What is the Connection Between Tremors and Anxiety?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2016
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Tremors are repeating, involuntary muscle contractions that appear as shaking or trembling. This shaking may affect a single area, such as the hands, or may be generalized over the whole body. Tremors and anxiety are frequently linked, thanks to the unique set of physiological reactions that occur when a person is suffering anxiety.

When a person is experiencing anxiety, fear, or stress, the body gears up to deal with a potential threat. This is sometimes called the “fight or flight” reaction, and it may occur far more often and with more strength in some people than others. While anxious, the body may release a flood of chemicals, including epinephrine. This hormone, which comes from the adrenal glands, boosts oxygen levels, increases heart rate and blood pressure, and may cause the connection between tremors and anxiety when it is released in high levels.

In particularly scary or tense situations, it is not uncommon for tremors or anxiety to occur. A stressful breakup, severe shock, or confrontation with a phobia may be enough to cause a person to shake and tremble. The occurrence of tremors may seem counter-intuitive, since shaking can make a person feel weaker and less able to fight or take action, but the tremors are often a side effect of the whole body getting ready to defend itself.


When anxiety accompanied by tremors occurs on a regular basis and disrupts normal tasks or actions, it may be an indication of an anxiety disorder. There are many types of anxiety disorders of which tremors are a symptom, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder. These may be caused by a variety of factors and are sometimes linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes anxiety symptoms to manifest with only slight provocation. Most anxiety disorders are treated through psychological therapy, drugs, or a combination of the two.

If tremors and anxiety begin to occur frequently, experts suggest seeing a physician for analysis and tests. While tremors are often simply the result of a body overloaded with chemicals, they can also be a symptom of another condition. Several health conditions are associated with uncontrollable shaking, including hyperthyroidism, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's disease. Other common causes include vitamin deficiency, over-consumption of sugar or caffeine, or prolonged lack of sleep. Since some serious medical conditions are linked to tremors along with anxiety, taking the matter to a doctor may be the best way of eliminating possible causes and focusing in on appropriate treatment.


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Post 3

@KoiwiGal - It's good that she has you there and that you realize this is a disease, not just someone being overly nervous.

I get really tired of people trying to talk me out of having anxiety by telling me to basically get over it. I mean, I understand it can be hard to imagine, but if it was that simple I would have done it a long time ago.

I don't like these anxiety disorder symptoms, but I have to live with them and I'm the best person to know how my mind and body works.

Post 2

@croydon - Anxiety isn't a great mental illness to have. I have some depression, which is bad as well, but I have a friend with anxiety and I'd rather have the depression.

She just gets so upset about so many things and often she'll even tell me afterwards that she knew in her mind that it wasn't that big a deal, but her body and her emotions wouldn't listen to reason. She gets hand tremors all the time as well, so she can't really do anything that requires her to have steady hands.

She's trying to get on some medication that will work for her at the moment, but hasn't managed to find anything that doesn't make her feel ill or affect her in other negative ways. Hopefully she'll find something soon.

Post 1

I tend to shake a lot when I'm really anxious or stressed, although it takes a very high level of pressure before people start to notice the shakes.

I don't like to take anything for it though, because I've never had anything that made me feel any better. The only 'cure' is to get rid of whatever is causing me the anxiety.

It doesn't happen very often and I don't think it's quite the same as panic attack symptoms, so I don't feel like I need real medication for it. But it's extremely unpleasant when it does happen.

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