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Tremors Following Alcohol Dependency

The effects of pH on tremor have never been carefully studied, although hyperventilation, which increases pH, anecdotally can worsen tremor. We propose that the improvement of varied hyperkinetic movement disorders with modest doses of EtOH or GHB does
derive from a simple pharmacologic effect on the GABA-A, GABA-B or GHB receptors. Instead, we propose that
modest doses of GHB or EtOH possess a specific and novel ability to normalize pathologic hypermetabolism of the cerebellar Purkinje cells and deep cerebellar nuclei. We further propose that
Purkinje cell dysfunction
(either aberrant activation or abnormal synchronous firing)
is the unifying feature linking these varied hyperkinetic disorders.

why does alcohol help essential tremor

Alcohol tremors are involuntary shaking/trembling of one or more parts of the body. Alcohol tremors are a response to alcohol withdrawal or alcohol use disorder/alcoholism. Alcohol shakes are typically present in the hands, but they may also appear in the arms or legs.

Medical Professionals

It acts by depressing the central nervous system (CNS) via facilitation of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This tilts the balance between the excitatory chemical glutamate and the inhibitory molecule GABA, resulting in reduced excitability of the brain and spinal cord. It may be very tempting to withdraw from family and friends to avoid uncomfortable situations. There are many practical “tricks,” in addition to the treatments your doctor prescribes, that can help you stay active with tremor.

That means if one parent passes a mutated gene that causes essential tremor to you, there’s about a 50% chance that you’ll inherit the condition. Physical therapists essential tremor alcohol can teach you exercises to improve your muscle strength, control and coordination. The spiral on the right was drawn by a person not affected by essential tremor.


Unlike regular alcohol tremors, DT is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening if it’s not treated. DT’s are less common than regular alcohol tremors, occurring in about 5 percent of patients going through withdrawal. AEDs have many different mechanisms of action (MOA), often within the same drug, making the correlation between MOA and tremor reduction difficult (Table 1).

  • The amount of stimulation delivered by the electrode is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in the chest.
  • Support groups aren’t for everyone, but you might find it helpful to have the encouragement of people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Given the robust nature of the EtOH and GHB response in this group of patients, further work to understand these phenomena and to design better therapeutic options is warranted.
  • You may also need to get tested for other medical problems that could be connected to your alcohol abuse.

Most studies comparing propranolol to other beta-blockers have shown that subjects usually respond to both or neither study drugs, suggesting a class effect. However, comparing efficacy of different beta-blockers can provide some evidence regarding ideal MOA. Many AED medications, some of which may improve tremor, have some affinity for various calcium channels, making this group particularly difficult to analyze.


DT’s are especially common if you do not eat enough during your drinking binge or have a long history of alcoholism. Our lack of understanding of ET pathophysiology has prevented the rational development of effective agents. No drug initially developed for tremor exists, although drugs with multiple MOA improve tremor inconsistently. Potentiating GABA receptors in the CNS and inhibiting beta-adrenergic systems most consistently improve tremor. Inhibiting glutaminergic systems, carbonic anhydrase, SV2A receptors, and alpha-2 delta subunits less consistently improve tremor, whereas Na channel inhibition does not affect tremor. Until a better understanding exists, we will rely on clues from existing medicines to design treatments for ET.

“Alcohol in essential tremor and other movement disorders.” Wiley Online Library, August 18, 2010. After drinking, you may see improvement in your tremor within about 15 minutes. The fact that ET often gets better after you drink alcohol can be useful if your doctor is trying to find out what type of tremor you have. If your ET improves after drinking alcohol, the effect may last anywhere from one hour to four hours.

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