Narcolepsy Symptoms And Its Treatment
Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. People suffering from narcolepsy feel drowsy and they find it difficult to stay awake continuously for a long period of time. This affects their daily routine and their normal life. Narcolepsy is a lifelong condition and it is not completely treatable but the severity of the symptoms can be reduced by taking the right medications and by following a few lifestyle changes. The good news is it responds well to medications. What are the symptoms and the treatment options? Here is a detailed analysis.
Symptoms of narcolepsy
The symptoms of narcolepsy include:
1. Excessive daytime sleepiness
The first symptom is falling asleep anytime anywhere without warning. You may fall asleep when you are in the middle of your work or when you are sitting idly. You may even fall asleep when you are talking with your family or addressing in a meeting. This can be embarrassing. It can be dangerous if you fall asleep while driving. Often the sleep episodes are for a short duration and don’t last for more than half an hour. However, you will not be able to remain awake for a long time and will feel sleepy again. Some people continue with the work they were doing when they fall asleep. For example, if you were writing while falling asleep, you may continue to write whatever you were writing while asleep but you may not remember what you were doing after getting up.
Cataplexy refers to the sudden loss of muscle tone. It can be mild weakness like a jaw drop or it can be severe like a total collapse. The muscle weakness is temporary and lasts only for a couple of minutes or lesser. However, sudden falls can be dangerous and result in severe injuries. Patients with type 2 narcolepsy don’t have this symptom. It is people with type 1 narcolepsy who have episodes of cataplexy. Cataplexy is uncontrollable and is generally triggered by emotions like laughter, excitement, fear, surprise, and anger. Some have rare episodes of cataplexy and some have them several times daily.
3. Sleep paralysis
This refers to the condition in which you will be unable to move or speak while waking up or falling asleep. It lasts just for a few seconds or a few minutes but it can be scary when you are not able to move your body.
Hallucinations can be hypnagogic or hypnopompic. A hypnagogic hallucination occurs when you fall asleep and a hypnopompic hallucination occurs when you are waking up. They are visual and often can be frightening.
5. Changes in Rapid Eye Movement sleep
Rapid Eye Movement sleep is referred to as REM sleep. This is the time when most of the dreaming occurs. Generally, people enter into REM sleep only after an hour or two after falling asleep. People suffering from narcolepsy enter into REM within a few minutes and it can happen any time of the day.
Treatment for narcolepsy
Treatment options to improve quality of life
Narcolepsy affects the quality of life of the patient. It can be improved:
- Through emotional support from family and friends
- By seeking mental counseling
- By self-educating on how drinking, smoking, and other habits can impact narcolepsy
- Through medications that reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms
Medications for narcolepsy are of two categories, one is to manage daytime sleepiness, and another is to manage cataplexy.
To manage daytime sleepiness
1. Wakefulness-promoting medications
Doctors recommend wakefulness-promoting medications to stimulate the central nervous system and prevent frequent sleep episodes. Modafinil and Armodafinil are the most commonly prescribed wakefulness medications. This is because they have fewer side effects and the risk of habit-forming is low, They don’t produce lows and highs like other stimulants. Only mild side effects are common and severe side effects are very rare.
Modafinil and armodafinil have the same chemical structures but they are arranged differently. Experts believe they work by boosting dopamine levels in the brain. Modafinil is older than armodafill. Modafinil was approved in 1998 and Armodafinil was approved only in 2007. Both these medications significantly improve daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy patients. They both are effective but armodafinil is slightly more expensive than modafinil. You can Order Modafinil online. Generic forms are cheaper but deliver the same effects.
2. Stimulant medications like amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
They work by stimulating the neurotransmitters that control the sleep and wake cycle. They have a high risk of abuse.
They are given to improve fatigue, sleepiness, and foul mood resulting from narcolepsy.
They are approved by FDA to treat both daytime sleepiness and cataplexy.
To manage cataplexy
They work well to give relief from cataplexy and to improve nighttime sleep.
If excessive daytime sleepiness is your biggest concern, the best medication is Modafinil. Buy Modafinil online from reputed websites.