Essential Tremor: Are you Self-Medicating with Alcohol? Neuravive Sperling Neurosurgery Associates

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.

alcohol and essential tremor

For many people, drinking alcohol actually improves their tremor. However, other studies have shown it may affect as many as 1 in 17 people. It is equally common in men and women and is more common with increasing age. Most people who develop essential tremor are aged over 40 but it can occur in younger people.


The tremor may increase with attention and decrease or disappear when the person is distracted. Some tremor can be triggered by stress or strong emotion, being physically tired, or being in certain postures or making specific movements. You may find that certain foods will worsen your tremor, such as caffeine. It may be less noticeable when you are working with the affected body part. For example, when you use your hand the tremor may ease off.

  • No signs of tolerance were seen, and most patients with sedation found that this significantly diminished after a six to seven week period.
  • Surgery always carries risk, and the risk is especially great for operations involving the brain.
  • The decision to drink alcohol is personal, whether a person has ET or not.
  • In some cases, benzodiazepines such as alprazolam or clonazepam might be suggested.
  • Side-effects include loss of sensation, speech problems and weakness.
  • Chronic alcohol intoxication can also result in development of tolerance, dependence and psychiatric symptoms.
  • Or you might be referred immediately to a doctor trained in brain and nervous system conditions, called a neurologist.

Forty-five minutes after ingesting 1.5 gm of Xyrem, a significant reduction of tremor is seen, and tremor disappears at sixty minutes, surprising the patient and her husband. Despite this robust response, she did not continue treatment due to the sedative side effects of the drug. Investigations in patients with SD and SCGE-MD support a pivotal role of the cerebellum and Purkinje cells in these disorders.

How common is essential tremor?

The long-acting formulation of propranolol has an efficacy similar to that of the standard formulation and may allow the patient to take fewer daily doses. An alternative is to use the long-acting formulation from the beginning, but this requires multiple prescriptions and is more cumbersome. Your alcohol and essential tremor health care provider can make the diagnosis by performing a physical exam and asking about your medical and personal history. Some research suggests that people with essential tremor have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or sensory problems, like a loss of smell or hearing.

There’s no cure for essential tremor, but the symptoms can be managed in several ways, starting with practical measures such as those listed above in “Tips for surviving essential tremor.” Gabapentin and topiramate are two other anti-seizure medicines that are sometimes prescribed for essential tremor. In some cases, benzodiazepines such as alprazolam or clonazepam might be suggested. If primidone or propranolol are not effective by themselves, a combination of both may provide relief for some patients. Propanolol and primidone are two of the medicines often prescribed to treat essential tremor.