Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Can Ptsd Cause Hand Tremors

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Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

While it is still unclear on how this process actually works to effectively treat PTSD, initial studies have shown this to be a promising therapy for trauma and other psychological issues. The therapy focuses on having the patient follow a set of eye movement patterns while recounting the details of the traumatic event. Still in its infancy, this process is undergoing testing, but future studies are expected to shed more light on the initial study successes.

Trauma and PTSD are very real diseases that have emotional and physical consequences. Without proper treatment, victims of trauma face an endless cycle of compensation, depression, isolation and conflict. Luckily, there are multiple approaches to treating PTSD today, coupled with a better understanding of the disease, that allow for those suffering from trauma and PTSD to seek treatment and work toward a peaceful life once again.

Why The Body Shakes During Anxiety

Shaking is a result of an activated fight or flight system an evolutionary tool thats meant to keep you safe in times of danger. During intense anxiety, your body is flooded with a hormone called epinephrine . That hormone activates your nerves and muscles, giving them the energy they need to fight, flee, or react.

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Saving Private Ryan: Why Captain Millers Hands Shake

The film provides little explanation for why Captain Millers hands shake, but a closer look reveals the disorder from which he may be suffering.

Saving Private Ryanintroduces Tom Hanks character, Captain John H. Miller, with a close-up of his hands shaking uncontrollably en route to the beaches of Normandy. Millers hands continue to shake at different points throughout the film without any explanation. Today, the medical condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder immediately comes to mind for soldiers exhibiting similar symptoms. Are Millers shakes stress-related, or could he be suffering from something else entirely?

Steven Spielbergs 1998 war epic famously opens with a brutally realistic recreation of the Allied landings on D-Day. Captain Miller and the 2nd Ranger Battalion are introduced as they head to Omaha Beach, where Millers hands shake for the first time on screen. The ensuing battle establishes Millers ability to regain his composure amidst the horrors of war while many around him lose theirs. This, no doubt, is why he is the captain. Its also why his uncontrollable shaking poses a serious risk to both his rank and the men under his command.

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What Could Be Causing My Tremors

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You can have a hard time writing or holding a spoon still. Your voice could be shaky and your tremor could even get worse if youre stressed. Its easiest to figure out whats not causing your tremors by gradually eliminating all the possibilities.

Do you drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol? Try cutting back. Are you taking a new medication or youre dealing with a stressful situation at home, work or school? It can even coincide with times when youve skipped a meal.

Tremor can also occur with high level of thyroid hormone. Many medications may cause tremor as a side effect.

All of these have to be considered so one can make the right diagnosis, says Dr. Mari.

Besides the most common tremor, exaggerated physiological tremor and the second most common tremor diagnosis, essential tremor , there are many other tremulous disorders and causes of tremor.

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment can include oral medications that either calm the muscles causing the tremors or treat the part of the brain thats causing them, he says. In certain cases, botulinum toxin injections can be helpful, depending on exactly which body parts and muscles are primarily affected by tremor. For tremors that are resistant to all other treatments, some advanced brain procedures are also available to suppress tremors.

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Differences Between Ptsd And Complex Ptsd

Both PTSD and complex PTSD are anxiety disorders caused by exposure to severe trauma and/or abuse. But PTSD is usually a side effect of sudden, shocking, short-term trauma and suffering, while complex PTSD develops as an aftereffect of long-term abuse and victimization, and the feelings of helplessness and rage that accompany it.

More so than PTSD, complex PTSD distorts a persons perspective on the world and reality. PTSD sufferers fear the events or circumstances that can trigger their symptoms, but fear and anxiety affect people with complex PTSD at a fundamental level, impacting their emotions, self-judgments, and capacity to forge connections with other human beings.

Some risk factors for complex PTSD include:

  • Repeated incidents of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during childhood
  • Being a victim of domestic violence
  • Becoming a victim of human trafficking or slavery
  • Living and trying to survive in a war zone, or in an area destroyed by natural disaster
  • Exposure to torture or captivity by hostile forces

Naturally, PTSD can also develop in people whove experienced these extreme forms of suffering or deprivation, and in fact about nine-in-10 complex PTSD sufferers also meet the diagnostic criteria for conventional PTSD.

But complex PTSD causes more intense and invasive symptoms, superseding PTSD in its severity. Complex PTSD sufferers:

The Role Of The Cerebellum In Essential Tremor

Certainly, many studies have suggested that the cerebellum does not function normally in essential tremor. This may explain why some people with essential tremor have other “cerebellar findings” on their neurological examination, such as ataxia or poor hand-eye coordination.

In the last decade, we have become increasingly aware that the cerebellum does more than coordinate movement it may help to coordinate thoughts and perhaps emotions as well. Studies have connected cerebellar activity with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain classically associated with problem-solving, attention, and memory.

