Though essential tremor is not life-threatening, it can be very distressing for people who have it -- especially for those whose symptoms are severe. Simple activities like eating, writing, or picking up a cup of coffee can be challenging and frustrating. As the disease progresses and tremor becomes more pronounced, many people feel anxious and embarrassed in social situations, which only makes the situation worse.
It may be very tempting to withdraw from family and friends to avoid uncomfortable situations. But don't. There are many practical "tricks," in addition to the treatments your doctor prescribes, that can help you stay active with tremor. And staying active socially is an important part of maintaining both your emotional and physical well-being. Here are some tips to make your life easier.
Jessica Levin never gets lost. "I have a weirdly good sense of direction," says the 33-year-old president of a marketing company in Edison, N.J. "If I've been to a place before, even 10 or 20 years earlier, I can go back and know how to get around."
People like Levin don't have an innate sense of direction. What they do have is outstanding recognition and spatial memory: that is, the parts of the memory that record aspects of their environment and where those aspects are in relation to each oth...
Educate Yourself and Others About Essential Tremor
Become informed about essential tremor and learn as much as you can about living with the condition.
Take an active role in your treatment, and discuss your symptoms and questions with your doctor. The more you know about your condition and its treatment, the easier it will be to adapt and reduce the interference with your daily life.
Explain your condition simply and honestly to people you meet. This will avoid confusion on their part and embarrassment on yours.
Avoid alcohol consumption. While small amounts of alcohol seem to relieve essential tremor in some patients, it may interact with medications used to treat ET and also have negative effects on the body, such as alcohol dependency disorder or liver damage. Most experts do not recommend its use.
Consider taking a small dose of medication, such as a beta-blocker, before a social outing; this may help to reduce the tremors.
Avoid certain drugs that can aggravate tremor like thyroid or asthma medications before attending a social event. Be sure you check with your doctor first.