Narcolepsy: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

This usually happens while people engage in usual activities, such as writing or driving. They can’t remember their actions, and their performance is almost always affected. For example, their handwriting may degenerate into an illegible doodle, or they may store items in strange places and then forget where they were placed. If an episode occurs while driving, people can get lost or have an accident. People tend to wake up from these episodes and feel refreshed and find that their drowsiness and fatigue have temporarily disappeared.

They may have a sudden weakness in the muscles that is often caused by laughter or excitement throughout the day. Mice genetically modified to lack orexin genes have many similarities to human narcolepsy. This cataplexy can be activated through social interaction, cycling and ultrasonic vocalizations. Upon waking up, the mice also exhibit consistent behavior with excessive daytime sleepiness. And the combined oxybate drug can usually reduce excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. These medications are taken while you are in bed and again at night.

Although not enough to diagnose NT2, the presence of short, refreshing naps and disturbed sleep help distinguish narcolepsy from other hypersomnia. Two major tests used to diagnose narcolepsy are a nightly polysomnography followed by a multiple sleep latency test. A PSG is a test performed during sleep and continuously measures a variety of things, including changes in brain waves, heart rate, eye movements, limb movements, muscle tone, and breathing. A PSG is usually followed by an MSLT, which measures how quickly someone falls asleep for a nap every two hours during the day. People with narcolepsy fall asleep more easily during the day than people without narcolepsy.

Often, those affected have low levels of the neuropeptide orexin, which may be due to an autoimmune disease caused in genetically susceptible individuals by infection with H1N1 flu. In rare cases, narcolepsy can be caused by traumatic brain injury, tumors, or other diseases that affect the parts of the brain that regulate wakefulness or REM sleep. Diagnosis is usually based on Modafinil usa symptoms and sleep studies, after ruling out other possible causes. Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be caused by other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, major depressive disorder, anemia, heart failure, alcohol consumption and not getting enough sleep. This sudden loss of muscle tone while a person is awake leads to weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control.

Excessive daytime sleepiness usually persists throughout life, but sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations may not be. A person with narcolepsy has excessive daytime sleepiness, with repeated episodes of sleep attacks, involuntarily falling asleep at inappropriate times, often several times a day. Narcolepsy can develop at any age, but it usually begins during adolescence or middle age. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep and wakefulness. If you have narcolepsy, you will experience excessive daytime sleepiness and you may have uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day. These sudden sleep “attacks” can occur during any type of activity and at any time of the day.

In particular, doctors often prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which suppress sleep with rapid eye movements, to help relieve these symptoms. These medications include, for example, fluoxetine, sertraline, atomoxetine and venlafaxine. The most common side effects are decreased sex drive and delayed orgasm.

Some individuals with idiopathic hypersomnia sleep for long periods of time (e.g., more than 10 hours); Others sleep for shorter periods of time (for example, less than 10 hours). Behavior change and certain medications are used to treat the condition. Scientists have found that people with narcolepsy have a loss of a neurotransmitter in the brain called hypocretin. Hypocretin is important for regulating the sleep/wake cycle, including the sleep state of rapid eye movement.