(Also Known As: Insomnia, Narcoleptic)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder due to the inability of the brain to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle. The condition is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness where an individual experiences extreme tiredness with the possibility of falling asleep during the day at inappropriate times and places.1 The resulting effect would be disturbed nocturnal sleep, oftentimes mistaken as a case of insomnia. A Narcoleptic also experiences disturbed rapid eye movement or REM. The urge to fall asleep can be so overwhelming that a Narcoleptic can fall sleep anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and in rare cases may extend to a few hours.
Because Narcolepsy can occur at any time, it can be a very disabling condition. The urge to sleep can cause the person to fall asleep involuntarily, even when at the middle of doing an activity and dangerously when driving an automobile or when operating potentially hazardous machinery.2
Many often attribute Narcoleptic symptoms to a case of depression, simple lack of sleep, seizure disorder, and other conditions that could cause abnormal sleep patterns. Narcolepsy often begins between the age of 15 and 25, but in most cases the condition remains undiagnosed and left untreated.
Could You Have Narcolepsy?