Narcolepsy makes the sufferers always feel sleepy. However, it’s not normal sleepiness. There are other symptoms that they also experience, such as sleep paralysis and muscle weakness. This neurological disorder often becomes chronic and needs to have ongoing treatment.
People of all ages are at risk of this disease although it’s more prevalent in the younger population, around 10-20 years of age. This can also begin later when someone turns 40 or 50. There are two types of narcolepsy, namely narcolepsy with cataplexy and narcolepsy without cataplexy.
Narcolepsy with cataplexy
Cataplexy is a condition characterized by a sudden muscle control loss. It may sound strange, but it does happen. When someone experiences cataplexy, it’s usually triggered by a very strong emotion, be it sadness or happiness. It can be serious because sleepiness can attack without permission.
It can be serious because sleepiness can attack without permission. And when the person is in a situation that requires full attention, this could end up in a disaster. One of the examples is driving. Since the onset of cataplexy is unpredictable, it could happen at this particular moment. Cataplexy doesn’t happen to everyone with narcolepsy, but most people with narcolepsy also have this symptom.
Narcolepsy without cataplexy
This is another type of narcolepsy, also known as narcolepsy type 2. In this condition, someone doesn’t have episodes of muscle weakness, but still have classical symptoms of narcolepsy like daytime sleepiness. The excessive sleepiness need to be present for over 3 months to make sure that it’s related this condition. The difference with narcolepsy type 1 is it doesn’t cause sudden loss of muscle control.
Narcolepsy could sometimes be caused by damages to certain areas of the brain that produce hypocretin. Those who’ve had a severe head injury might develop this condition later. Another possible scenario is a brain tumor. The mass can also affect the way the brain works.
Apart from daytime sleepiness and cataplexy, there are a few other symptoms that often accompany this condition, one of which is hallucinations. They feel like dream, but not quite because they feel real at the same time. This experience sounds similar to sleep paralysis.
During sleep paralysis, the ability to process information is there, but we’re unable to move the body. It feels like you’re awake, but you can’t do anything. The thing is you aren’t fully awake in the sense that you can give verbal and physical responses to what you’re experiencing. Some people experience it with eyes wide open. Others can’t open the eyes until they snap out of it.