Shaking Hands: When Are Tremors Considered Serious?

Hand tremors can vary in severity and may or may not be a sign of a serious underlying condition. In many cases, hand tremors are benign and not associated with a serious medical problem. These are often referred to as “physiological tremors.” They can be triggered by factors like stress, caffeine intake, fatigue, or low blood sugar and tend to be temporary and mild.

However, hand tremors can also be associated with various medical conditions, and the seriousness of the tremors depends on the underlying cause. Here are some potential causes of hand tremors and their seriousness:

Essential Tremor:

  • Essential tremor is a common cause of hand tremors. While it is not life-threatening, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, particularly when it affects activities that require fine motor skills, such as writing or eating.

Parkinson's Disease:

  •  Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that can cause hand tremors. It is a serious condition, and hand tremors are just one of many symptoms.


  •  Dystonia is a movement disorder that can lead to sustained muscle contractions and abnormal postures, including tremors. The seriousness of dystonia can vary depending on the specific form and its impact on daily life.

Medication Side Effects:

  • Some medications can cause hand tremors as a side effect. In such cases, adjusting the medication or finding alternative treatments may resolve the issue.

Other Medical Conditions:

  • Hand tremors may be associated with underlying medical conditions like hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis, or peripheral neuropathy. The seriousness of these conditions can vary.

Alcohol Withdrawal:

  • Alcohol withdrawal tremors, which are characterized by hand tremors, can be a sign of a serious condition. Alcohol withdrawal should be managed by a healthcare professional, as it can lead to life-threatening complications if not properly treated.

Psychogenic Tremor:

  • Psychogenic tremor is a type of tremor that is related to psychological factors. While it may not be physically dangerous, it can be associated with emotional distress.
  • The seriousness of hand tremors depends on the cause and the impact on an individual’s daily life. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent or worsening hand tremors, it is important to seek medical evaluation. A healthcare provider can determine the cause, assess the seriousness of the condition, and recommend appropriate treatment or management options. Early diagnosis and intervention can be crucial, especially when an underlying medical condition is present.

Dr. Sumeet Dhawan, a skilled neurologist, employs a comprehensive approach to treat tremors. Through detailed patient assessments and cutting-edge diagnostic tools, he identifies the underlying causes. Implementing personalized treatment plans, which may include medications, therapy, or advanced interventions, Dr. Dhawan strives to alleviate tremors and enhance patients’ overall quality of life

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