It is movement disorder. It can affect at any age (some even have it from their birth).
Although essential tremor can affect almost any part of your body, trembling occurs most often in your hands, especially when you try to do simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water, tying your shoelaces, writing or shaving. Sometimes, you may also have trembling of your head, voice or arms.
Essential tremor is the most common of the many movement disorders.
Essential tremor often begins gradually. Sometimes it appears during adolescence. More often, though, tremors begin in mid- to late life.
The most common sign is a trembling, up-and-down movement of your hands, although your arms, legs, head and even your tongue and voice box (larynx) also may be affected. Most people have tremors in both hands. Some people have tremors in only one hand, though the tremors often progress to include both hands.
Tremors usually occur only when you engage in a voluntary movement, such as drinking a glass of water, writing or threading a needle. Actions requiring fine-motor skills — using utensils or small tools, for example — may be especially difficult. Fatigue, anxiety and temperature extremes make the signs worse, but tremors usually disappear when you're asleep or at rest.
Some people have relatively mild tremors throughout their lives, while others develop more severe tremors and increased disability over time. Effects of worsening tremors may include:
Difficulty holding a cup or glass without spilling
Difficulty eating normally
Difficulty putting on makeup or shaving
Difficulty talking, if your voice box or tongue is affected
Difficulty writing — handwriting may become increasingly large, shaky and illegible
The inability to perform actions requiring fine-motor skills, such as playing an instrument or drawing
About half of all cases of essential tremor appear to occur because of a genetic mutation. This is referred to as benign familial tremor. Genes are information centers in your cells that control your body's growth, development and function. A mutation in just one gene can greatly alter the way your body works. Researchers have identified two genes that appear to be involved in essential tremor. It's possible that mutations in other genes may also lead to the condition.
Exactly what causes essential tremor in people without a known genetic mutation isn't clear. Doctors do know that the problem occurs in the brain circuits that control your movements. Studies using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET) scanning show that certain parts of the brain — including the thalamus — have increased activity in people with essential tremor. More research is needed to understand the precise mechanism behind the disease.
Most people with essential tremor don't need treatment beyond reassurance that the condition isn't a sign of a more serious disease. Lifestyle changes — which include getting plenty of rest and avoiding stressful situations and stimulants such as caffeine — may help ease the tremors. Most people with essential tremor find that fatigue, anxiety, sleep deprivation and even temperature extremes make their tremors worse.
If lifestyle changes don't help and tremors are keeping you from doing the things you enjoy, your doctor may recommend these options:
Medications provide relief from tremors roughly half the time. They include:
Beta blockers. Normally used to treat high blood pressure, beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), help relieve tremors in some people. Because beta blockers are especially likely to cause dizziness, confusion and memory loss in older adults, they may be a better choice for younger people. They may not be an option if you also have asthma, diabetes or certain heart problems.
Anti-seizure medications. These drugs, especially primidone (Mysoline), may be effective in people who don't respond to beta blockers. The main side effects are drowsiness and flu-like symptoms, which usually disappear within a short time.
Tranquilizers. Doctors sometimes use drugs such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) to treat people whose tremors are made much worse by tension or anxiety. Side effects can include confusion and memory loss. Additionally, these medications should be used with caution because they can be habit-forming.
Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections. You're probably familiar with Botox as a treatment for facial wrinkles, but it can also be useful in treating some types of tremors, especially of the head and voice. Botox injections can improve problems for up to three months at a time. When used to treat hand tremors, Botox can sometimes cause weakness in your fingers.
I'm guessing he is diagnosed with it, as he has been given medications. Unfortunatly all medications that have to "get to the brain" are very strong. But if his condition is really that bad (if it affects his daily life) that he needs to take them, then he should talk to his doctor and report any changes, side effects that appear (doctor should follow it and maybe change medication if he thinks it is not working well). Body needs at least 2 weeks to get used to meds that are strong as those.
But if he doesn't need to take them, if his condition is not so bad...he might consider changing his life style (he can do that anyway, it can help a lot) - no smoking, avoiding coffee, having regular sleep, also rest during the day, avoid stress, practice breathing tehniques to keep his body calm, strengthen his hands (there are certain excersises he can do to promote more stability in his hands and wrists,these usually involve using 1- to 2-pound weights strapped to his wrists), maybe joining a support gorup with people who suffer the same so he will be able to see that he is not alone.....Also your support (friends, family, gf etc.) will be very important - try not to notice "out loud" when his hands shake very bad, try to be there for him, spountaniusly doing things that you know would be hard for him to do (just to save him embarassment if in public)...he would be greatful....:)
Well I hope this helps!
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All the best ! :)