Narcolepsy – Symptoms and causes

Narcolepsy is a long-term neurological disorder that involves a decreased ability to regulate sleep–wake cycles. Symptoms often include periods of excessive daytime sleepiness and brief involuntary sleep episodes. About 70% of those affected also experience episodes of sudden loss of muscle strength, known as cataplexy

. This condition disrupts daily activities and can lead to accidents or injuries. While there is no cure for narcolepsy, there are various treatment options available to help manage its symptoms.

One of the most common treatments for narcolepsy is medication. Stimulants like methylphenidate and amphetamine are used to help individuals stay awake during the day and improve alertness. Other medications like sodium oxybate can help regulate REM sleep and reduce levels of cataplexy. It’s important to note that medication may not be effective for everyone and can have side effects, so it’s important to work with a healthcare provider to find the best treatment approach.

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can also improve symptoms of narcolepsy. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and taking short naps during the day can all help manage excessive daytime sleepiness. It’s also important to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet to promote overall well-being.

Living with narcolepsy can be challenging, but with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, individuals can still live a fulfilling and productive life. Anyone experiencing symptoms of narcolepsy should speak with a healthcare provider to receive a proper diagnosis and explore treatment options.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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