What is The Connection Between Alcohol and Tremors?

What is The Connection Between Alcohol and Tremors?

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If you happen to consume large quantities of alcohol and start noticing that you’re shaking after drinking, you might be experiencing alcohol tremors. But what exactly are they? Join us as we discuss the topic to provide you with all the essential information you need to understand, cope with, and treat alcohol tremors.

What Are Alcohol Tremors?

Alcohol tremors, sometimes referred to as alcohol shakes or alcohol withdrawal tremors, are uncontrollably shaking or trembling movements that can happen to people who have been drinking large quantities of alcohol for an extended period of time and then abruptly stop drinking or cut back on their consumption. So basically, these tremors are just a sign of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Although the hands are most commonly affected, the tremors can also affect the arms, legs, face, or voice. They could manifest as a mild trembling or as a more intense shaking. Alcoholic shakes can range in intensity from minor to severe, and they occasionally cause people problems going about their day. It is crucial to distinguish alcohol tremors from essential tremors, which are unrelated to alcohol consumption and are caused by a neurological disorder.

What Causes Alcoholic Tremors?

When someone abruptly stops drinking alcohol following a period of excessive and continuous heavy drinking, they usually experience alcohol tremors. The body grows reliant on alcohol to operate normally when someone drinks it frequently and in significant quantities. Alcohol has an impact on the brain's levels of specific neurotransmitters that control nerve cell function, including glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid. The central nervous system becomes hyperexcitable when alcohol is suddenly removed from the body because it upsets the equilibrium of these neurotransmitters, eventually leading to alcohol shakes. Tremors are just one of the many withdrawal symptoms that can be brought on by this hyperexcitability.

Although the precise process of alcohol withdrawal tremors is not entirely understood, it is thought that the imbalance between glutamate and GABA plays a major role in causing them. While glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases neuron activity, GABA is a neurotransmitter with inhibitory properties that aid in calming nerve activity. Long-term alcohol consumption can increase GABA's benefits and decrease glutamate's activities. The absence of alcohol causes the glutamate activity to rise and the GABA activity to fall, which promotes excitability and causes tremors.

It's crucial to remember that not every individual who drinks alcohol will have to expect these tremors during withdrawal. The onset and severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, can be influenced by variables such as the quantity and length of alcohol usage, a person's vulnerability, and genetics.

What Are The Similarities and Differences Between Alcohol Tremors and Essential Tremors?

Although they do share similarities, essential tremors, and alcohol tremors are two different things. Here are a few key differences and similarities between the two:


  1. Involuntary Tremors:

    Both essential tremors and alcohol tremors involve involuntary shaking and trembling in the hands mainly, and in other body parts as well.
  2. Hand Tremors:

    Although they can also affect other body parts, both alcohol and essential tremors commonly affect the hands.



  1. Alcohol:

    These tremors, which are a part of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, are brought on by a sudden reduction of alcohol consumption or a large drop in alcohol intake in those who have been abusing alcohol for an extended length of time.
  2. Essential Tremors:

    On the other hand, the cause of essential tremors is unknown. Since they frequently run in families, they are classified as neurological disorders that might have genetic causes. So, it's fair to say that alcohol use has no direct correlation with essential tremors.


  1. Alcohol:

    Alcohol tremors usually manifest themselves a few hours to several days following the decrease or stop of alcohol intake. Meaning, they fall within the category of acute withdrawal.
  2. Essential Tremors:

    Most essential tremors are persistent and progressive which means they remain and get worse over time. They have nothing to do with a particular period of time spent using drugs or alcohol.

Progression and Severity:

  1. Alcohol:

    While the body adjusts to alcoholism and begins to heal, alcohol-related tremors may become less severe over time. They usually peak during the acute withdrawal phase.
  2. Essential Tremors:

    Essential tremors are a chronic neurological condition that often develops gradually over years, becoming increasingly noticeable and interfering with day-to-day activities.


  1. Alcohol:

    These tremors can only and specifically be triggered by alcohol withdrawal or a significant reduction in alcohol consumption.
  2. Essential Tremors:

    On the other hand, a number of things, including stress, exhaustion, coffee, specific drugs, or particular movements, might trigger essential tremors.

Response to Alcohol:

  1. Alcohol:

    Resuming alcohol consumption wouldn't actually get in the way of reducing the effects of alcohol tremors, but this is not a suggested or healthy strategy to manage things.
  2. Essential Tremors:

    Alcohol use typically does not affect essential tremors. Alcohol may occasionally provide a momentary relief from symptoms, though this effect varies from one person to another.


Treatment Options:

When it comes to treatment, it’s highly focused on managing alcohol withdrawal syndrome while supporting the individual through their detoxification and healing process. Here are some of the most common approaches for dealing with shakes from alcohol.

  • Medical Supervision:

When going through an alcohol withdrawal, it is crucial to get medical attention, particularly if you're experiencing severe shaking or other withdrawal symptoms. Medical experts can monitor the patient's status and offer appropriate suggestions for ensuring your safety during the withdrawal process.

  • Medications:

Tremors are among the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that may be treated with medication. Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam or diazepam, are frequently prescribed to treat tremors, lessen anxiety, and stop seizures. To further help with the treatment process of tremors and other physical problems, doctors may also prescribe additional drugs, like beta-blockers.

  • Fluids and Nutrition:

Encouraging a balanced diet high in vitamins and minerals and keeping the body well-hydrated and fed are essential during alcohol withdrawal. If necessary, intravenous fluids can be given to aid.

  • Supportive Care:

Having an encouraging environment and receiving emotional support are important in treating this type of tremors. Support groups, therapy, and counseling can help people manage the difficulties of alcohol withdrawal and offer direction for staying sober long after the healing process is done.

  • Gradual Alcohol Reduction:

Occasionally, it may be advised to taper off alcohol consumption under medical supervision rather than quitting suddenly. To lessen withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, this method entails progressively cutting back on alcohol intake over time.

Final Thoughts:

If you notice that you’re starting to experience these tremors, it’s very important to seek medical attention immediately before things get worse. There are a lot of available and accessible treatment options for you to try, the process might be long, but it’s going to be worth your time and dedication.


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