Narcolepsy A sleep disorder that causes excessive and uncontrollable sleepiness and frequent daytime sleep attacks. They are irresistible attacks of sleep that can take place at any time and any place usually lasting between 10 and 20 minutes.
Associated Features Before symptoms and behaviors of Narcolepsy can be very embarrassing because most of the times, people start falling asleep and nodding off without warning. Many People frequently may fall asleep while talking or sometimes while they are at work. Many People may experiences of loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), distorted perceptions, and inability to move or talk (sleep paralysis)
Associated Features Part 2 (DSM-IV-TR) A. Irresistible attacks of refreshing sleep that occur daily over at least 3 months. B. The presence of one or both of the following: (1) cataplexy (i.e., brief episodes of sudden bilateral loss of muscle tone, most often in association with intense emotion) (2) recurrent intrusions of elements of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep into the transition between sleep and wakefulness, as manifested by either hypnopompic or hypnagogic hallucinations or sleep paralysis at the beginning or end of sleep episodes C. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another general medical condition.
Etiology Experts believe that narcolepsy is caused by reduced amounts of a protein called hypocretin, which is made in the brain. Conditions that causes insomnia, such as disrupted work schedules, can make narcolepsy worse Conditions that cause excessive sleepiness include: 1) Insomnia and other sleep disorders 2) Restless leg syndrome 3) Seizures 4) Sleep apnea 5) Other medical, psychiatric, or nervous system
Etiology (Causes) Most sleep experts believe the primarily causes of Narcolepsy are related : 1. Genetic Mutations on chromosome six 2. Traumatic brain injuries 3. Tumors 4. Damage to the Hypothalamus and Pons in the brain stem 5. Biological Factors 6. Prolonged periods of stress
Prevalence The United States, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates narcolepsy affects one in every 2,000 people The main symptom is present in 100% of patients with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy usually begins in teenagers or young adults and affects both sexes equally.
Prevalence Part 2 Symptoms, particularly sleepiness usually begin in late childhood, the teen years or the early twenties. Narcolepsy can begin after the age of 30, but such is relatively uncommon. In contrast while sleep apnea can develop in childhood. If more often becomes a significant and progressive problem later in life.
Treatment There is no known cure for narcolepsy. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. Anti-depressant medications can help reduce episodes of cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hallucinations. Anti –depressants include: Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors such as fluxetine Paroxetine, setraline, and venilafaxine
PROGNOSIS Narcolepsy is a chronic lifelong condition. It is not a deadly illness, but may be dangerous. Narcolepsy can usually be controlled with treatment; Also treating other underlying sleep disorders can improve symptoms of Narcolepsy.
Discussion Question If you were dating someone with Narcolepsy how would you feel? Do you think you could handle it? Why or Why not? If someone in your family had Narcolepsy and came to you for help what would you do? Would you help them or abandoned them, why or why not? How would your life be different if you were diagnosed with Narcolepsy? What would you do about it?
References Jeffress, D. (3003-2011) What are the causes of narcolepsy? Retrieved from http://wisegeek.com/what-are-the-causes-of-narcolepsy.htm. http://wisegeek.com/what-are-the-causes-of-narcolepsy.htm PubMedHealth. (2011). Narcolepsy. Retrieved from http://www.hcbi.hlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001805/ Cunha J. P. (Do, FACOEP). (1996-2011) Narcolepsy. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/narcolepsy/article.htm. Whatev. (2008) Narcolepsy Dsm-IV. Code 347 Retrieved from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=2008114073732AAWcgKv Halgin, R.P, & Whitbourne, S.K (2005) Abnormal psychology clinical perspective on psychological disorders. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/narcolepsy.htm.