Sleep Disorders, Sleep Remedies & Insomnia Relief


What Is Narcolepsy? A Serious, Disruptive Sleep Disorder

A very difficult and serious sleep disorder that can truly disrupt the life of an individual is narcolepsy. This is a neurological disorder that affects the part of the brain that regulates when a person should be awake or asleep. People who suffer from this condition are called narcoleptics.

It is thought to be a genetic condition that might be affected by environmental triggers and it can begin to show up between the ages of ten to twenty-five. There are four types of classic symptoms that indicate narcolepsy and an individual suffering from this may experience any one or all of them. Each individual is unique in how they evidence this condition. And while it is a life long condition, researchers are working to improve the quality of life and alertness of people who suffer from it.

The best known characteristic is when the individual suddenly falls asleep. This is almost without warning and can happen at any time - even if the person is conversing, laughing or working. The sleep may last just a few minutes but can go longer than an hour. And even if the individual feels refreshed on awakening it may still occur soon afterwards.

Another characteristic or symptom is called cataplexy. This is a type of paralysis that seems to occur in response to some strong emotion such as hearty laughter, anger or even fear. The person does not lose consciousness but will evidence a sudden loss of muscle control. These episode normally only last a minute or so.

Yet another possible symptom is termed sleep paralysis. This usually occurs just as they are about to sleep or on just waking up. It may only last a second or two but the person feels unable to talk or move even though they are fully awake. It can be a little scary the first time this happens to them.

The fourth symptom concerns sleep related hallucinations. Again these occur at the times of falling asleep or upon awakening. The individual may see and hear things that are very vivid to them but aren't real.

Although narcolepsy is not thought of as a dangerous health issue it can be an embarrassing and of course inconvenient condition. And it is dangerous if the individual is operating a vehicle and experiences a sleep attack Researchers continue to try and understand the root cause of it. Some feel that head traumas, viruses or infections could be triggers that work with a previous genetic disposition.

There is no current cure for narcolepsy, however, through a combination of behavioral changes, certain types of medication and compassionate counseling there is support to find a quality of life that is satisfying as each new discovery helps these ones to cope with this disorder.

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