Head Shaking Symptoms


Hi everyone. I thought im the only one who has this, it’s a relief to know that i’m not alone. I spoke to my psychologist about this head shaking thing but she told me that it’s her first time hearing about this.

My problem is not just the head shaking symptom. I seem to be unable to open my mouth as well. My nature of work requires me to attend meetings and giving reports during the meetings. After having a panic attack during a meeting which led me to almost fainting and unable to speak, i’ve been terrified of meetings ever since. However, I started to notice the head shaking symptoms only after the first panic attack, not during that first attack. It has always been the first symptom that i usually experience, then followed by inability to speak, lightheadedness and i just cant seem to hold my head upright. And just like some of you had mentioned, i cant seem to make eye contact with anyone when it happens. Somehow, my head would feel heavy and i would have to look downwards or away to make the symptoms go away.

It’s like my mouth is clamped up, no matter how hard i try to speak. It’s frustrating cos there’s just no way i could actually take my time to exercise the breathing techniques or calm myself in any way whenever i start to feel my head shaking, cos it’s a meeting and everyone is watching you, they expect an answer or a report and i cant even say yes or no or even ask to be excused and all i wanna do is putting my head on the table.

I was on Xanax & Propanolol before this but im off the meds for more than a year after completing my sessions with psychologist. I was doing okay after going off the meds, but then the symptoms came back a few months ago and it’s just so upsetting. I’d like to know if the head shaking thing is affecting anyone’s speeches as well? Are there any quick and surefire ways to stop the shaking without looking weird in the process?

This makes me want to quit my job and im just tired feeling anxious and constantly terrified of meetings.



Hi Nzmn,
I am very sorry for you having to deal with these issue. It’s an absolutely terrifing thing, shaking your head uncontrollably when you spot someone is looking at you. I personally feel like my eyes are so focused on other people’s movements. I can look at somebody and he doesn’t even blink. He doesn’t move. Even better-he doesn’t know I am looking at him. So why is my eye focusing on whether a person is looking at me all the time???
I don’t talk just like you… I find it hard to talk mentally, because I feel so weak and weird!!! And I always forget what to say, or don’t know what to say, and when I do, I am afraid to speak out loud, cause I am the shaky girl. The one everyone thinks she doesn’t care about anything because she doesn’t turn around to look at people. Mannn this is killing me… How old are you? Do you have supportive friends? I hope we’ll find a cure for this…
Have a good day:)


Hey, i know EXACTLY how you feel, i used to get this all the time when i was in a nervous situation. Can really relate to my head sort of spasming and tensing up when i am talking to someone . The last time it happened was when i was at the opticians for an eye test and he told me to look up at him so he could check my eyes, all of a sudden it happened again and i found my neck tense up and my head twtich uncontrollably, and the more i try to stop it the worse it gets.

Also when i feel like i am being observed , like walking into a room with a lot of people present, i feel like they are watching me and it suddenly starts happening again, i will try to distract attention from it by playing with my hair or wiping my nose with a tissue so i don’t just look like i am sat there twitching uncontrollably.

I told my doctor about it and he prescribed me propranolol , i take it about half an hour before i know i may be in a situation where my anxiety levels will be high and it works for the most part getting rid of the physical symptoms. Ever since i have took it i have not had an issue with my head shaking during anxiety ridden situations. I would highly recommend it to anyone having this issue


So I don’t know if this is related to social anxiety but I was doing research and saw a lot of stories that I can relate to on here. I made an anonymous account because I really don’t know what to do at this point and this seems to be taking over my life.

