Understanding Narcolepsy: Symptoms & Causes

Do you have a hard time staying awake for long periods of time, often falling asleep suddenly and without warning? If so, you might have narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime drowsiness. Below, we explore common symptoms and causes.

What Are the Symptoms of Narcolepsy?

As was noted above, the hallmark characteristic of narcolepsy is extreme daytime drowsiness that causes you to suddenly fall asleep. This can happen anytime and anywhere, including when you’re engaged in an activity (for example, while you’re talking or driving). If you have narcolepsy, you may also experience:

  • Reduced alertness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep paralysis

People with narcolepsy also tend to move into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep more quickly. In some cases, individuals with narcolepsy experience a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), typically triggered by intense emotions. This can lead to muscle weakness or slurred speech that lasts for up to a few minutes.

What Causes Narcolepsy?

Researchers are still working to determine what causes narcolepsy. However, studies suggest that low levels of the chemical hypocretin (possibly due to an autoimmune response) could contribute to cataplexy. Having a family history of narcolepsy can also increase your chances of developing the disorder.

Offering Treatment for Narcolepsy Near You

Although there’s currently no cure for narcolepsy, treatment can help manage symptoms. If you need a therapist who specializes in treating narcolepsy, look no further than our team. We’ve helped numerous patients struggling with narcolepsy, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at a date and time that fits into your schedule.

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