by: Sandra K Adams
commonly, Narcolepsy presents itself as an illness called EDS –
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. This is the persistent feeling
being tired, lacking real energy and wanting to sleep. The
sufferer has to make concerted efforts to remain awake, but even
if he or she is able to do so, it is often only to achieve a
semi-wakeful state that onlookers often describe as ‘trance
like’ or as if the individual is ‘on auto pilot’. At unfortunate
moments, the feeling can be so strong that it appears to anyone
looking on that the sufferer may be drunk.
Typically, people suffering from Narcolepsy and Excessive
Daytime Sleepiness need to have a period of sleep before
attempting and specific task. Failing to prepare in this manner
can result in a sudden attack of sleep while performing said
task. EDS is regularly treated with stimulants, such as Ritalin,
in America. This drug helps to stimulate the central nervous
system to keep the individual alert and awake. Other newer drugs
are in development that work as similar ‘wake promoters’.
The second main characteristic of narcolepsy is cataplexy, the
sudden loss of control over the muscles in your body. This can
vary in severity from individual to individual, and most good
doctors suggest that if the symptoms are not severe enough,
treatment should simply be avoided. The drugs commonly used to
treat this problem are those in the antidepressant range.
Cataplexy is not directly linked to depression, but the side
effects of these drugs happen to affect the neurological
pathways that themselves cause cataplexy.
These drugs are usually either tricyclic agents, or Selective
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, SSRIs. Paralysis during sleep and
hallucinations can also be left without treatment from drugs
unless they are particularly severe or extreme. As they
typically only occur during the night, they cause less of a
problem to the sufferer. Regardless, the treatments for
cataplexy will usually also reduce the severity of these two
Strong advice comes from other sufferers of narcolepsy – take
naps! There is good clinical evidence that taking some frequent
naps during the day will help offset the symptoms of EDS and
cataplexy. Many claim that simply sleeping for a few minutes at
a time before performing a task can guard against a sleep attack
happening during that task.
Sleep Infocenter in Holisticonline.com
Introduction to Narcolepsy
Sandra K Adams writes on a variety of topics. Get more
information about Narcolepsy symptoms and treatments at
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