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Alcohol

Many people find alcohol is an enjoyable part of their life, but too much can cause problems and worsen tremor.  

Alcohol whether that is beer, wine or spirits is a depressant. In small amounts it can reduce feelings of anxiety and inhibitions, making people more sociable and can be part of a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle.

For people with tremor alcohol will temporarily improve symptoms of tremor. In some studies it has been estimated that 50%, and as much as 80% of people according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will see an improvement of symptoms after drinking alcohol. 

People with tremor will find that roughly two units of alcohol (roughly one pint or one small glass of wine) will suppress essential tremor for about 4 hours. On-the-other-hand, too much booze, not only affects your judgement, but can cause a hangover that worsens the tremor the next morning.

Some people with tremor, and people with other disorders, will find they are using alcohol to self-medicate and relieve symptoms. Regular usage to treat tremor can often lead to dependence and even alcoholism. In addition frequent drinking over a long period of time is known to worsen and cause depression and anxiety, and has been linked to diseases to the kidney and liver. 

Advice for drinking

It's advisable not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, and it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.

If you want to stay in control of the amount you’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

Eating before you go out and drinking plenty of water will slow down the rate alcohol is absorbed and also help you not to get too drunk. The occasional soft-drink or 'spacer', will keep you fresh for the night and help you reduce the amount you drink.

If you are on medication such as propranolol it is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and even dizziness.

Mobile apps such as the Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app can help you keep an eye on how many units, calories you’re drinking and also the amount of the money you are spending.

For more advice go to DrinkAware.

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