Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a condition in which the patient has uncontrolled bouts of sleep. A person suffering for narcolepsy could fall asleep at any time in any place. This makes driving particularly dangerous, as the patient could fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident. Other symptoms may occur in the patient if narcolepsy is left untreated. Many patients begin to see symptoms around ages ten to twenty-five.

Narcolepsy Drugs

Narcolepsy Symptoms

Narcolepsy is a condition that has symptoms that can be extremely disruptive to everyday life. The unexpected bouts of rapid eye movement sleep is just one of these symptoms that may not be harmful but are extremely annoying and disruptive to the patient. The list below contains the symptoms of narcolepsy that are most commonly found in patients. Please note that one patient may not experience every symptom of narcolepsy.

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Unexpected rapid eye movement sleep cycles
  • Low sex drive or libido
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Cataplexy
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

Narcolepsy Causes

Doctors and researchers are not completely sure as to why narcolepsy occurs. The most popular hypothesis is that narcolepsy is a genetic condition, meaning that it is passed down through the generations. Other factors that may cause narcolepsy are serious infections, birth defects due to prescription or illegal drugs, and an adverse reaction to drug interactions. Doctors and other health care professionals continue to research and gain more knowledge about narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy Diagnosis

In order for a doctor or sleep specialist to diagnose the patient with narcolepsy, the sleep specialist must run a sleep study or witness the unexpected sleep and/or cataplexy, or loss of muscle tone. A sleep study is when the patient is hooked up to machines and his or her vitals are recorded and the patient is observed while he or she sleeps. This will allow the doctor to gain knowledge about the extent of the patient’s condition and possibly diagnose the individual. Be sure to understand that your sleep specialist may need to do more than one sleep study in order to diagnose narcolepsy if no symptoms show the first time.

Narcolepsy Treatment

Since not a lot of information is known about narcolepsy, there is not yet a cure for the condition. There are, however, methods of treatment that can be used in order to manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. Along with the treatments that are listed below, the patient is also often urged to seek therapeutic help in order to help that patient deal with the condition. Never begin treatment without the help of a doctor or other health care professional. The treatments used for treating narcolepsy are listed below:

  • Antidepressants
  • Barbiturates for insomnia
  • Therapy
  • Utilizing a routine
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Support from family and friends