Narcolepsy is typified by the inability to resist the urge to sleep, sometimes at inappropriate occasions.
Narcolepsy is a rare sleeping disorder, globally affecting only 1/2000 people. It causes extreme tiredness and is sometimes diagnosed along with Cataplexy, a disorder that causes periodic muscle weakness therefore resulting in physical collapse, brought on by emotion of humour, anger, surprise or shock.
It can also cause Hypnogogic hallucinations which are vivid dreams when first falling asleep, as well as Hypnogogic Paralysis, which as the name implies, paralyses the affected person when transitioning from sleeping to wakefulness.
The person may be able to hear and sometimes even see, whilst unable to move a muscle. It may feel as if the mind is awake, yet the body is still asleep. Hallucinations of someone/ something sinister being in the room or even sitting on the bed can occur during this phase of transitioning.
Narcolepsy is caused by a deficient hormone in the part of the brain called the Hypothalamus. Although a cure is yet to be discovered, medication that promotes wakefulness appears to be beneficial. Support groups such as UKAN (Narcolepsy Association UK) provide helpful support and advice.
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