Is everyone here familiar with narcolepsy?
Frankly, I like to think of myself as someone afflicted by this condition. I'm not clinically diagnosed yet though! To those of you who have zero ideas about what narcolepsy is, allow me to briefly explain the condition to you.
What Is Narcolepsy?
I'm sure that all of you have experienced falling asleep in a train or subway before. Some of you may have even fallen asleep in shorter rides as in the case of taxis and buses. Many of us have had episodes of falling asleep at work, school, and in our good friend's couch. Sleep, after all, is something our body needs to restore energy. Whenever we expend too much energy in a single day, we tend to fall asleep faster. While this is all normal, a few people experience extreme cases of this drowsy feeling (check this out). Even without due cause, these people will suddenly drift off to dreamland anytime, anywhere. This is a condition we refer to as "narcolepsy."
So to speak, narcolepsy is the polar opposite of insomnia. To put it simply, insomnia is a condition wherein the person afflicted finds it difficult to fall asleep - no matter how tired, exhausted, or sleepy he is. In the case of narcolepsy, what happens is the opposite. The person afflicted by the condition has a hard time staying awake.
That's right. A person stricken with narcolepsy can impractically fall asleep anywhere and have a hard time staying awake.
Now, you probably think you have narcolepsy too. After all, isn't this condition something that plagues us all? Well, no. Narcolepsy is a little different from our usual lazy-bummed selves. Sure, there are days when we feel like we don't want to get out of bed at all. Sure, there are instances when we suddenly catch ourselves dozing off in very peculiar and inappropriate places. These situations, however, are not considered clinically abnormal.
Loving sleep is a normal thing. Power napping after a long hard day is a normal thing (Know more about the benefits of power napping today: https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps). Staying asleep for 16 to 20 hours even if you hardly did anything the previous day is not okay. This is when things get abnormal. Narcolepsy is classified as a sleep-wake disorder for a reason. It disallows people from functioning normally and following their normal routine. People with narcolepsy miss school, work, they get behind a lot of things because they are unable to stay awake for long intervals. Although most of us love sleep to a point that this disorder probably sounds heavenly, let me tell you that those who actually suffer from it think otherwise. They think it's a curse - a curse that's making them miss out on a lot of things in life.
After all, how can you work when you're either asleep or half-asleep all the time? How can you focus in school when your eyes can't seem to stay awake? How can you enjoy a night out with friends when you fall asleep soon after you sit yourself in a comfy couch? Narcolepsy is called a disorder for a reason. It impractically disorganizes your life and doesn't give you control over it.
So, what are the common signs of narcolepsy?
Although narcolepsy can manifest in many ways, it almost always shows the following symptoms:
2. Sleepiness (usually triggered after cataplexy)
3. Inability to stay awake in relaxing situations
Cataplexy, if you don't know it yet, is a brief surge of extreme emotions like laughter, fear, excitement, and anxiety. So it's like you experience a sudden influx of energy (positive or negative) that you don't know what to do about and a major "crash" soon after. Some clinical advisers often think that cataplexy is a symptom of a seizure disorder when in fact, it is a major symptom that signifies the onset of narcolepsy.
Sleepiness is, of course, a symptom as well. People who are suffering from the disorder find it a little too easy to fall asleep in calm situations. You may think that this is normal since we, too, experience such sleepiness whenever we get bored or calmed. However, patients who are suffering from the disorder find it a nuisance that they fall asleep in inappropriate and sometimes "important" situations. Let's take examinations as an example. A student having narcolepsy symptoms may end up falling asleep in the middle of taking a very important exam. He or she doesn't want to sleep, they refuse to sleep, but their bodies easily succumb to the relaxing atmosphere. This is how disadvantageous having the disorder can be.
Another common question people ask is: Can you wake a person with narcolepsy? Well, yes (read more). They can be woken up but it can be fairly difficult to do so. A narcolepsy patient enters a hazy, dream-like state before and after sleep. This can make them hallucinate and feel physically detached to their bodies upon waking up. So even if you forcibly wake a narcolepsy patient up, you wouldn't be able to get them back to their senses right away. You will have to deal with these vivid, dream-like episodes.
How To Treat It
There is no sure treatment for narcolepsy. It's a disorder that persists or relapses in a person's lifetime. Nootropic drugs or smart drugs are often used to help narcolepsy patients battle with sleepiness. Modafinil, especially, which is known as the "King of Smart Drugs" is commonly used to medicate a person suffering from the disorder. Modafinil promotes "wakefulness," the exact opposite of what narcolepsy does to a person. It improves focus, alertness, and memory. Nootropic supplements have been found to help narcolepsy patients function normally in many everyday situations. Check out Modafinil, Noopept, and Provigil's benefits in this website.
While these drugs may not totally cure narcolepsy; they help. Some reported cases even claim to have "fully-treated" narcolepsy patients with nootropic drugs such as Modafinil. If you know someone suffering from the same disorder, encourage him to look-up nootropic treatment today!