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You Might Gain Weight Particularly Around Your Stomach

Cortisol has a direct influence of the storage of fats and weight gain in individuals who are going through stress. High cortisol levels are closely linked to relocation of fat to the stomach area : fat cells in the stomach have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells elsewhere. Additionally, excess cortisol can cause excessive eating, and high cravings for sugary and fatty foods, further increasing the likelihood of weight gain.

Furthermore, PTSD may lead to disturbances in functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system, each of which is involved in regulating a broad range of body processes, including metabolism.

One PTSD sufferer who began going to the gym commented, When I had PTSD, loosing weight was almost impossible. I was signed off work with PTSD, and Id go to the gym almost every day over a 4 month period I lost 1 pound.

Of course for some people, they may also lose weight with the fluctuating hormones and cortisol levels.

Takeaways: Dealing With Anxiety And Essential Tremor

Tremor or Shaking of Body & Hands in Youth | Dr. Prithvi Giri

If youre concerned about essential tremor and anxiety, its crucial to talk to your doctor to address these issues. Essential tremor can trigger anxiety as patients grapple with their new diagnosis and face uncertainty regarding its future progression. Anxiety can also be present with depression, which may affect patients with ET who cant perform activities as easily or as well as they had before ET.

Essential tremor can be managed by careful observation and a treatment plan made with a physician. You may want to ask your doctor about non-invasive options like the Cala Trio wristband, especially if youve had negative side effects from commonly prescribed ET medications or if those medications failed to improve your tremor. Cala Trio can provide temporary relief from your symptoms and peace-of-mind. Although there is no cure for ET, you can deal with essential tremor and anxiety with supportive care from your medical team, lifestyle changes, and Cala Trio.

Curious about how to get started? Read more about this revolutionary, targeted therapy that can help give you peace-of-mind and a better quality of life.

MKG-1123 Rev B Feb 2021

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How Do We Heal

People living with residual trauma are continually getting ready for the next attack or life-altering event. When someone is preoccupied with a real or imagined threat, the resulting fear, rage, or disappointment will be reflected in the body.

Research shows that trauma survivors suffer more illnesses. For example, the Adverse Childhood Experience Study found that survivors of childhood trauma are some 5,000 percent more likely to use drugs, attempt suicide, and suffer an eating disorder. Muscle tension, disease, and injury are physical manifestations of this preoccupation.

Trauma has such a severe impact because of the way it affects, and ultimately, rewires the brain. When the brain goes into stress or is stuck in stress, it leads to physical changes and a complicated ripple of life-altering symptoms.

In the animal world, animals shake off the freeze response caused by a life threat. When animals suffer trauma, it has been documented that they will literally shake it off, which helps the animal discharge the energy of the traumatic event. I watch my dog Bentley, a rescue who has childhood trauma, do this often as he gets triggered by brightly lit neon signs, overhead scaffolding, awnings, and hats and sunglasses on men with uniforms. He shakes it off and I encourage it by saying, “Shake it off Boo, shake it off!”

The issues get lodged in our tissues and our brains as well.

When the brain deals with trauma in this matter, sometimes intense symptoms will develop.

GABA

Treatment For Essential Tremor And Shaky Hands

Treating essential tremor may begin with pharmaceuticals like propranolol and primidone. These are considered the first line of defense against tremors. Unfortunately, these medications can have undesirable and unpleasant side effects. Patients with essential tremor may also develop a tolerance to these medications over time or find them ineffective in the first place.

Another option to treat essential tremor is surgical. Deep brain stimulation is one surgical procedure approved to treat essential tremor. The procedure involves implanting electrodes into the brain that targets the nerves thought to control tremor. The drawback is that this is an invasive option that isnt guaranteed to work for all patients with ET.

If you dont want the side effects of medication and dont want invasive surgical procedures, you may consider a prescription wearable therapy, Cala Trio . Cala Trio is an FDA-cleared medical wearable device customized for your unique tremor. In Cala Trios clinical study, 64% of patients experienced on-demand tremor relief for an average of 94 minutes.

Consult your doctor and ask about your options for treatment. Only you and your physician can decide the right course of action.

Recommended Reading: List Of Symptoms Of Ptsd

What Are The Effects Of Ptsd And Trauma On The Body

We often think of trauma and PTSD in terms of emotional symptoms, but they take a physical toll on their victims, too. General symptoms include chronic pain, headaches, stomach pain, vomiting, lower back pain and muscle cramps.

Trauma creates deep muscle contractions designed to protect our bodies. In the wild, this is referred to as a fight or flight mechanism, which is a deeply ingrained instinct designed to keep humans and animals alive. If we survive a traumatic encounter, we relieve excess tension through trembling, shaking, and twitching. This helps us process the encounter and face subsequent threats.

