Coping with Essential Tremor

Andres Deik

Andres Deik celebrates at his daughter’s wedding.

Once known as familial tremor, benign essential tremor or hereditary tremor, essential tremor (ET) is a neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. Some even feel an internal shake. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease although ET is eight times more common, affecting an estimated 10 million Americans alone. Because of stereotypes and a lack of awareness, many people with ET never seek medical care though many would benefit from treatment.

Coping Tips

Tips-IconEssential tremor is a life-altering condition that makes everyday living a test of ingenuity, perseverance and self-esteem. Daily activities such as writing a letter, dressing and eating cause frustration that can lead to stress with temporarily worsening tremor. In order to assist people who have ET in continuing to live full, meaningful lives, the IETF offers some coping tips.

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Assistive Devices

Assistive-Mouse-IconThe IETF has gathered information about a number of devices and technologies that may be helpful to people with essential tremor. Many have been recommended by physicians and other health professionals, as well as people with essential tremor. The IETF hopes you find something among these assistive devices that helps you manage your essential tremor and enables you to perform daily tasks that you were formerly unable to accomplish.

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Coping Articles

Articles-IconThe anxiety induced by a diagnosis of essential tremor, along with the stresses caused by the life-altering effects of tremors, can be difficult to manage.  It’s crucial to have tools to cope with essential tremor, as tremors worsen in times of stress.This information can ease day-to-day living with ET.

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Personal Stories/Sharing

Personal-Story-IconMeet people with essential tremor from all walks of life—artists, musicians, quilters and more—and be inspired by their stories. If you’d like to share the story of your experiences with ET, contact the IETF.

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ET and the Arts

ET-Arts-IconMany people with essential tremor still find ways for expression through creative acts. The artists, musicians, and creative individuals featured in this section have found ways to accept the challenges of essential tremor and still demonstrate their talents.

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on September 25, 2008, clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law’s civil rights protections. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 revises the definition of disability to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity.

Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays benefits to people who can’t work due to a disability.  To some, essential tremor is considered a disability, but to others it is not. It depends on the impact it has on one’s life. Learn more about the application process on SSA’s website.

Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. JAN is a provided as a service of the Office of Employment Policy, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.