Narcolepsy is a highly daily-life interfering disorder and has seen problems with diagnosis due to the that it is mostly accompanied by disorders that are similar to narcolepsy. It is a rare long-term brain condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times such as driving a car or talking to a person. Narcoleptic individuals usually feel rested after waking, but then feel very sleepy throughout much of the day. And many also experience uneven and interrupted sleep that can involve waking up frequently during the night. The brain is unable to regulate sleeping and waking patterns normally, which can result in many different consequences:
1. Excessive daytime sleepiness which describes the feeling of drowsiness throughout the day, accompanied with concentration, and problems staying awake.
2. Sleep attacks which is falling asleep suddenly and without warning.
3. Cataplexy is often triggered by emotions such as laughter or anger and stands for the temporary loss of muscle control and results in weakness and collapses.
4. Sleep paralysis which describes the temporary inability to move and speak upon falling asleep or waking up.
5. Excessive dreaming and waking in the night
6. Dreams as you fall asleep (hypnogogic hallucinations) or just before or during waking (hypnopompic hallucinations)
Narcolepsy is also characterized by disordered regulation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep (Scammell, 2015). Rem sleep usually occurs as a later stage in a usual sleep period of a healthy individual, and includes rapid eye movement, paralysis of nearly every muscle except the breathing muscle, dreams, and nightmares. REM sleep can occur in persons with narcolepsy at any time of day, and the classic elements of REM sleep often intrude into wakefulness, creating peculiar intermediate states (Scammell, 2015).
Scammell, T. E. (2015). Narcolepsy. New England Journal of Medicine, 373(27), 2654-2662.
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