Recently a loved one in my life pointed out that she shakes badly every morning, especially after a night of heavy drinking. Since this loved one is somewhat older I told her that I thought it might be the beginnings of Parkinson’s; just like her father had. However, watching firsthand how difficult it was for her to even put toothpaste on her toothbrush due to her severe shaking the morning after she consumed a great deal of wine, I’m now inclined to believe that the tremors are caused by her alcohol abuse.
I decided to do some more research on this topic and this is what I’ve found. Tremors or uncontrollable shaking can be triggered by alcohol use. It is characterized by jerky, fluttery movements of the person’s hands and fingers that cannot be stopped voluntarily. In addition to uncontrollable shaking, the individual may experience tremors in their arms, head and eyes; these tremors can go so far as to affect their voice too. The research notes that if the individual experiences tremors and/or uncontrollable shaking brought on by their alcohol use they may have a very serious problem and should speak with a medical professional about their treatment options.
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When it comes to tremors and alcohol – alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal are the primary causes of tremors. When the person speaks with their medical professional about their alcohol consumption the doctor will ask if their drinking worsens or improves their tremors as a way to judge if alcohol is to blame for the uncontrollable shaking. It is important that the individual not stop drinking abruptly after a prolonged period of time (e.g. such as stopping after drinking most days of the week for several years) because they could suffer potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include a wide range of symptoms; everything from depression, vomiting and diarrhea to the severe extreme of seizures or death. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can take place within 5 to 10 hours of an alcohol dependent person’s last drink, worsen at 48 to 72 hours and continue for several weeks. Their uncontrollable shaking will likely be accompanied by anxiety, mood swings, irritability, clammy skin, dilated pupils, nausea and vomiting.
Lastly, the closing paragraph of the article I read really hit home and made the experience of watching my loved one’s shaky hands all that more scary. It stated that if the person is a heavy drinker and already experiencing tremors and uncontrollable shaking it is likely that their body is already dependent on alcohol. It has been reported that excessive alcohol use is characterized by consuming more than 15 drinks per week for men and 8 drinks per week for women. The article went on to state that a clear sign a person has an alcohol problem is if they schedule their daily routine around their drinking and/or experience negative consequences due to their drinking but continue to do so anyway. These negative consequences might include fighting with their spouse, getting arrested for drinking and driving, and not remembering things they’ve said and done while drinking.
I have to say that I knew all of this information. Working for Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab I’ve become very knowledgeable about alcoholism and every other kind of drug addiction. But, after doing additional research on the subject and reading it in black and white the fact that my loved one has a problem really hit home. All the times my loved one couldn’t remember singing Happy Birthday to my children at their birthday parties, the conversations we had on the phone the previous nights, not being able to follow a simple story from start to finish without getting confused – these have all been warning signs that there was a problem developing. I’ve even noticed that I do my best not to call after 6pm or so because that’s when I’m sure she has started drinking and won’t remember our conversation any longer, at that point I typically decide to wait until the next morning to call.
It is only now that I realize the extent of my loved one’s problem and that I need to find a way to make a difference in her life. I have conquered my own drug addiction problems and I know how difficult it is to stop using. However, with the rehabilitation and education that I received at Narconon Fresh Start, the right words and properly chosen facts I believe that I can shed some light on my loved one’s issue for her and guide her into a healthy lifestyle.