Narcolepsy Treatment Chicago

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Occasionally narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle strength. This is known as type 2 narcolepsy. Often a patient with type 2 narcolepsy will have a period of cataplexy where muscles become weak and are accompanied by a strong emotion such as fear or excitement.

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone. Slurred speech to complete weakness of most muscles that can last a few minutes.
  • Sleep paralysis where the patient is conscious during sleep but can’t move
  • Quick transition to REM sleep usually within 15 minutes of falling asleep

The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown, however people with type 1 narcolepsy typically have low levels of the chemical hypocretin which is an important neurochemical that helps regulate wakefulness and REM sleep. In those who experience cataplexy, hypocretin is especially low.

There is no cure for narcolepsy but medications in combination with lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms.  Narcolepsy treatment can be achieved by adhering to the following

  • Sticking to a sleep schedule
  • Taking naps during the day
  • Avoiding nicotine and alcohol
  • Regular exercise
  • Stimulants such as Provigil
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s).
  • Trycyclic antidepressants
  • Sodium oxybate (Xyrem)