I’m in my last year of high school and I started getting headshakes about 3 months ago (new years day) while I was at a lunch with family friends. I remember it so vividly and the fear and confusion I was feeling when it happened. I brought a glass of water to my mouth and it felt like my neck almost froze then started shaking. These were super quick shakes but it was the longest feeling I’ve ever felt. That day I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was so embarrassing, but I then came to the conclusion that it was just the alcohol from the night before. I quickly forgot about it until I went to an event with my parents and there were a lot of my parents’ friends there who I had conversations with. I was fine talking to them while standing, but then as we went to the dinner table, that’s when things got horrible for me. While I was having a conversation with one of my dad’s friends, I picked up a glass as he was talking. As I went to put my lips on the glass, my neck tended up and shook so quickly but I knew he noticed it. After that I felt a lot of embarrassment and I remained quiet, lowkey and blunt. I then had to leave because I couldn’t take it anymore. Why is this happening to me?

Another time was last month, when I had an incredible opportunity to meet someone very well known. I admired his work and was thrilled to meet him. Throughout our whole conversation however, my neck was so tense, just waiting to jolt or make my head shake. I was so interested and intrigued by what he was saying to me and another 2 students next to me, when suddenly he looks at me in the eye mid sentence and my neck feels like it’s about to burst. I tried to stop it but it was completely out of my control. My head shook for less than a second but I still pray that he didn’t notice it.

Lately it’s been getting worse. My neck feels constantly tense and it makes me want to avoid social situations at all costs. I was giving out handouts in class and all throughout i could just feel my neck tensing up, about to shake. I also can rarely move my neck without their being the smallest jolt or twitch. I do t know what’s wrong with me and it’s beginning to terrify me. My best friend invited me to dinner with his family this weekend and I want to go so badly but I don’t know if I can because I’m scared that I’ll look stupid.

I want to talk to someone about this but I’m worried they won’t understand or they’ll think it’s silly. At this point I really don’t know what to do and how to stop it. I’m not a person who tends to be socially awkward or worry about things all the time. In fact, I’m pretty outgoing and I love meeting new people so I don’t know where this condition came from. Next year I’ll be going to my dream college and I can’t wait but I’m also terrified that whatever is going on with me will impact my ability to connect with new people and enjoy my time at college. It’s a huge relief to know I’m not alone but I’m just sick of it and will try anything to stop it. Last month I went through 2 weeks where I was just totally depressed and angry because of it. I was a different person.

I made this anonymous post because I wanted to talk directly to someone who might understand what I’m going through at the moment. Please if you have even the littlest knowledge of what this is/ how to stop it then let me know because I’m terrified this will take over my life. Thank you.


Hi, this is exactly what used to happen to me. Speak to your doctor about it and get him to prescribe you propranolol, it worked for me in getting rid of this issue. I remember avoiding situations all together before because i knew it would happen but now when i take a propranolol pill beforehand it gets rid of this issue for me.


Thank you so much. I will talk to my doctor about this.


Hi there. The head shake thing that im experiencing is not the kind that others would notice. It’s sort of something that only i could feel. It starts with that feeling of my head shaking then followed with other symptoms.

I’ve actually confided in a few people and asked them whenever i was having it (prior to being on meds) if my head was actually shaking or trembling or making any movement but all of them told me that i looked perfectly fine. Because of that, some of them didnt actually believe that i was having difficulties to talk and that it’s all ‘in my head’, so it’s frustrating really.

I’m 32 and i’ve had this for a few years now. I do have supportive family and friends who totally believe me, but sometimes it’s just tiring facing the same thing over and over again and most of all, i’m tired of being afraid whenever i have to attend meetings. But i dont want to depend on medications anymore.

When you said that your eyes tend to focus on people’s movement, are saying that it’s similar to you freezing or staring at people without realising what you’re doing?

I read your earlier post when you said that the head shake starts whenever you make eye contact with people right? Actually that’s also something that i notice could trigger my head shake although mine is not noticeable by others. However, it only happens during my work meetings. Whenever it’s my turn to talk and if i happen to make eye contact with others before opening my mouth or if i do that mid-sentence, i’d experience the head shaking symptom, i feel dizzy, neck tensing up and my mouth will automatically clamps up.

Nowadays, i try not to look at others much while talking but im not sure how long i could keep up with that style without alerting others that something is not right with me. The trick doesnt work so well during introductions and when i’m asked with questions though…so yeah.

