Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that affects as many as one in every 2,000 Americans. It is characterized as falling asleep at inopportune times, most often during the daytime, and is considered a serious medical condition, A person with narcolepsy is prone to falling asleep at almost any moment, such as during a conversation. Although these episodes can happen at any time, it is most often during monotonous activities. These people have no control over their sleeping schedule and often wake up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. This is because people with narcolepsy often skip stages of sleep at night and in the case of a sudden daytime attack go straight to REM sleep, which most people take time to reach at night. Narcolepsy is caused by a protein deficiency in the brain, which is used for alertness. People with narcolepsy are more prone to be depressed also; this can be a cause of several factors, such as the disabling nature of the condition or imbalances in the brain.
Types of Narcolepsy
There are two types of narcolepsy: narcolepsy with cataplexy and narcolepsy without cataplexy. Cataplexy is described as a moment of muscle weakness brought about by strong emotions. Therefore, someone with narcolepsy that also has cataplexy will be more prone to paralysis of his or her muscles at inopportune times immediately after doing something like getting angry or laughing. While a cataplexy attack is happening, the sufferer may be fully conscious but although these episodes may be strong, the sufferer will usually make a full recovery afterwards. Cataplexy may affect the entire body in an episode or simply a specific muscle group.
Other Symptoms of Narcolepsy
Other symptoms of Narcolepsy involve sleep paralysis, which is characterized by not being able to move shortly before falling asleep. The mind stays awake while the body is actually asleep already. Sleep-deprived hallucinations, which are visions that appear immediately before sleep or after waking, are another symptom of narcolepsy. Yet another symptom of narcolepsy is automatic behavior, which is characterized by behavior that the sufferer is not aware he or she is doing.
Norris, Jeffrey. “Gene Points to Autoimmune Cause for Narcolepsy – Science Café – UCSF.” University of California, San Francisco. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. http://www.ucsf.edu/science-cafe/articles/gene-points-to-autoimmune-cause-for-narcolepsy/.
Narcolepsy.” Medicinenet.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2010. <www.medicinenet.com/narcolepsy
“What is narcolepsy, symptoms & causes – WebMD.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/narcolepsy.