It is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that affects the pattern of sleep and wakefulness. It is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness, uncontrollable time spans of falling asleep during the daytime. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity at any time of the day. Patients with narcolepsy can experience sudden muscle weakness with laughter or other emotions. Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can become apparent at any age. In many cases, narcolepsy is undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. Symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another, but the main narcolepsy symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness (with or without sudden sleep episodes) and abnormal REM (Rapid Eye Moment) sleep. Other symptoms of narcolepsy may be related to your abnormal REM sleep, including hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control).Medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. A combination of treatments can help control your narcolepsy symptoms and enable you to enjoy many normal activities. Commonly prescribed drugs for narcolepsy are stimulants, antidepressants, and sodium oxybate. The treatment that works best for you will vary according to your specific narcolepsy symptoms, but will likely include a combination of counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Last date updated on July, 2014