Essential Tremor and Dementia

June 29, 2018

After extensive research and many studies, it has been proven that essential tremor is associated with dementia, and mild cognitive deficits that affect functionality and memory have been reported in people with essential tremor. Essential tremor has been found to increase odds of prevalent dementia and increased risk of incident dementia. Presence of dementia, appeared to be greater than that that would be expected for the disease associated with age. Essential Tremor patients should be screened for dementia regularly and routinely incorporated into the treatment plan. 

Essential tremor is a progressive neurologic disease, and is one of the most common movement disorders that have been diagnosed. In addition to the motor issues that are caused by essential tremor, it appears that there are cognitive problems as well. Because essential tremors cause has not been determined, this theory could help determine what truly causes it, and then help develop a cure. 

Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. Treatment can help dementia, but cannot be cured. It is chronic like essential tremor, and can last for years or be lifelong. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment. The symptoms of dementia include forgetfulness, interrupted social skills, and other things that interfere with daily function. Symptoms can also include depression, medication side effects, use of alcohol excessively, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for over 60 percent of all the cases of dementia. It is often referred to as “senility” which reflects the incorrect belief that mental decline as severe as this is a normal part of aging. 

Dementia, like essential tremor, can be managed by therapies and medications. Some causes of dementia can be reversed to help lessen the symptoms. The same medications used to treat Alzheimer’s are among the drugs that sometimes help with symptoms of other types of dementias. Non-drug therapies such as rest, security objects, calm environments, and monitoring personal comfort of the individual can help slow the effects of dementia. Dementia, like essential tremor, is very personal and affects each individual differently. Exploring treatment options is an important step to finding the solution that works best for care providers and individuals. 

Medications for Dementia include antidepressants because of the depressive symptoms of the disease. Citalopram, Fluoxetine, and Sertraline all are included. Anxiolytics and antipsychotic medications are also recommended. Antipsychotics are only used when behavioral symptoms are due to mania or psychosis, or the symptoms present a danger to the person or those around them. 

It has been proven that essential tremor can be a determining factor in dementia and those who get dementia. Those who have essential tremor are more likely to get dementia potentially due to the brain issues that are already there from the essential tremor condition. Though they can be treated separately, treatments should be considered hand in hand to make sure that everyone is treated correctly and to their benefit.