But even during the most severe episodes, people remain fully informed, a feature that distinguishes cataplexy from fainting or seizure disorders. The loss of muscle tone during cataplexy resembles the paralysis of muscle activity Modafinil that occurs naturally during REM sleep. Episodes last a few minutes at most and resolve themselves almost immediately. Although scary, episodes are not dangerous as long as the individual finds a safe place to collapse.
But excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy, the most disabling symptoms of the condition, can be controlled in most patients with drug treatment. People with this condition experience excessive daytime sleepiness, but usually do not have muscle weakness caused by emotions. They also tend to have less severe symptoms and have normal levels of the hypocretin hormone in the brain. A condition known as secondary narcolepsy can result from injury to the hypothalamus, an area deep in the brain that helps regulate sleep. In addition to experiencing the typical symptoms of narcolepsy, people can also have severe neurological problems and sleep for long periods of time every night.
Examples of hallucinations may include hearing the ringing of a phone or a person walking nearby, seeing people or animals not being there, or having an out-of-body experience. When hallucinations occur upon awakening, they are called hypnompic hallucinations; when they occur when falling asleep, they are called hypnagogic hallucinations. Groups of neurons in different parts of the brain interact to regulate sleep, and the activity of these neurons is controlled by a large number of genes.
These sudden sleep attacks are known as “sleep attacks.” These attacks can last a few seconds or a few minutes. Under sleep attacks, some people with narcolepsy may show normal levels of alertness, especially if they engage in an activity that holds their attention. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. People with narcolepsy may wake up in the morning feeling well rested, but they can’t maintain that alertness all day. As a result, people with narcolepsy often feel excessively fatigued and often fall asleep during the day, even when participating in conversations, work, or other activities.
Others are plagued by vivid dreams and sleep paralysis, but have never experienced cataplexy. Typically, in these cases, an MSLT is performed, and if the pattern resembles NT1 (average sleep latency ≤ 8 min; ≥ 2 SOPs in 5 naps), the patient is called narcolepsy type 2. Many people with narcolepsy have tried over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine in an attempt to stay awake. However, doctors may prescribe medications that may be effective in controlling excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy and sleep disruption.
However, narcolepsy appears to be a disorder of the part of the central nervous system that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations are similar to the loss of muscle tone associated with normal sleep at a sleep stage called REM. In narcolepsy, lack of muscle tone and dream experiences occur at inappropriate times.
Narcolepsy occurs in people of all ages, but the first sign of daytime sleepiness usually appears in adolescence or twenties. Because the symptoms of narcolepsy mimic depression, other sleep disorders, or other diseases, it can go undiagnosed and left untreated for years. Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, some of the symptoms can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes. When cataplexy is present, hypocretin loss is considered irreversible and lifelong. Excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy can be controlled with medication in most people.
In NT2 and IH, therapeutically, it is most important to find the factors that are most likely to contribute to daytime sleepiness for each patient. A better understanding of the cause leads to personalized treatment, although a doctor sometimes realizes that there is no clear answer and trial and error is necessary with well-known medications. Since the 1960s, several of the debilitating symptoms of narcolepsy, such as sleep paralysis, cataplexy and hypnagogic hallucinations, have been known to be pathological equivalents of REM sleep. In fact, patients with narcolepsy enter REM sleep abnormally quickly, minutes after falling asleep, unlike normal people where REM sleep does not appear until after an hour of sleep. Some people with narcolepsy may experience hallucinations that may occur at the beginning or end of a sleep period.