Humans, however, have a distinct difference from animals: Our brains are more developed and we have a frontal cortex. Unlike animals, we are capable of reason. Were also sensitive to the stigmatization of our environment: How many times have we been told to get over it or suck it up? In light of these criticisms, were more likely to hold onto our traumatic feelings and thoughts to process at a later date. This upsets our brains delicate balance.

Common Symptoms Of Ptsd

Clinical Signs of the Hands

PTSD is characterized by three main groups of problems. They can be classified under the headings of intrusive, avoidance and arousal symptoms.

Intrusive symptoms

Memories, images, smells, sounds, and feelings of the traumatic event can intrude into the lives of individuals with PTSD. Sufferers may remain so captured by the memory of past horror that they have difficulty paying attention to the present. People with PTSDreport frequent, distressing memories of the event that they wish they did not have. They may have nightmares of the event or other frightening themes. Movement, excessive sweating, and sometimes even acting out the dream while still asleep may accompany these nightmares. They sometimes feel as though the events were happening again this is referred to as flashbacks or reliving the event. They may become distressed, or experience physical signs such as sweating, increased heart rate, and muscle tension when things happen which remind them of the incident. Overall, these intrusive symptoms cause intense distress and can result in other emotions such as grief, guilt, fear or anger.

Intrusive symptoms of PTSD:
  • Distressing memories or images of the incident
  • Nightmares of the event or other frightening themes
  • Becoming upset when reminded of the incident
  • Physical symptoms, such as sweating, increased heart rate, or muscle tension when reminded of the event

Avoidance/numbing symptoms

Arousal symptoms

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How To Do It

Shaking therapy can be performed seated or standing. Focus on particular parts of the body, simply shaking it out.

Sometimes I just get goofy with it and make crazy movements, Finucane says. You can also just pause and notice your breathing. Maybe even sigh it out, take a deep breath, and then take one of your arms and start wobbling it around a bit. Hang out here for three more breaths.

Finucane emphasizes that youre not really looking for anything in particular. Just be aware and curious.

Ask yourself:

  • What does it feel like to be in my body?
  • How did my body and emotions feel before I did this?
  • How did my body and emotions feel after I did this?

Once complete, youre ready to switch sides.

Repeat on each leg, the hips, and then the body as a whole. Shake it around and move any parts you feel like, including your head, fingers, and bottom.

How The Body Responds To Anxiety

Anxiety is your bodys natural response to stress and triggers a fight or flight response. In dangerous situations, it helps protect you from being injured or worse. But anxiety can also be triggered in situations that arent dangerous. For example, many people suffer from social anxiety disorder that makes people nervous in normal social situations like a party or performance. Anxiety might cause shaky hands and trembling, alongside other symptoms that well explore in later sections.

With that said, if youre experiencing both hand tremor and anxiety, its important to see a doctor. Although a tremor might be temporary and related to stress, a persistent tremor or shaking that occurs during certain movements could be a sign of underlying health conditions or essential tremor .

Although most people associate tremor with Parkinsons disease , shaky hands arent always a sign that you have or will get PD. In fact, the most common movement disorder that may present as shaky hands is essential tremor.

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Now Back To The Question Do You Have Shaky Hands

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References

Aleppo, G. . Hyperthyroidism Overview. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-overview-overactive-thyroid

Colino, S. . The Truth About Essential Tremor: Its Not Just a Case of Nerves. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/11/11/the-truth-about-essential-tremor-its-not-just-a-case-of-nerves

Gentile, J. . Celebrities with Thyroid Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/celebrities-thyroid-disorders

Harvard Health Publishing. . Tremor Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/decision_guide/tremor

Healthline. . 11 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1

Healthline. . Cirrhosis. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/cirrhosis

Causes Of Hand Tremors

âMiracle treatment has stopped the tremors in my handâ

Do your hands quiver, shake, or tremble sometimes? Tremors are involuntary muscle contractions, and they may or may not be a cause of concern, depending on whats causing them. They are often rhythmic, or make parts of the body that they affect appear like they are trembling or shaking. Hand tremors, for example, can vary in terms of intensity and severity. There are also many potential different causes of hand tremors, and they can differ in nature.

In general, tremors occur in different body parts not just the hands and its not always serious.

Almost everyone will experience some type of tremors sometimes, as tremors can occur mildly and therefore seem unnoticeable at times. For example, after a strenuous cardio workout or heavy lifting, you may notice a bit of shaking or trembling in your hands or legs that goes away on its own.

Tremors often occur in the hands. While they may just pose as a small inconvenience, especially if you have to write a check, in severe cases, excessive hand tremors may disrupt the quality of life of an individual. Sometimes, tremors require movement therapy and medical intervention.

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