Head Shaking - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Head Shaking

I have had anxiety for about 4 years now. It all sort of started when I used to smoke pot, and I gradually started concentrating more and more on how I appeared to people, in turn sort of losing my identity as a result. Since then my anxiety has been based around "head shaking". If someone looks me in the eyes or if any focus is on me (like in a conversation, interview, haircut etc) I automatically get really nervous and my head will shake side to side, and since then all of my energy has gone into preventing it from happening in social situations, it's become a paranoia. Over time it has created a lot of tension in my neck and head...to the point I can't even smile or laugh naturally anymore and haven't been able to because I'm too because if I do my head will shake and I'll look like a fool. Now people wonder why I look so dull faced all the time, never smile or laugh. I haven't been able to explain this to anyone because they would just think I'm nuts, and in all actuality I'm fairly intelligent and artistic. This condition has prevented me from going to school, keeping a job, keeping friends, making friends and so much more. I really just want to meet someone who understands. I used to be very outgoing and had always had a steady girlfriend and now I can't even be comfortable around people at all. I know I'm a decent looking guy and I'm talented in many ways but I cannot seem to heal this....it's sooooo hard to explain.
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post #2 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 09:28 PM
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Kind of reminds me of this thread:

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post #3 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 12:43 AM
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I have had this. Its quite maddening at first. What I have noticed is when it starts to happen the more you fight it by tensing up, the worse it gets. So my advice is dont fight it. When it happens just let it ride its course and ignore it. You will begin to see over time it will get less and less. Do neck exercises to to make yourself limber. When it would happen in front of people I used to get to the point of disgust until finally I just told myself you know what I hope I freak out. Guess what? It never happened. The trick is to challenge your fearful thoughts about it and accept it when it happens. Its a symptom of anxiety.
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post #4 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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It always goes away if I'm drinking, I can actually relax to some degree, but over time I've built up so much tension worrying about it happening and trying to prevent it, that I've almost become disassociated from my identity, if that makes any sense. I just constantly worry what people will think when it happens...they'll be like dude! what's wrong with you!? It's actually only happened one time where someone noticed it and it was my manager during an interview, and it wouldn't stop the ENTIRE interview. She was just looking at me like I was insane...maybe I am but I know I still have the ability to decipher right from wrong.
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post #5 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 06:45 PM
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Thats the problem right there. You are worrying about it happening so it happens as a result. Its the fear of the fear cycle. You have to work on your obsessive thoughts.

Did you noticed that when you are drinking you are less inhibited and dont really care as much and the shaking doesnt happen? Thats the attitude you have to adopt while being sober. If it happens SO WHAT. People get nervous. Its when you make a big deal out of it that it gets worse.
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post #6 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-19-2008, 07:41 AM
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My head starts to shake when i get nervous - and now a lot of my anxiety centres around my 'head shaking' - i am terrified of speaking in front of people because i am scared i will look like an idiot. Blushing and hand trembling seem like nothing compared to head shaking! I take propranolol for shakes and it seems to help - but i occassionally still get jerking movements when i get anxious and it is horrible. I'm sorry - i don't have any advice - but you're not on your own.
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post #7 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-19-2008, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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My oh my what to do
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post #8 of 201 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 12:38 PM
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I believe these are benign tremors, familial (inherited) tremors, also called essential tremor (not related to Parkinson's or anything 'serious').
I've been getting myself diagnosed all my life, but look into it to see if family members have it--it gets worse with age and is always worse when you are nervous. The only thing for me that works (aside from alcohol, which isn't a good long-term solution), is Inderol (Propranolol), which I take every day at low dose.

These kinds of tremors also seem to cause anxiety and phobias in people already predisposed. I first noticed it when trying to get a photograph taken where the photographer told me to 'hold my head very still.'
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post #9 of 201 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 04:13 PM
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I know what you mean by losing your identity due to weed. Weed gave me depersonalization disorder and really horrible panic attacks. Lots of really negative thoughts that I believed. Don't worry though with time you can make some really great improvements. I highly recommend meditation to help with this. Google "The Power of Now" etc. Great for dealing with fear and seeing through the mind / thoughts and the power they have over you.

Oh I also got the strange really jerky movements.
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post #10 of 201 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 08:46 AM
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i cant go out on the street without drinking beer first, i have an extreme tremors, hands, neck and head, i dont know what to do except somehow work on calming consciousness ie getting rid of bad thoughts that world is evil.
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post #11 of 201 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 09:31 AM
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I remember this thread, but now that I read it more thoroughly, I'm going through exactly what you are. SA had caused it 3 years ago but now it's the cause of SA. It made me quit college, stay home all day, and unable to smile like you.

On top of that, it led me to (what people say to be but I still don't think it is) the misbelief that my head tremor 'spreads' the anxiety to people who see it and they start clearing throat or coughing. That coupled with hypersentivity to noise makes me extremely irritated by those sounds. It gives me so much chest pain I feel like I'm gonna have a heart attack someday.

Originally Posted by itsamystery
I believe these are benign tremors, familial (inherited) tremors, also called essential tremor (not related to Parkinson's or anything 'serious').
That's what I thought I had. But I've already been to 2 neurologists who said I seemed fine. I've also tried a low dose of propranolol(up to 40mg) but it did not reduce the head tremor.

