Tremor when excited/involved/emotional

Can someone please help me understand the science behind why I get all shaky when I'm in the spotlight? I'm not nervous or afraid, and it's one of the latest symptoms, in the past 8 to 10 weeks. I'm more gait dominant and don't have a tremor otherwise, but the more involved I am in a good conversation, especially in a group, the more my voice, hand and arm get going.

Is it a shortage of dopamine? As in not enough to manage emotion and movement control at the same time? Or is there a better explanation?

35 Replies

  • I have the same problem. I am now on 200mg of sertraline, alprazolam and Medical Marijuana to manage my anxiety.

  • When i get nervous, anxious or need to hurry (e.g. at the check out in supermarket) i can feel my tremor or hands wont work properly. Normally i dont have a tremor.

    I have always felt my symptoms are worse when anxious.

  • Same with me when you feel like people are waiting for you at supermarket. I was trying to buy a train ticket and a lady was behind me watching in the end I asked her to do it for me..

  • There's nothing wrong with asking for help, right? It gives someone the opportunity to be kind and bless a stranger.

  • I find that I start to speak louder, when this happens. I tend to get all wound up and I think it is like stress, and it should be avoided.

    When you say "in the spotlight" do you mean that you feel you are being targeted? Put things into perspective! Stop doing things that make you stressed! Avoid stress as much as you can. People are the biggest cause of stress, be they family or friends. Choose wisely.

  • Yes, I've been under chronic stress for many years and I'm sure it's been a factor in getting into this predicament. And I have seen new symptoms crop up and become permanent right after a particularly stressful moment. I would love to get rid of those moments altogether but we don't always get to choose our situations, so most likely they will continue.

    But what I really meant was fun times, like Bible study. I love that group and telling my stories and giving my perpectives, and I really get into it. That's when the tremor shows up! I look and sound nervous or scared but I'm just having a good time!

    It doesn't stop me or lessen my enjoyment. I was just curious about the science behind it. =-)

  • Yes, my 'state of mind' has an effect on symptoms.

  • I had it explained to me as being to do with adrenaline. The purpose of adrenaline during stressful or exciting moments is to prime the body to fight or flight. Part of how it does this is to shut down certain functions (the need to eat, sleep, have a toilet break etc). And part of how it does this (apparently) is to both shut down dopamine production (now's not the time for euphoria) and start mopping up the stuff. Fine if you're flooded with the stuff but not so fine for all of us...

    No idea if this is actually what happens but it made sense to me.

    Experiments have definitely shown that injecting adrenaline into PwP increases tremor within minutes.

  • That does make sense! Thanks!!

  • I think that most of us have those odd moments when any type of stress causes tremor. 99% of the time, I am tremor free as long as I have taken my tablet at the right time, but the other symptoms continue. Sometimes stress can cause a tremor.

  • A very small dose (10 mgs) of Inderal (propranolol -- a beta blocker) can mitigate the shakes. The medication is quite common as an anxiety/tremor remover among classical musicians who obviously don't want there hands to shake while they play.

  • That's very interesting! My husband takes propranolol to keep his heart rate down when he's having a panic/chemical sensitivity/asthma attack. This information adds a new dimension for me to how it helps him.

  • same problem, I find if i lay down and rest (1/2 hour) if possible the tremors subside.

  • I work in a supermarket so can't avoid stress! When there is a drama with a customer I shake. Mostly my left hand { im left handed ) doesn't want to Work or cramping in toes n ankle.

  • That's similar to me, but even in happy situations. =-D

  • Stress aggravates PD tremors, even when one is on medicine ( such as Sinemet ). As one who goes before the public, I tend to shake ).

  • I'm not yet on any medication, only because I can't afford health insurance for myself after all my husband's health expenses. The only movement disorder specialist in Memphis won't see me until I have insurance. Hopefully starting next January!

  • I was there and now that I am medicated for the anxiety my angle on it has changed. Multi tasking is becoming harder and harder. While walking through Costco today I had no anxiety, but I slowed way down and my left foot turned inward and I started to limp. The best way to explain it is to use a computer analogy. When you are playing an intense game and there is a hundred things going on at once and not enough RAM or slow processor the game slows down and tries to lock up. It can not process the information fast enough.

    I also liken my type of Parkinson's to that of a mouse whiskers. Whiskers give the mouse the ability to sense things around him without seeing it. All those things we learned to make those whiskers longer through life become shorter and shorter. I have to stop looking and processing everything I see and just concentrate on walking. I was fortunate enough to get behind someone in one of those electric carts, and I just followed him to the checkout line.

  • My leg/ ankle stop working the other day while at home so I crawled to get my medication n to where else I needed to go till the meds kick in, shame I can't do that in public lol

  • It is funny but I feel much better within my homes walls. I have to make sure that I do not become a recluse but I do not know at this point if I can stop the process.

  • I keep reading this comment because it's fascinating! Thank you!

  • I forgot to add that Costco moved everything again.....

  • LOL!!!!

  • O u poor thing having to wait, we have doctors n specialist who bulk bill n meds subsidised in Australia

  • I can't stand our idiotic American health care system. My dad's family came here from Australia when he was a kid, and I think I could apply for dual citizenship..... IF I had the money. I would never have considered it until this happened.

  • If u dad was born in Australia u might b a dual citizen? Its a big topic in our parliament at the moment

  • When I am with friends who know I have P

  • I would love to hear the rest of this comment, 4000Nights!!

  • When I am with friends who know I have PD (and my closest friends do) I don't worry about my tremors so of course they are not as bad.

    When I am with new people, I do worry so of course they are worse.

    Worry causes stress; Stress causes adrenaline; adrenaline worsens the tremors.

    I am trying to learn not to worry about it... that it doesn't really matter to others whether I have a tremor or PD for that matter. it does not define who I am.

    I am having some success.

  • That does make sense. I thought I had stopped caring what people think of me years ago, but there must be some part of me that is nervous in the group. I honestly don't "feel" nervous, but I don't really feel much of anything these days.

    Maybe that's a related neurotransmitter issue?

  • Had to retire because of this. When a client called about some problem i would just panic. I would get stiff and could not think. It would happen every time. It took a 30 minutes for me to recover.

  • I'm sorry, Bailey. I hope you're doing well in retirement.

  • My body feels stress before I do. :) Stress being any heightened emotional state. Very important to design as much stress free life as possible. Slowing way down, focusing on the present moment and forget all about the overrated act of multitasking or picking out which chocolate bar you want when your standing in an aisle where there are 50 to choose from. On a more serious note though, adrenalin (sp) is the culprit along with the reduction of dopamine in any situation the brain believes to be not normal. Stupid brain....

  • According to, an amazing site, your body's movement, at least on the side that has pd if unilateral, no longer is controlled by dopamine and the parasympathetic nervous system. It has to rely on adrenaline and the sympathetic or fight or flight system. This is why we shake and explains the lack of smoothness of movement. Especially worse with any amount of stress.

  • Thank you! I'll have to check out that site, too.

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