Alcoholism Can Sometimes Be A Side Effect Of Benign Essential Tremor
Many people who have undiagnosed Essential Tremor go on to become alcoholics. One of the questions asked at the neurological examination is if alcohol stops the tremor. When I was asked that question I had to think for a minute as it was something I had never considered before then. Alcohol, in moderate quantities, does reduce or stop the effects of Benign Essential Tremor but unfortunately this can lead to problem drinking. Alcohol, as we all know, blurs the thought process so a person who has undiagnosed B.E.T suddenly becomes a much more confident person with alcohol, not realising it is partly because their embarrassing tremor has stopped for the night. I watched a Jeremy Kyle Show one day and it was obvious the guest had B.E.T from the time he came on as his head had the classic yes-yes motion. The story was that he was an alcoholic who had lost wife, family, job etc because of his drinking and was now sleeping rough at the side of the road. He went on to say he had always been 'shaky' from a young age but on discovering alcohol he realised that he always stopped shaking while drinking. He assumed it was because he had been a nervous person and alcohol remedied that. To this day I still regret not telephoning the programme makers to urge the guy to go for treatment for B.E.T.
There are certain ailments which alcohol appears to have a beneficial effect on, but drinking alcohol regularly to get that benefit could lead to alcoholism, which means the patient will need alcoholism treatments as well.
Uncontrollable Shaking Caused By Alcohol Withdrawal
Drinking alcohol over a long period of time and then stopping suddenly can cause uncontrollable shaking. However, the shaking caused by stopping alcohol is usually confined to the hands, whereas, with essential tremor, any part of the body can be affected by shaking. Shaking caused by withdrawal from alcohol is more rapid than the shaking caused by essential tremor and also tends to cause a 'flapping' movement of the hands as opposed to a rhythmic tremor.
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Nobody who has been a long term drinker should ever try to give up on their own. If the body has become used to alcohol giving up suddenly can cause the body to go into shock and can even cause death. Embarrassment at asking for help in stopping drinking is definately preferrable to the alternative. I know someone who has been told by his doctor not to stop drinking as it will kill him. The person I am talking about is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and leads a normal everyday life on the surface but he has fallen into the trap of ending up drinking a bottle of whisky each night plus a few beers. Obviously he has to stop drinking but will now have to do it gradually or he has been told he will definately go into shock and die!!!!
In alcohol withdrawal tremor only 1 percent of patients have a family history of shaking (familial tremor) whereas essential tremor studies showed that more than half those affected had a family history of uncontrollable shaking. If someone in your family suffered with tremor (not through drinking) it is probably a safe bet you started drinking because of a tremor and not the other way round.
Effects Of Suddenly Stopping Drinking
If someone who has been regularly drinking alcohol over a long period of time suddenly stops drinking they will most likely develop symptoms of alcohol withdrawal quite soon after the alcohol has been stopped - usually between 12 - 48 hours. Apart from sweating and a nauseous feeling with mild symptoms and hallucinations in severe cases, they will probably experience uncontrollable shaking. As I mentioned at the start of this page stopping suddenly if you have been a long term drinker can have serious repercussions if it is not medically controlled
Death Through Alcoholism
I make no apologies for what I am about to write. We have all heard about alcohol causing terrible consequences on the body such as cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis etc. Drinking excessive alcohol over the years also causes a condition called Ascites, which basically is a build up of fluid in the body cavity. A person with Ascites will develop a huge abdominal swelling (looking much like a pregnant woman in the last trimester) and very thin legs and arms. If the person won't/can't stop drinking death will inevitably follow. Death caused by alcoholism is horrific!!!! The person will suddenly start bleeding from every orifice - the mouth, nose, ears, penis/vagina, nail bed etc. and when there is nowhere else for the blood to go it will start seeping out of the pores of the skin over the whole body - not a pretty sight for your loved ones to witness.
Cause Of Tremor After Stopping Drinking Alcohol
The reason for a tremor in a heavy drinker is that the alcohol can damage the cerebellum which is the part of the brain used to control movement. It can also damage another part called the Myelin Sheath which is the lining in the nerves of the brain. Once those parts of the brain are damaged you will experience symptoms similair to Essential Tremor, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis etc. Part of the brain being damaged still means that it's best to stop drinking - you may be a person who will always have a tremor but as this site is primarily about Essential Tremor everyone who visits it is in the same boat