Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder which causes excessive sleepiness during the daytime. Patients feel excessive fatigue and fall asleep at inappropriate times and at inappropriate places such as at work or in the office or in school. Sometimes people confuse narcolepsy with insomnia. But they are not the same things.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. Patients of this disease feels excessive daytime sleepiness and this may attack at any time of the day. Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15-25 though it can become apparent at any time. Most of the time the disease remains undiagnosed and stays untreated.
Symptoms of narcolepsy are quite a few. People suffer from mental cloudiness, lack of energy, poor concentration, memory loss, depressed mood and extreme exhaustion. One symptom of this disorder is sudden loss of muscle tone and leads to loss of voluntary muscle control. The result is slurred speech to total collapse of body muscle. Sometimes hallucination occurs as a result.
A thorough clinical examination and medical history are essential for the diagnosis of narcolepsy. The real cause of narcolepsy is not exactly known. According to some research it may be the result of lack of a chemical called hypocretin in the brain, especially when cataplexy is also present. Hypocretin stimulates the brain cells and promotes a state of wakefulness. Infection, autoimmune system, stress or hormonal changes may be the possible causes of lack of hypocretin.
Narcolepsy is a chronic and lifelong condition. But you can manage and control it through proper medication. We have to keep in mind that each person is different and their response to medicine is also different. Their treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms.
Some lifestyle changes and alternative therapies have proved effective in controlling narcolepsy. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe that people often turn to conventional medication to relieve symptoms. It also helps to control the sudden attacks of sleepiness. But it has been found that herbal and homeopathic treatments have proved more beneficial. Treatment programs may include counseling, homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and spiritual therapy. Along with them healthy diet and regular exercise is necessary to control the symptom.