Narcolepsy: when insomnia decides your sleep

Sleep disorders have serious health consequences, in the form of a weakened immune system, exhaustion, lack of concentration or social isolation. But one of the varieties of insomnia that worries us the most is narcolepsy, because we are dealing with a chronic disease and a sleep disorder that can become disabling.

What is narcolepsy

  • People with narcolepsy do not decide when or where they fall asleep. This is excessive daytime sleepiness that can be accompanied by hallucinations, paralysis, and cataplexy. In the most severe cases, muscle control is lost and they may fall to the ground. It is easy to deduce the risks of this sleep disorder whose causes are unknown, but its consequences are.
  • Depending on the degree of the disorder, a person suffering from narcolepsy may have many problems in their work and social life, may be unable to perform certain jobs, to drive a vehicle, and may become a dependent person who cannot be left alone. Due to the risk of those falls that are practically a loss of consciousness.
  • The different ways in which narcolepsy manifests itself can seriously affect the life of the person who suffers from it. Hallucinations occur between sleep phases, which considerably impairs the quality of sleep. For its part, paralysis occurs a little before falling asleep or a little before waking up and your body can be immobilized for a few seconds. With these sensations, it is very common for narcolepsy to be associated with a depressive disorder.

Treatment for narcolepsy

  • Because it is a chronic disease, narcolepsy cannot be cured, but it can be treated and considerably improve the quality of life. In most cases it is treated with stimulant drugs to stay awake, but also with antidepressants to reduce hallucinations and cataplexy.
  • Although the treatment for narcolepsy also includes some changes in life habits and adequate sleep hygiene, as it occurs with all types of insomnia. A person with narcolepsy is going to need more than anyone to follow a regular schedule, not only to go to bed and get up, but in all their daily activities.
  • Generally, people who suffer from narcolepsy are also going to need psychological treatment to help them cope with the consequences of their illness and face the day-to-day life of their problem, reducing possible risks. And in any case, ideally narcolepsy should be supervised by a sleep specialist.

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