Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) that causes a rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands — especially when you try to do simple tasks, such as drinking from a glass, tying shoelaces, writing or shaving.
About half of essential tremor cases appear to result from a genetic mutation. This form is referred to as familial tremor. It isn't clear what causes essential tremor in people without a known genetic mutation.
The following actions may reduce or relieve tremors:
Avoid caffeine. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants because they can increase your tremors.
Use alcohol sparingly or not at all. Some people notice that their tremors improve slightly after they drink alcohol, but drinking isn't a good solution for people with essential tremor. Tremors tend to worsen once the effects of alcohol wear off. Also, larger amounts of alcohol eventually are needed to relieve tremors, which can lead to chronic alcoholism.
Learn to relax. Stress and anxiety tend to make tremors worse, and being relaxed may improve tremors. Although you can't eliminate all stress from your life, you can change how you react to stressful situations using a range of relaxation techniques, such as massage or meditation.
Make lifestyle changes. Use the hand less affected by tremor more often. Find ways to avoid writing with the hand affected by tremor, such as using online banking and debit cards instead of writing checks. Try using voice-activated dialing on your cellphone and speech-recognition software on your computer.
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