Narcolepsy Symptoms

by Rachel on November 7, 2014

Narcolepsy is classified as a chronic sleep disorder and is considered a chronic neurological disorder. Narcolepsy is caused by the inability of an individual’s brain to regulate sleep-wake cycles properly. An individual suffering with narcolepsy experiences daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable bouts of falling asleep during the day. Individuals suffering from narcolepsy are simply unable to stay awake for long periods of time and fall asleep at an inappropriate place or time sometimes without warning. Individuals with narcolepsy fall asleep while they are working, cooking, or driving.

Narcolepsy is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as depression, epilepsy, or a side effect of a medication. This disease usually occurs between the ages of 15 and 25, and is more common in men than women. Two specialized tests known as polysomnogram (PSG) and multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) can now diagnose this disorder. Both of these tests are performed at a sleep clinic.

The overwhelming symptoms of this disease are excessive sleepiness and abnormal REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. However, there are several other severe symptoms that accompany this disease.

A prevalent symptom of narcolepsy is cataplexy. Cataplexy is a sudden, temporary loss of muscle tone which leads to a weak feeling and loss of voluntary muscle control. Episodes of cataplexy seem to be triggered by intense emotions such as shock, surprise, laughter, or anger. Typically during a cataplexy attack the individual’s knee buckles, the head may drop to one side, or the jaw may become slack. Cataplexy may last a few seconds or it may last up to 30 minutes. The muscles of the eyes are never affected during a cataplexy attack the individual is completely awake and likely to recall the entire event.

Individuals with this disease also suffer from hallucinations – specifically hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations. Hypnogogic hallucinations occur when an individual is falling asleep, and hypnopompic hallucinations occur when an individual is waking up. These episodes of hallucinations are usually very vivid and usually only visual (but other senses can be involved). These hallucinations can last for several minutes and be very frightening.

Another symptom of this disease is sleep paralysis. When the individual suffering from narcolepsy is falling asleep or waking up they are temporary unable to move or speak. This episode lasts from a few seconds to several minutes and at times is accompanied by hallucinations. Once the episode of sleep paralysis sends the individual recovers their capability to move and speak.

Obviously, individuals suffering from the symptoms of this disorder are limited in their activities such as driving. The symptoms of this disorder also puts a strain on the individual’s mental health because this disease if very disruptive to their lives, and the symptoms associated with this disease also strain social, professional, and intimate relationships.

Go to Sleep Apnea Zone to get your free ebook on Sleep Apnea at Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea Zone also has information on Narcolepsy Symptoms along with a lot of other free information. Come by our new Sleep Apnea Community site today for free ebooks and other free information that can help you today.

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