Possible causes for sudden anxiety and tremors?
May 15, 2017 10:35 AM   Subscribe

So I wake up last Monday and notice my hand shaking. On top of that, seemingly out of nowhere, I'm more anxious about even the smallest things. I'm always anxious but this is different, it feels different at least, and the tremors are new... I guess the question is what could so suddenly (or at least without me realizing it) cause the shakes? It's been a week, I'm kind of desperate for a solution here.
posted by dr handsome to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's hard to know without a bit more information, but have you by any chance changed your diet or your eating habits? When I get hungry, I sometimes don't feel any hunger pangs, but I'll notice that I sometimes a bit shaky. And not incidentally, when I don't eat for too long, I can get super anxious too. In fact, if I feel free-floating anxiety, I say, "When was the last time I ate?" and yep, it will have been eight hours ago or something.
posted by holborne at 10:39 AM on May 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

Second the possibility that it's diet related if you have changed your eating habits recently. My husband gets really bad tremors and anxiety when he starts up keto.
posted by joan_holloway at 10:57 AM on May 15, 2017

Have you changed coffee brands? This sounds a lot like what happens to me when I get too much caffeine.
posted by The otter lady at 11:03 AM on May 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Question- is it one hand that shakes or both? If it's just one, go check in with your GP and let them know about the shakes and the increased anxiety.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:10 AM on May 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Are you on anti-anxiety medication? That can cause hand tremors.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:12 AM on May 15, 2017

Taking any decongestants for the spring pollen? Sudafed can enhance anxiety symptoms and cause shakiness.
posted by aimedwander at 11:14 AM on May 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

This just is not enough information and since it appears to be continuing it would be wise to see you physician. I assume you are not an alcoholic/heavy drinker/drug user and/or detoxing from alcohol/drugs. Shakes/tremors/anxiety would not be unexpected if you were a heavy user or detoxing. Things you might tell your physician--are the tremors continuous/intermittent, present when making an intentional movement, bilateral, only in hands and OTC or prescription drugs you are using.discontinuing. Do you have any other neurological symptoms--gait/balance disturbance, coordination problems, etc. It could well be anxiety but worth checking out.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:11 PM on May 15, 2017

Routine blood testing is something to do as soon as you can. You're likely deficient in something, most of us are.

Also, nthing the dietary change possibility. One thing you can do right now is up your protein and iron intake, and see if it helps. Tremors, stiff muscles and anxiety/skipping heart are common signs of a nutrient deficiency.
posted by InkDrinker at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2017

There are physical problems which can cause those symptoms, so please don't assume it's just anxiety and will pass. It might be! But see your doc, try to note down details beforehand so you can accurately describe what's happening.
posted by clone boulevard at 1:08 PM on May 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

For me these symptoms were an early sign that my thyroid wasn't behaving properly. A simple blood test can identify whether that's an issue for you. Mayo Clinic symptom list for hyperthyroidism.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:44 PM on May 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Having just gone through the trials of diagnosing and treating my own hand tremors, I can tell you that there are many possible causes. As mentioned upthread, tremors can be indicative of an overactive thyroid gland. So too can an electrolyte imbalance cause tremors, which sounds very scary but Gatorade or an alternative sports drink (or even alkaline water) is a miracle cure for it. Caffeine can definitely aggravate a tremor.

Part of the trick is to diagnose what type of tremor it is, as the causes and cures can vary widely. You don't mention your age, but essential tremors are very common, generally age-related, and are more annoying than problematic. I have it on good authority that one sure indication that it's just an essential tremor is that it vanishes when you drink alcohol.

Oh, and it's very possible that your tremors didn't come on suddenly, but they just became pronounced enough that you noticed them.

You should probably start with your PCP to rule out some of the more medical causes, but may well end up consulting with a neurologist.
posted by DrGail at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Have you gone cold-turkey, or even warm-turkey, on anything lately?
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:48 PM on May 15, 2017

Nthing hyperthyroidism or a hyper phase of Hashimoto's. How has your iodine intake been lately?
Have you had enough vitamin B (especially 12) or magnesium lately? Vitamin D can deplete magnesium, do you supplement or get more sun now?

A doctor is probably your best bet. I hope you can find someone who a) won't dismiss you and b) knows what to test for and how to read lab results.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:36 AM on May 16, 2017

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