Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Narcolepsy Overview

What is narcolepsy?
A person with narcolepsy has a sleep disorder that results in abnormal daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy often causes uncontrollable attacks of deep sleep. These attacks may be accompanied by cataplexy, which are sudden attacks of muscular weakness and loss of muscle tone that may cause the person to fall. The cause of narcolepsy is unknown.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?
Excessive daytime sleepiness is the most common symptom of narcolepsy. Many people with narcolepsy fall asleep suddenly, without warning. Additional symptoms of narcolepsy include cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations, which are vivid dreams that occur while falling to sleep.

How does the doctor treat narcolepsy?
Treatment for narcolepsy includes a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, and medication.

Continue to Narcolepsy Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Narcolepsy References
  1. Black JE, Brooks SN, Nishino S. Narcolepsy and syndromes of primary excessive daytime somnolence. Semin Neurol. 2004 Sep;24(3):271-82. [15449220]
  2. Dodel R, Peter H, Walbert T, Spottke A, Noelker C, Berger K, Siebert U, Oertel WH, Kesper K, Becker HF, Mayer G. The socioeconomic impact of narcolepsy. Sleep. 2004 Sep 15;27(6):1123-8. [15532206]
  3. Dyken ME, Yamada T. Narcolepsy and disorders of excessive somnolence. Prim Care. 2005 Jun;32(2):389-413. [15935192]
  4. Lockrane B, Bhatia P, Gore R. Successful treatment of narcolepsy and cataplexy: a review. Can Respir J. 2005 May-Jun;12(4):225-7. [16003460]
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