Many people are familiar with the concept of Narcolepsy since it has been referred to in movies and stories, many times in a comical sense. The common image is of a person in the middle of a conversation who suddenly drops to the ground, having gone from a state of alertness to an immediate state of complete sleep. The person awakens, not having realized that the sleep ever occurred, and continues on with the conversation.
Narcolepsy is not necessarily as it is portrayed in the movies. People who suffer from narcolepsy may not suddenly fall asleep with no warning whatsoever, although some extremely rare instances of this sleep disorder are characterized by this type of behavior. The majority of people with Narcolepsy, however, have issues with getting overwhelmed with sleepiness throughout the day and sometimes succumbing to the need for a nap.
There are different degrees of Narcolepsy. Some people may simply have a problem with getting very sleepy during the day while other people may have a variety of issues that all point to Narcolepsy. One example includes sleeping while engaged in conversation or working, and not even appearing asleep to the people around you. While people might think that you are allowing your mind to wander, or you might begin to believe that you have memory problems because you don’t remember things people have told you, the truth is that you are actually sleeping during your interactions. You just don’t appear to be asleep because your eyes are open and the people around you can’t tell that you’re sleeping.
Other interesting characteristics of the rarer forms of Narcolepsy include hallucinations and brief periods of paralysis. Having hallucinations when waking up can be a sign of Narcolepsy, but it is not an absolute indicator of a diagnosis. People with severe Narcolepsy may find themselves experiencing dramatic and scary hallucinations as a result of their rare sleep disorder. Sleep paralysis is actually a relatively common thing; our bodies are essentially “paralyzed” while we sleep so that we do not act out all the actions in our dreams, but for a person with Narcolepsy the paralysis goes beyond the usual sleep paralysis. A Narcoleptic person might be completely paralyzed upon waking up, yet completely aware of the situation and understandably terrified.
There is medication that is designed to assist people who have varying degrees of Narcolepsy. Medication can usually be quite effective in helping people stay awake in daytime hours and then get a full night’s sleep. Some people do not like the medication because the stimulant factor designed to keep them awake during the day makes them feel nervous or jittery. It is a trade-off for some Narcoleptics; either they continue to have perpetually erratic sleeping habits, or instead they have to stay on course with a series of medications. Some Narcoleptics don’t have a choice, however, because for them the urge to sleep during the day is so powerful that they wind up falling asleep while driving or at other dangerous times. For these rare instances, medication can be a life-saver.Free PDF Health Ebook...