Currently on: Depakine, Sediel, Klonopin, Prozac, Risperdal, Vitamin D, Calcium

Tried(Med.): Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Zoloft, Inderal, Tenormin, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Adderall, Effexor, Emsam, Nardil, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Remeron, Lamictal, Abilify, Pristiq

Tried(Sup.): Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Kava Kava, Rhodiola Rosea, Omega-3

Tried(Therapy): CBT
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post #12 of 201 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 05:54 PM
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i just found this page. i had this head shaking thing for 15 years. Mostly I learned to cope. I learnt to be happy. I learnt to relax. I worked things out and worked round it. I'm not sure I did the right thing but just did what I could. And I had long bits of time with no particularly bothering problems except always having a beer before a hair cut and being conscious of sleep because if i don't sleep enough it gets much worse. Anyway, i have a lot of stress right now and it's back again badly. although i am happy. But my neck aches from tension through 2-hour work meetings. And i can't pick up a cup of tea in the social parts of work meetings. yes, it's bad again. i'd have thought after 15 years it would have faded. i never let it stop me from doing anything. but it has got in the way of my life. it has compromised me. i don't lack confidence. but i have this problem, too. i don't want it anymore. why can't i put it back to where it came from and never experience it again?
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post #13 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 05:59 PM
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i've had this condition for around 2 years now (i'm 22). since then i've been living in misery with this problem. depending on who i'm socializing with and how relaxed i feel, i would get head shakes either when having eye contact (which has gotten much better) or when drinking from a cup and eating with a knife and fork (which i think is getting worse). i've never been on drugs, i don't even consume alcohol. i'm prefectly healthy, physically good looking, doing a masters degree, happily married, and well....everything about my life is near perfect. but i have an anxiety problem, probably from my full-of-tension childhood and it only started to appear recently.

i've been keeping it as a secret the whole time (only told my husband recently) and today i decided to see if anyone else on this planet has this unusual problem. and i was so relieved to see that yes! there are people out there!

i really want to face this i've had enough!
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post #14 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 07:21 PM
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I get this too. It's not extreme, but I will feel like my head is kind of 'quivering' from side to side. My hands and voice also shake sometimes. I haven't found a way to lessen the shaking, but I agree with what Darla said, about how it seems to get worse the more you fight it. I tense up more when I feel myself shaking, but that just makes me shake more. So I try my best to relax, but it's never easy.

Not much has happened since I last wrote except for my manslaughter charges, lotto win, and Ivy's death.

Mary and Max.
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post #15 of 201 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 07:33 PM
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Have you tried something like clonazepam (klonopin) to see if that helps? Since it works by a similar mechanism as alcohol
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post #16 of 201 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 08:44 AM
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I have this problem too. I have been hiding through clonazepam for a couple of years now. Since I discovered this medicine, it's been my magic pill to hide my nervousness. My big trigger is eating in front of people. I get so nervous that my head shakes. I feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself and it makes me cry when im home alone and think about my problem. I feel like i cannot talk to anyone because no one understands and they get frustrated with me and annoyed which I can understand. It becomes irritating ... and I do not want to burden anyone with my problem so i just try to hide it.
My fear was brought up badly yesterday which has me distrought all over again because i was caught off guard. My husband tricked me into going to eat lunch with his parents and i didnt have my pills on me so I just felt trapped. At the table my hands were shaking badly and i was panicking inside. I managed to take two bites of my taco and that was it. I pretended i was sick which was always my cop out when i got into a situation like this. It angers me that it's an every day thing that normal people do all the time yet i cant be normal and just do it.
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post #17 of 201 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 06:09 PM
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I get this also. I know it has something to do with eye contact for me. Like when my boss was speaking to me one time, I could feel my head start to twitch. It only happens when I have to make eye contact for a longer period of time. I don't think I get this when I am the center of attention though. But maybe it is because at that point I am to worried over making my hands stop shaking. So the head thing isn't that big of a deal anymore.
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post #18 of 201 (permalink) Old 04-30-2010, 08:38 PM
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This issue happened to me from traumatic events, smoking weed, excessive drinking, nervousness and physical damage from heavy hits from football.

the following are factors that have helped me:

Propranolol does help but it really makes a huge difference when I get up in the morning and go for a big jog to sweat out all of the toxins in my body such as alcohol + eat right by not eating any **** such as greasy burgers, buttered popcorn, pasta etc. Try going for a big jog in the morning and then just have an apple or something lite and if it's a big day take 2 propranolol (after your jog). Plus drink a lot of water. Avoid caffaine and sugar.

I was in awful shape when I wasn't exercising, eating greasy foods and not socializing.

The more active I am, the better I feel. If you overcome a psychological hurdle whereby it's no longer a problem anymore, then your stress and tension will result in the shaking declining. The nerves and muscles in your hands and neck can improve over time.

Alcohol does make it go away but it is not the day-to-day cure.

Words have power and don't confess that you're not well. What you confess will have a psychological impact on how you feel and whether your body will improve. Yes, I am Christian and calling on the name of Jesus to command that fear and panic thoughts to go away does work.

Criticize me about the above but these factors have made my shaking go away.
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post #19 of 201 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 07:30 AM
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^^Sounds like you're talking about a tremor. I mean because you mentioned Propranolol which I know they prescribe for essential tremors. I think the op was talking about a tic that occurs with eye contact. There's a difference between a tremor and a tic, I don't think Propranolol would help a tic for instance.
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post #20 of 201 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 08:20 PM
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I have a problem with head/neck shaking too. It's definitely a mental problem as I don't get it when I'm alone and it usually only happens when people are looking directly at me or I think they are. The worst case scenario is trying to eat soup in public. My hand is shaking one way and my head seems to shake the other way making it really hard to eat. I am always worried it will go too far and I will throw my soup everywhere.

I normally resort to taking diazepam before going anywhere that I think it might be a problem but as I don't like taking them regularly I don't go out very often.

Alcohol helps but getting the first beer down is a problem if anyone is looking, which means I normally have to take diazepam before going out drinking. This is not good.

I sure was glad to find this forum though as I, like others, just assumed I must be some insane idiot. Knowing that other people have the same problem is a great relief in some ways.
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