From your post, i could guess that you’re still young. Have you tried to get help? Do your family and friends know about this? Do get help and talk to someone you trust (if you haven’t already). I pray that all of us will get better or if thats too much to ask, atleast we could all learn to deal with this problem that we are having.


Hi. I was on propranolol too but not anymore as my psychiatrist wasn’t really keen on my being dependant on meds as that would mean i would have to take it often.

Are you like on it all the time? Do your anxiety ridden situations take place frequently? As for me, i’ve always been an anxious person since i was young but i’ve never had problems with speaking in public or experienced these uncomfortable symptoms.

The situations outside work meetings (this is the only situation that i know can cause my anxiety to skyrocket) i could recall where i had experienced anxiety & panic attack symptoms were very few but i didn’t realise i was having it at that time (because the head shakes weren’t there). However, the symptoms range from my wanting to pass out to being unable to eat due to trembling too much.


The head shaking symptom happens to me almost every day since I am a college student and always have to work in groups and class settings. It started my sophomore year when I realized sometimes I was uncomfortable in settings where I was facing people and not doing anything, such as in a living room watching TV. I didn’t understand what anxiety was though, until I used the drug MDMA that was most likely laced with something, and got consistent panic attacks for two weeks and ultimately had to go see a therapist. I got social anxiety from it almost every day, but the head shaking wasn’t bad until I started using the medicine Lamotrigine (That I take because I had mood swings which caused me to feel anxious since I didn’t understand them), and one of the side effects is neck stiffness, so I have decided to get off the medicine when I graduate.

I usually try to force myself to look at others regardless if the head shaking happens since I want to confront this symptom but I have found that not focusing so much on others is the best remedy. Obviously when you are spoken to, most people expect eye contact, but it’s important to focus on what they are saying and essentially be “in the moment”. It is at its worst when I am hungover since I already don’t feel normal, and when I don’t feel like myself, that’s when my anxiety appears. I don’t let it stop me from doing what I want though, since I love being around my friends and hosting people at my house.

Other remedies I have found useful: propranolol (although I try to only take it before giving speeches/presentations), yoga because it helps with breathing and relieving tension in the body, seeing a psychologist, and a book called “The Power of Now” which has taught me that my head and myself are two different things, and really helps me to focus on the present.

Although I had social anxiety before doing MDMA, the effect of the drug on the chemical composition in my brain really brought on anxiety in my everyday life to a degree where I thought I might have to drop out of school. I hope others learn from my mistake and realize that you are not invincible to drugs and all it takes is one time for a drug to change your entire life in a negative way. It’s not worth it.

Hope this helps someone :slight_smile:


I am glad that i am not the only one who experiences this. I think mine is caused by my nephew who lives with me,my brother, and my sister-n-law. He is my sister-n-laws son and he is verbally abusive to me. I even hate coming home from work at night because i know he is gonna be here.


Hi my name is Linda. I have experienced the “head shakes” more like twitching or fidgeting. It usually happen to me when I’m nervous or when someone looks at me or when I’m surrounded by people I don’t know but sometimes I get the “head shakes” and my hand tend to twitch or shake when I do my normal routine or activity. I’m also afraid of the symptoms itself. All along I felt like I was going through these symptoms that people aren’t aware of. I’m glad that I’m not the only one. I’ve been doing research about these types of symptoms I’m having but I’m assuming that I have Social Anxiety or a Nervous breakdown.


I’ve been trying to deal with this for years. I am certain it is there because of being nervous and I have improved that through yoga and meditation and exercise to the extent that I no longer get the terrifying feeling associated with not being able to function how I would like socially and in pressurised situations because of the head tremors.

What I have found is that once you stop fighting it, the fear of it goes away - in other words you accept it, realise it does not define you as a person and simply try to get on with things. It took a long time, but once you realise it is not the most important thing in your life, you can function quite well with it still happening. If people judge you for it then that is their problem, not yours - and often it is the fear of it that judgement that just makes it worse.

