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Alcoholism and Parkinson's Disease

  • anonymous Asks ...

    Does alcoholism increase a persons risk for Parkinson’s disease? When my brother gets very drunk which is something that happens every day he starts to move back and forth like he doesn't have control over the muscles in his head and neck. It looks just like what my grandfather used to look like and he had Parkinson’s. my brother is only 38 year old but his body is not in good shape from a lot of years of very heavy drinking.

  • Dr. James Strawbridge Says ...
    Dr. James Strawbridge

    Alcoholism can cause parkinsonian like symptoms but it is not considered to be a cause of Parkinson's disease. However, alcoholism can cause tremors similar to Parkinson's disease. For alcoholics, the development of a tremor is due to damage to the part of the brain that coordinates movement. This can lead to poorly controlled movement and a chronic tremor. According to the NIH, "Alcoholism, excessive alcohol consumption, or alcohol withdrawal can kill certain nerve cells, resulting in tremor, especially in the hands." Keep in mind that one test for essential tremor is to see if it is alcohol responsive - meaning that the tremor may stop with alcohol intake.


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