Is Narcolepsy Caused by a Neurological Disorder?

Is Narcolepsy Caused by a Neurological Disorder?

Most people with narcolepsy lead normal lives with proper treatment. Treatment focuses on alleviating the main symptoms, including daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. It also aims to improve nocturnal sleep and REM sleep.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the first symptom most people with narcolepsy have. Other symptoms include sudden loss of muscle tone, called cataplexy, and sleep paralysis (a feeling of being unable to move). Sometimes these occur in combination.


People with narcolepsy have trouble staying awake and functioning during the day. They’re more likely to fall asleep while driving, and their work performance and personal relationships suffer. Modalert 200 Australia might help you stay alert during the day.

Scientists know that narcolepsy causes changes in parts of the brain that control sleep-wake cycles. It’s also linked to an unusual type of immune system response that involves antibodies attacking healthy cells and tissues.

The most common cause of narcolepsy is a loss of neurons that produce hypocretin, or orexin, a chemical that regulates sleep. It’s thought that this occurs for genetic reasons, or because of a viral or bacterial infection, such as strep throat or H1N1 flu.

Other possible causes include a history of head trauma or other brain injuries, and certain medications. Most cases of narcolepsy don’t have a family history, but it can cluster in families. Symptoms can develop in childhood, but they’re most common in late adolescence and early adulthood. Other disorders, such as depression and sleep apnea, can also trigger them.


The main symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, frequent naps during the day, and a lack of energy. People with narcolepsy have “sleep attacks,” episodes of overwhelming sleepiness that feel irresistible. The drowsiness can cause lapses in attention or make it difficult to speak or move. In addition to the use of Waklert 150, there are other wakefulness-promoting agents that are available for patients with narcolepsy.

The condition affects men and women of all ages, but it usually starts in adolescence or young adulthood. It can lead to poor performance at school and work, and it can strain personal relationships.

People with narcolepsy often have automatic behaviors, such as continuing to do an activity without conscious awareness (microsleep episodes). They also experience sleep paralysis, which is the feeling that you can’t move while you’re falling asleep or waking up. They also tend to have vivid dreams when they’re awake and asleep. These experiences can interfere with daily activities and lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. The condition can also increase the risk of injury and accidents, such as car crashes.

Narcolepsy is increasingly being shown to be an autoimmune condition. When the immune system of the body unintentionally targets healthy tissue or cells, autoimmune diseases result. The immune system kills certain brain cells in narcolepsy that make the peptide hypocretin. Although the specifics of hypocretin’s activities are yet unknown, it has an impact on numerous brain processes. It is unclear why the immune system targets healthy cells in narcolepsy, and additional environmental and genetic variables may contribute to the disorder’s onset.


Most people with narcolepsy get diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 36. However, the condition can go undiagnosed for a long time. This delay is partly due to a lack of awareness and misdiagnosis.

The first step in diagnosing narcolepsy is a physical exam and detailed questions about your sleep habits. Most doctors will also want to see you use a tracking device, called actigraphy, to see your sleep-wake patterns over time.

Researchers have found that people with narcolepsy have low levels of wake-promoting chemicals in the hypothalamus. These chemicals are produced by neurons connected to the reticular activating system, which governs your sleep and wake cycles. The deficiency of these chemicals leads to a combination of symptoms, known as the classic tetrad of narcolepsy: excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. The condition is also associated with an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. A full sleep study (a polysomnogram) with multiple sleep latency tests can help identify narcolepsy and rule out other conditions like obstructive sleep apnea.

A neurological condition called narcolepsy results in chronic sleepiness as well as other symptoms like fragmented sleep at night and brief episodes of paralysis when falling asleep or waking up (sleep paralysis) or vivid, dream-like hallucinations. Symptoms often appear over a period of months and persist forever.


People with narcolepsy may have trouble functioning and concentrating at work or school, and they’re more likely to injure themselves. They can also experience depression. Many find that their relationships suffer, and they have difficulty dating or getting close to others.

People with the classic tetrad of narcolepsy have episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness brought on by strong emotions), microsleep episodes that cause them to behave automatically but without awareness, and hallucinations in the period between wakefulness and REM sleep. One type of narcolepsy-related hallucination, cataplectic facies, causes repetitive facial muscle movements.

Experts know that people who develop type 1 narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin in the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (CSF). They suspect that the CSF level is low because of an autoimmune problem — the immune system mistakenly attacks the neurons that make orexins or the orexins themselves. They don’t know why type 2 narcolepsy develops, though they think it might be the result of viral or bacterial infections such as strep throat or H1N1 influenza.

Chronic, excessive daytime sleepiness bouts, also known as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), are a hallmark of the neurological sleep disease narcolepsy. Drowsiness episodes might last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. The number of these instances varies, ranging from a handful to several in a single day. Sleep patterns at night (nocturnal sleep) may also be disturbed.

Cataplexy, a special sort of hallucination that occurs immediately before falling asleep or upon waking, and brief periods of paralysis while waking up are three additional symptoms that are frequently linked to narcolepsy.