Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder which causes the patient to experience a sudden onset of sleepiness. Sufferers often complain about how hard it is to stay awake. They have a hard time to focus because the sleepiness can strike at anytime even at work. It may or may not be accompanied by cataplexy.
What is cataplexy?
Narcolepsy comes in different forms, with and without cataplexy. Cataplexy is described as a loss of muscle control that happens very suddenly. During the attack, the person may slur his speech and fall because he loses control over the muscles in his body. Cataplexy is commonly triggered by a strong emotion, be it sadness or happiness.
Due to its nature, narcolepsy is safer when it’s not accompanied by cataplexy. With narcolepsy, the patient may just feel extreme drowsiness. He still has time to prepare where he would fall asleep. On the other hand, Cataplexy could be dangerous when the attack comes at the wrong time, like when walking or driving.
Cataplexy in someone shows from his behavior. If you have ever noticed someone falling asleep suddenly from a conscious state, he’s likely to have this condition. Another common symptom of narcolepsy is daytime sleepiness. Sufferers can take a few naps when for normal people, once is usually enough.
Sleep paralysis also often occurs during episodes of narcolepsy or cataplexy. Sleep paralysis feels like sleeping, but it’s not. It’s different from dreaming in the sense that in sleep paralysis, we are usually aware of the surroundings. However, we are unable to speak or do something because the body is paralyzed.
The severity levels of cataplexy vary. It’s mild when it doesn’t come too frequently, maybe just once a week or even less. It’s moderate when the cataplexy occurs more often, like every other day. And when it’s severe, the sudden loss of muscle control can occur daily. It’s like there is no day without experience muscle weakness.
Experiencing cataplexy at the wrong time can be dangerous as it can lead to a fatal injury. However, as time goes by we can learn how to manage it better. It’s often a lifelong disease, meaning that there’s much time to learn when it attacks and what we’re supposed to do during that time. Cataplexy is triggered by strong emotions.
So to reduce the likelihood of an attack, you need to learn how to handle emotions better. Meditation can help with that because it requires us to focus and gain total control over ourselves. The onset of strong emotions can be hard to stop sometimes, like when we hear the news of someone’s passing. This is why learning to control them is very important for someone with this condition.