The medical term for a trembling head is called tremor. Tremor is an unconscious, prosaic, shaking movement of one or more parts of the body, usually the hands, lower arms, face, vocal cords, trunk, legs and head. An essential tremor is a progressive neurological disorder of the hands, head and voice.
A trembling head can occur as a side effect of drugs, such as amphetamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, caffeine and lithium, or as a result of alcohol or addictive drug withdrawals. It may be inherited and run in families. It also can occur from a condition caused by problems in parts of the brain that control muscles, which could be the result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Although there is no cure, the condition can be treated with medication to help reduce the shaking.
This type of tremor is not contagious, life-threatening or transferable to another person; however, it can be embarrassing and make it hard to perform daily tasks. It usually is absent during rest and disappears during sleep. A trembling head can happen at any age but tends to be more common in older people. According to Dr. Adam Brochert, children of a parent with essential tremor have a 50 percent chance of having this condition.
A tremor that reoccurs over time may be a sign of a medical problem and should be evaluated by a qualified physician.
Lauren Bacall and Katherine Hepburn both suffered from trembling heads.
People with any tremor condition, including a trembling head, may have problems with balance and walking. In addition to these motor problems, anxiety and depressive symptoms may occur. According to Stanford Hospital and Clinics, studies have revealed that long-term tremors may be associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.