractive group to develop medicines for





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I have had essential tremors all my life, I was diagnosed some time before the age of 10. It runs through my father's side of the family. All my life people have noticed it and commented on it especially at school. I have always struggled writing and have to write slowly to ensure that it is legible it wasn't until I was 17 that a teacher suggested I apply for extra time, I would suggest asking about it if anyone else is affected. I'm now working and training as a chef, I've explained it to my employer and he acts all understanding until were in service and the pressure is on, at which point it gets worse and all he does is yell. eating and drinking are difficult I have to use both hands to hold a cup/glass. Alcohol does help but I have the same issue some one mentioned above, in a crowded bar I cannt hold my drink without spilling it.





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im 27 and ive suffered with ET since i was 14. ive always carried on as best i can for years but in the last year my shakes have gotten significately worse my head, hands and sometimes legs and feet now shake. ive tried beta blockers but had bad side affects with them ive even tried anti convulsants but found i was worse the following day. its now effecting my ability to do my job and drive. i dont know wot else i can try im getting really down because of it.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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