I still have head shaking symptoms and I still try to improve it, but not in a worrisome way - I now regard it as part of my daily experience that I am workng on like you would try to body build or training of some kind - and it is improving. For me it has got to the stage where it almost feels like an ingrained habit that is there just because my body is used to having it there and I am working on trying to develop new ways of smoothing it out. Yoga and meditation are key for me, not drugs. Also improving posture, diet and trying to have a healthy lifestyle all part of the equation. Good luck to everyone on here, there seems to be plenty of us who have to deal with this - it can and will improve if you trust that it will and learn to relax about it.


You’ve just described the ideas and concepts in Session 7 of the series: “the Fighting Paradox”, “Don’t Feed Anxiety - Let it Starve and Disappear”.

This concept of resistance is persistence is not, of course, unique to Dr. Richards or to this therapy. For panic disorder, a big part of dealing with that is not fighting it.

Getting to effective concepts does not require necessarily endless journeys of self-discovery and years of waiting. The ideas are already there in anything worth its merit. The ideas are there. We must be then open to the ideas, and use these thoughts actively to encourage that retraining in how we view things.

Congratulations to you, cobrass, for getting to that understanding, and thanks for sharing. :+1:


I’ve been experiencing it for 2years . It started when I became a choir member of our church, where we are placed in front of everyone. When my I look at the crowd, may head is shaking a little or vibrating. Also just last week when I had my graduation picture. My head won’t stop vibrating while I’m taking the shots for my graduation picture, luckily it didn’t affect the output of my grad picture.
Just to add, I know in myself that I feel insecure about myself, that I don’t have the good looks, that maybe they will be talking things about me when I’m not present, and I don’t really like to have an exposure in lot of people and also to be embarrassed in front of other people.
Also I can’t control my anger , it’s like I really need to hit or broke something. And I don’t want someone to go against my decision.
Please anyone give me an advice. Thank you in advance !


Hi Christian_Mercado,


These constant positive thoughts make a person relaxed and truly happy, removes anxiety and instills a peacefulness. Anxiety and head shaking miraculously disappear.

When one is secure and happy with himself, he can then accept and appreciate the opinions of others, even if my own opinion is different.


I really thought I was the only one!

The only time I get them though, is when I’m put on the spot for instance I had an interview today and I totally felt my head shaking when I had to go through my contacts to give the interviewer my references phone number aloud.

It mainly only happens when I’m filling out paperwork in front of someone and I can feel them staring at me. Then I get lost in the thought of “can they see my head shaking” and I’m trying to focus on trying to get it to stop shaking. I feel that i am tense but i cant help or stop it until i feel a little more comfortable again or finally relaxed which is after I fill out what I need to. That’s the only time even tho the whole interview or interaction I’m nervous. I don’t quite get it, but it happens.


Hey guys, I don’t remember when I exeactly got it but I know I haven’t always had it, I only get it when I’m nervous or when I go to swallow, the only thing I have found to try and stop from shaking in that moment is leaning on my hand when sitting down, like putting the hand on the side of my face, I’m not sure if you guys understand but u have defiantly done it before with your hand. I hope someone can help me as I’m only a young teenager and not sure weather to go to the doctor or not.


I am so glad I found this thread. I have been dealing with this since I was 20 years old (19 years ago). It all started after a 4 month round of Accutane. This is the first time I have ever found a discussion about it.

For those writing about how it’s all in your head, and stop fighting it and giving it power, you simply have no idea what this experience is like. It is a bona-fide panic attack in short order that strikes fast and strikes hard, a super-intense JOLT that absolutely forces you to look away, that is all over you like an animal, that fills you with panic and dread and causes rapid EPT-like symptoms where your entire neck and head spasm. The immediate directive issued by the brain is GET OUT, GET AWAY, NOW. This is very real and is very noticeable by other people and trying to cope with it is very difficult because feedback loops occur that make it worse. I believe it is rooted in a disorder of neurotransmitters, probably serotonin or dopamine, that has an attached psychological component, that succeeds it.

