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Can PTSD Cause Shaking?

Discussion in 'Symptoms & Other Disorders' started by cha0sbydesign, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. cha0sbydesign

    cha0sbydesign New Member

    Hey everyone. Quick question...my boyfriend is diagnosed with PTSD after returning from serving in the middle east. I've noticed that his hands will frequently shake. I've asked him about it several times and he just shrugs...he's recently just starting to really open up to me about his PTSD but still no explanation about the shaking....is it possible that its related?
  2. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc VIP Member

    Yes! Simple but direct and to the point answer to your question
  3. Jestadud

    Jestadud New Member Premium Member

    The shaking was the first symptom I was aware of and wanting to get it stopped was a major factor in my going to see a doctor in the first place.
  4. dust

    dust New Member

    Yes, shaking is a symptom... but it is also a symptom of other things too. With help it will stop. Good luck!
  5. cha0sbydesign

    cha0sbydesign New Member

    Interesting information. Thanks guys. :) he's taking steps to get help, but I was curious. Off to do more research I go.
  6. sisterinsurvival

    sisterinsurvival New Member

    The tremors from the anxiety which is a component of PTSD were what led me into counseling. They have diminished, but on occasion, I still experience a much milder version of them.
  7. seedling

    seedling VIP Member

    I have two kinds of shaking. One is obvious and happens when I am scared and upset. I'm pretty sure my voice shakes when I talk at this point. I just quiver all over. I've had this happen to me at other times in my life (pre-PTSD), not often, but when very scared.

    The other is a tremor I get that's like a vibration through my nervous system, pretty faint. I feel it when I'm lying in bed, mostly, but also when sitting still. Sometimes I've thought the floor was vibrating. This one is mostly in my upper back, chest and arms. This one happens when the rest of my body is completely at rest and it has nothing to do with emotions.
  8. intothelight

    intothelight Totally Quackers Duck Staff Member Premium Member

    I think tremors in the hands are very common. When anxiety is high, I can't sit still and when it is really out of hand, I shake all over. The "body" tremors are insane, its almost like Parkinsons.
  9. cha0sbydesign

    cha0sbydesign New Member

    See that's what I was thinking it was (Parkinsons.) It's odd, he usually has it when he's laying on the couch and playing video games on his cell phone, I'll see his hands shaking. I don't think I ever see it otherwise. That's interesting that it's caused from anxiety. I also suffer from anxiety, but it must be a much different form than his.
  10. Solara

    Solara VIP Member

    For me, shaking is an indication that a bad flashback is coming on. I'm not sure if its an indication for anyone else...
  11. Iam

    Iam VIP Member

    Me too Seedling. I have just become aware the last couple of months of the second kind you mentioned, vibrations. I experience them when in bed. It feels almost like an electric vibration throughout my entire body. The first couple of times I thought we were having an earthquake. It's totally internal though and really weird. Glad to hear that I am not the only one ;o)

    The visiable shaking is usually due to anxiety for me. It happens when I am with my T a lot, but really at anytime when anxiety is intense.
  12. Jestadud

    Jestadud New Member Premium Member

    I don't know if there is any truth behind this but I am now coming up to 5 years since I went to the Doctors with the shakes and I operate under the following :-

    If I feel the internal shakes I believe I am anxious and try to calm myself. I constantly check myself by holding my hand out straight in front of me to see if it is shaking.

    If I find I really am shaking I remove myself from whatever situation I am in till I am able to calm myself down and feel less of a threat.

    Isn't it an overload of adrenaline going through your system that causes visible shaking?
  13. seedling

    seedling VIP Member

    I believe that shaking can be a release of fear, just as crying is a release of grief or anger. When I'm afraid I can try to shake - like shaking out my arms or hands - and it feels good. This sort of release shaking can be accompanied by sweating.

    The doctors say it is the adrenaline going through the system.
  14. James B.

