Fri, Jun 5, 2009

NarcolepsySleep Disorders

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, also known as dyssomnia. It is characterized by overpowering daytime drowsiness, and sudden attacks of . This condition is observed by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), in which a person experiences extreme weariness. He will, probably, falls asleep during the day at most inappropriate times, such as at work or school. Usually, a narcoleptic will most possibly experience disturbed night sleep that is more often than not is confused with insomnia , as well as with a disorder of REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep.The term narcolepsy is derives from the French word narcolepsie originally announced in 1880 by a French physician  who combined Greek word narke, which means numbness or stupor and a word lepsis, which means attack or seizure.

Cataplexy, a abrupt muscular weakness as a result of a very strong emotional burst. Cataplexy is a medical condition, which may also disturb people diagnosed with narcolepsy. Cataplexy manifests itself as muscular weaknesses as follows: from a lightly noticeable break of the facial muscles to the actual dropping of a person’s jaw, or a head, as well as a weakness at the knees, or even a total collapse.

Note that a similar sensation is observed in the patients with a reduced oxygen in their blood stream, whereby an actual collapse of the person is due to a reduced oxygen in the brain.  

Watch Video: Waking Up from Narcolepsy

Treatments for Narcolepsy

It is critical to identify apparent outcome goals for specific target symptoms in the treatment of narcolepsy. There are prescription drugs available for treating patients with narcolepsy, as well as treating the narcolepsy symptoms. Also, there are medications that will help patient with narcolepsy to deal with this disease by way of behavioral modifications.

The following list of treatments and procedures for treating Narcolepsy:

  • Avoid operating machinery.
  • Avoid driving. Motor-vehicle authorities prohibit people with narcolepsy from driving
  • Avoid swimming
  • Avoid diving
  • Maintain regular sleep routines
  • Avoid over-reacting
  • Avoid any drugs that can affect sleep
  • Schedule daytime naps on regular intervals

Narcoleptic’s ability to function well, maintaining work, and socially interacting obligations will be increased with nap(s) during the day lasting from even 5min to as long as 30 minutes. 

Narcoleptics often have many difficulties socially and in their work related lives, due to their disease. There are some professionally supervised support groups that help patients cope with these issues.

More information can be found here.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Narcolepsy (more will be covered in “Ask the Doctor” article)

  • What is the cause of my sleep disorder?
  • What should I do to avoid sleepiness during the day or reduce it?
  • Would medication help me to cope with this problem?
  • How often, and when, should the medication be taken?
  • What are the side effects of these medication(s)?
  • What is the prognosis of my condition?

To download a free book about narcolepsy please click here:


In cataplexy patients, as a rule, only speech is garbled, eye vision is impaired with inability to focus or even with a double-vision. However, hearing and attentiveness stay normal. In some rare cases, an individual’s body becomes paralyzed and muscles will become stiff, as explained in the Other Sleep Disorders article.

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