According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, about 18.1% of the population suffers from anxiety disorders every year in the United States. Even more surprising is the fact that only 36.9% of these people are receiving effective treatment from healthcare professionals.
Amidst our busy lives, we often put work on a pedestal leaving behind crucial things such as self-care and mental health. As a result, there comes a point when this stress becomes overbearing, and we fall prey to anxiety tremors and severe cases of anxiety disorders. Your body then enters a state of “fight, flight or freeze.”
While panic attacks may be identified by an external agency, symptoms of severe anxiety are often difficult to detect and may not be visible to others. Keep on reading if you want to learn how to stop anxiety tremors.
Anxiety-related Tremors: At a Glance
Tremor: A rhythmic muscle movement that arises as a response to mental stress
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Resting tremor
- Action tremor
- Essential tremor
- Dystonic tremor
- Cerebellar tremor
- Psychogenic tremor
- Physiologic tremor
- Parkinsonian tremor
- Orthostatic tremor
Diagnosis and treatment
- Eradication of parent disease
- Beta-Blocking drugs
- Anti-seizure medications such as topiramate
- Surgery, etc.
What Are Anxiety Tremors?
Anxiety tremors are the human body’s physiological response to external stressors. This happens when our body perceives danger around or any situatio that leads to the emancipation of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
The moment your nervous system detects the shift in hormonal concentration, our heart rate, respiration and blood pressure levels spike up. The muscles are then sent a signal through the neurons, which leads to shaking/trembling.
Since this is an evolutionary response, all human beings tend to tremble slightly when faced with a stressful situation. The real problem arises when one cannot control the anxiety. This occurs in people who suffer from anxiety disorder, which include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Characterized by excessive worrying about issues such as family, everyday life, work, and social situations. Symptoms include low focus span, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, loss of sleep, etc. Tremors might occur all the time due to nervous thoughts.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Caused by the after effects of a certain past event. Being startled easily, feeling threatened and fear of certain activities that link to the past are some common symptoms of PTSD. You become prone to getting attacks as your body tries to cope with unprocessed traumatic memories. Shaking may occur when one hears any loud noises or sees a simulation that reminds one of a past incident.
- Panic disorder: Individuals with panic disorder constantly try to avoid future attacks by dunking over social situations and association with anybody. Tremors are common both before and during a panic attack.
Types Of Tremors
They can be classified into more than 20 different types! Nonetheless, we can identify the type based on appearance, cause, and origin. Some common types of tremor include:
- Dystonic Tremor: These tremors arise due to a condition known as Dystonia. Our brain sends signals to our body which cannot be interpreted correctly by our muscles leading to abnormal postures or unwanted movements.
- Cerebellar Tremor:These tremors are caused due to a damaged cerebellum and are characterized by movements that happen in the extremities like arms & legs.
- Psychogenic Tremor:Common with people suffering from PTSD, in this case, this tremor may affect one or all body parts.
- Physiologic Tremor:This variety is common in everyone and is usually not dangerous. It involves rapid but not apparent movement of our hand tremors (also known as “shaky hands”) during stressful times.
- Parkinsonism Tremor:As suggested by the name, this type of tremor is a side-effect of Parkinson’s disease. The affected area continues to spread as the disease progresses.
- Essential Tremor: This tremor is one of the most common movement disorders. It appears on both sides of the body and is usually prevalent in the dominant part. It can lead to difficulties in writing, drawing, walking, etc.
- Orthostatic Tremor: Though rare, orthostatic tremors cause a feeling of unsteadiness when walking or standing. The cause of this tremor is unknown.
Common Causes Behind Anxiety Tremors
As stated above, these shaky movements arise as a result of hormonal spikes in stressful situations. But what are the things that might cause an individual’s body muscles to twitch uncontrollably? Let’s find out.
Some types of tremors have no known cause of medical associations, it can be genetic or simply a reflex that we have become used to.
In other cases, they are linked to neurological disorders like stroke, brain injury, and mental illnesses. Other known causes include overdose of substances like caffeine, corticosteroids, mercury poisoning, and chronic anxiety.
Medications and Treatment To Reduce Anxiety Tremors
Tremors are assessed based on their location and nature. Even though they are incurable in most cases, advancements in medical sciences have presented us with loads of medications to help control/deter anxiety tremors and address other medical conditions. Medications include
- Beta-blocking Drugs: Beta blockers drugs find their primary application in treating high blood pressure, but they have also been effective in getting rid of essential tremors. Atenolol, propranolol, and sotalol are some examples.
- Benzodiazepines: This is a class of drugs that calms your nerves and keeps tremors at bay. Some prevalent examples include Xanax, Librium, and Klonopin.
In addition, working with a mental health professional using a number of different therapies has been proven to show improvements:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to change the way you think and behave during times of anxiety. By developing awareness of anxious thoughts through CBT, you learn to develop the ability to interrupt and change thoughts of worry that spur anxiety. CBT also help you to understand your unconscious behaviors when your anxiety is triggered. During treatment, the trained expert provides support through the process of Identifying triggers of anxiety, practicing ways to calm down, while you are dealing with the uncertainties arising as the result of the tremors.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR) is a technique used in psychotherapy that utilizes back-and-forth eye movements while thinking about a stressful situation or negative belief. Moving the eyes from side to side creates a calming effect by engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn relaxes the sympathetic nervous system which controls the flight-fight-freeze response.
- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): This is a low risk method in which high frequency electric signals are sent to thalamus, the area of the brain responsible for involuntary movements. This is facilitated by a small pulse generating device, which is used to disable tremors by sending electrical stimuli to the brain.
Routine Changes For A Better You
Aside from these cutting edge medications, incorporating healthy habits will also help improve your mind-muscle connection.
For the first step, start with a healthy diet, which includes a perfect balance of multiple vitamins, one of many lifestyle changes you can make.to reduce tremors and other physical symptoms of anxiety.
In addition, you can begin practicing certain yogic asanas and relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, targeted at the affected areas of your body.
In addition, physical exercise can boost your mood and reduce stress.
There are also other substances to avoid. One of them is alcohol because it is a depressant. Staying away from nicotine and caffeine are also good ideas because they are stimulants. All of these can make anxiety worse.
Many mental health professionals also suggest something called progressive muscle relaxation in which you have to contract and release different muscle groups, which eases the blood flow and calms your body. Combining this with deep breathing helps to induce a state of calmness.
Feeling overwhelmed due to anxiety tremors is common, but it is crucial to understand that little steps will help you manage anxiety and get better in better life.
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