    James B. New Member Premium Member


    For me shaking (and trembling) was indeed adrenaline related. Lot's of un-identified triggers firing off, near panic attack shaking/trembling. Plus high stress-cup index combined with indifferent dietary habits. Most unpleasant. Used to get it from drinking (too much) alcohol (too quickly), too. Ugh.
  15. Redtail

    Redtail New Member Premium Member

    I would have them also while playing video games (I have combat PTSD also), I would get them at different point but was afraid to talk about them. I would try and hide my hands, such as put them in my pockets. I never really thought much about being PTSD until reading this post. Very interesting.
  16. James B.

    James B. New Member Premium Member

    "Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is a hormone and neurotransmitter. It increases heart rate, contracts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.

    The major physiologic triggers of adrenaline release center upon stresses such as physical threat, excitement, noise, bright lights, and high ambient temperature. All of these stimuli are processed in the central nervous system."

    - Wikipedia


    View attachment 3900
    Epinephrine

    Attached Files:

    Deaf Global Nomad and seedling like this.
  17. superjen

    superjen New Member Premium Member

    It definitely does for me. In fact it probably adds to the agoraphobic/social phobic side of things - in terms of : I always wonder if people can tell how nervous I am.

    The first person who spotted it with me was an extremely close friend. Rather than me go 'oh, thanks for noticing I am distressed' or asking for a hug, it probably added to it in terms of my thinking 'people can spot it'. The next person who spotted it was another extremely close friend. Both of these people care very deeply for me and did not judge. It was concern when they spotted it. The reason they spotted it was because it wasn't 'usual' and only happened when I spoke about my major trauma (so rare). I couldn't help it - I started to shake. But not rocking back and forth, kinda thing... for me - I'd shiver. That kind of shaking.

    I'd shiver.

    And my closest friends who clearly knew the usual me could see it.
    Deaf Global Nomad likes this.
  18. jesse

    jesse One Opinion in Opinion City Premium Member

    I get hand tremors off and on, it was pretty bad about a year ago. I found that quitting drinking really helped a lot. I still shake but nowhere near as badly.
    Jesse
  19. Maze

    Maze VIP Member Premium Member

    Shaking is a sign of shock. I think if the memory is bad enough yes you can shake. I had one flashback memory that caused me to shake so badly, I went really weak and couldn't feel my arms or legs. It's also a sign of strong powerful emotions being in conflict I think. For me it is I want to do something that is related to functioning as a person but powerfully painful feelings attached to it that prevent me.
  20. MamaBear

    MamaBear New Member

    I have had the shakes off and on for years and never put it together with the PTSD! My husband is always trying to get me to eat when he sees me shaking....
  21. BloomInWinter

    BloomInWinter Meeting My True Self Staff Member Premium Member

    Shaking, yes. Also, times that make my legs not want to work and I walk like I'm 100 years old!

    This summer I had several weeks where my 'walk' wasn't mine. Now that I know that's just a sign of my high anxiety or triggered into something, I can tell myself that 'this too shall pass...' and so far, it does.

    Now it doesn't happen much, thankfully. Whew.
  22. Gloria

    Gloria I'm taking those lemons and making lemonaide!

    I had to get epi-pens because I'm allergic to bee stings. Last time, I didn't have an epi-pen and my arm swelled up twice it's normal size. I thought my skin was going to split and my fingers were so swollen that I couldn't bend them. So I got the very expensive epi-pens ($185 for just two pens).

    A few days ago, got stung again by a yellow jacket and used the epi-pen. I don't know which is worst. I started to feel my heart race and was shaking. I felt exactly as I did when I was traumatized during an eight hour ordeal with police - scared out of my mind. I then tried to take clonazapam and sleep but had nightmares all night. The physical symptoms from the epinephrine brought on a full blown PTSD episode. I almost would rather have the swollen arm.

    I'm going to my doctor. I did not follow her instructions when she prescribed the epi-pen. She told me to immediately to the emergency room to get IV's. Maybe if I had gone to the emergency room, they would have gotten my heart rate down and this wouldn't have happened.