I took Klonipin to manage symptoms for nearly all 19 years, and it works VERY well, almost too well - but benzos come along with a whole host of their own issues, and are incredible addictive. I am also a drug addict though and so for many reasons I can no longer use them to manage my life, so I am in search of new solutions. I am semi-intrigued by reading about stuff like Cyproheptadine, which is an anti-histamine with a unique anxiolytic profile. If ANY one has recommendations for drugs that can manage symptoms like these, that particularly are non-habit forming, please let me know.

This is a debilitating condition that affects every single area of life, and can be totally crippling. When you are near-phobic of eye contact with people, and experience constant panic attacks, life becomes VERY difficult. Immediate impressions are made and opinions are formed that cannot be altered and can’t be taken back from other people. You spend your time wishing that the “real” you could express themself without this awful disorder. It scares people away and people have their own adaptive techniques that make social interactions either very awkward, or just totally absent. You simply cannot go around explaining to people throughout the day that you can’t look them in the eyes because you may have some strange spasmodic attack - and this isn’t something you sit and meditate through and use positive self-talk for, at least in my case. It’s a real serious thing. It sucks. And I totally feel for you if you’ve found yourself in a small room, and in a bad way, face to face with someone and trying to cope with this. It’s like a jazz-fusion of fear and dread - IE, panic.

Again I’m so glad I don’t feel alone anymore. I hope this discussion keeps.


Hello, I never realized how many people out there experience the same symptoms that I have had for years. Since I was 4 years old I suffered from anxiety, I never asked what kind it was, I only Google it. But the worse for me is the head shaking, I get embarrassed and it has made it worse and it can turn into a panic attack.

But, I have hope…small summary…I came to realize that this is a natural thing. A lot of people don’t want to hear about faith in Christ, but with the Chaos I’ve been through was so horrible, I was always lied to about my identity, and I was told often that people don’t like me when I was a child till adulthood by a family member, and I believed it, I was surrounded by people who always believed that thier was something wrong with them and it gave them the excuse to treat people bad or be a victim.

So as an adult at the age of 22 I gave my life to Jesus and I still had this problem and I almost gave up, but for some reason I had this desire to want friends and be around people, I don’t like to feel lonely, and having social anxiety made me feel like an outcast. So I made a really hard but very possible decision to sing in front of church and speak in front of people, till this day I still have the shaking issue but every time I face it, I get this warmth in my body and I know for sure my body is going through a healing process! And I believe that is Christ working in me.

Since then other people have came up to me and confess that they have anxiety and they felt like they had no way to get through it, and when I share my testimony I see these people now working on facing this challenge and they have hope! They are doing it!! I believe that we have these problems for a reason so that we can bring hope to the people who are suffering from the same thing. It’s a process, a healing process but we have to be willing to face it and we can’t do it alone, if I didn’t have God in my heart, I would have a void and try to fill it with stuff to control it, but God is doing it for me. I hope this inspires someone here.

Your not alone!


After much research I have found that this issue is either Myoclonus or perhaps Hyperekplexia (I think this only occurs in infants though and is related to SIDS).

It’s a disorder that causes a jerk or spasm, in an essentially exaggerated response to external stimuli. It is a neurological disorder. A startle, or jerk, occurs and the flight response mechanism is activated. I think the underlying cause is a neurotransmission problem probably based around the 5-HT1a and/or GABA-A receptors. This jerk is then re-inforced and amplified by the psychological component. I do not pretend to understand the science but this perfectly describes what I’ve been going through.

As stated above, my first-line defense against this was Clonazepam, which worked really, really well to supress that response. And Clonazepam is indicated as first-line treatment for Myoclonus and Hyperekplexia. Since Clonazepam is not an option for me, I have found Levetiracetam (Keppra), which is also an effective treatment option. It is an epilepsy drug used to treat seizures.

If anyone has found a better or more apt descriptor for their condition, I am all ears (eyes). Thanks