Essential tremor is also known as or subsumes Benign tremor, Familial tremor, and Heredofamilial tremor. -ed.
Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder in adults. Most people with essential tremor have not been diagnosed by a physician even though many report functional disability. This clinical summary discusses the clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of essential tremor. Recent publications pertaining to the diagnosis, genetics, and treatment of essential tremor are reviewed. There is an ongoing effort to update the classification of tremor that may impact essential tremor clinical diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are no new treatments, and available medications are frequently inadequate. Thalamic deep brain stimulation is effective in most patients, and new stereotactic surgical sites are being explored. There is considerable evidence that essential tremor is a clinically defined tremor syndrome with multiple etiologies; this probably explains much of the difficulty in identifying underlying causes and developing new treatments.