    I bet there are a lot of people on the forum who have to use epinephrine. There's no choice with me. I could go into anaphalactic shock.
    Deaf Global Nomad likes this.
  23. Deaf Global Nomad

    Deaf Global Nomad New Member Premium Member

    The epinephrine can cause all sorts of reactions like shaking, racing heart, faster breathing etc... My mom went through a biopsy for breast cancer. They took a biopsy from the breast and one from the axillary lymph nodes. When she put her arm down she felt some tingling and then the nurse told her she could get up and get dressed. As soon as she stood up she began shaking all over and fell over. The nurse actually scolded her for overreacting. The tingling apparently just came from holding her arm up. Later when we all went in for the meeting with the oncologist, I sat reading the report. I could not help myself and started to laugh. Not at my mom, but the plain ignorance or stupidity of the medical team who had come up with one excuse after another. They inserted a double dose of epinephrine into my 100 lbs mom, one in her left breast and the other under her arm, both obviously right by her heart. No wonder her heart was racing and she was shaking. At least we resolved the mystery and my mom decided to go get treatment somewhere else where the medical team would respect her enough.

    Shaking can also be a sign of anxiety. If I am nervous, anxious, or scared I will immediately start shaking.

    According to Peter Levine's book "Waking the Tiger" shaking can also occur as a part of healing. It's basically the body's own way of getting rid of the adrenaline that we PTSDers have way too much of floating around in our systems. The body runs through different stages during trauma. Shaking or tremors complete the full cycle, explaining why people who were not able to react through flight or flight and instead froze or were kept immobile are more likely to develop PTSD whereas people who can react physically are significantly less likely to develop PTSD. The final step of the circle is shaking to get get the adrenaline out. After that happens the animal who was threatened in the first place is usually fine and gets up and finishes whatever it was doing prior to the attack. I thought that was an interesting visual and as I have learned in therapy basic defenses years after the trauma (e.g. kicking or punching) can still help complete the cycle and free me of the stuck PTSD symptoms. After the kicking or punching I usually go through some shaking.

    At the moment it still feels like I have to go through each individual trauma separately and with my CPTSD this will take quite a while, but according to my therapist at some point the learning will begin to affect different traumas at once...
    Icon Nikon and Gloria like this.
  24. Gloria

    Gloria I'm taking those lemons and making lemonaide!

    Dear Global Nomad,

    I have two friends whose therapist are making them let out anger and stuff. I just don't see the point but after reading your post, it makes sense. It's like the experiment with the monkey who were give electrical shocks, the ones that had control of the lever that gave them food and a shock felt in control and didn't get all stressed out. I am the only one of three children that survived and I am the only one that fought back once I weighed about 100 lbs at 13 years old. It could be why I am alive. At one point during my trauma, I raised my voice and expressed my anger at how I was being treated but then I was taken and put into a jail cell by myself for a very long time and when they let me out, I was so terrified I wouldn't even speak up for my own rights.

    Coffee isn't the best thing for us PTSD sufferers either. But as I read this thread, coming off of alcholic intoxication can be a terrible experience for us. I avoid all sugar and alcohol but have a cup of coffee in the morning. But I get up at 4 a.m. so I feel I need that darn cup of morning for someone to have to get up and go out to a cold barn before the sun is even out. :sleep:

    HUgs,
    Gloria
  25. NutritionNerd

    NutritionNerd New Member

    I get shaking and tremors in my jaw and face when I am afraid. I didn't believe that was what it was at first. Kept looking for some med or something that might have been causing it.

    Video games may not be a good idea for PTSD people - they can get your adrenaline going because the mind doesn't distinguish between real and fantasy. I avoid movies and TV also - been years since we had one. (Although I sneak a Jon Stewart in when I need to recover from reading the news headlines!)

    Coffee is double-edged - on the one hand it can ramp you up but on the other hand it inhibits reuse of glucocorticoids.
    Anna and Gloria like this.

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