What Happens During A Cataplexy Attack?

During more severe episodes, a person collapses and cannot move or speak. Unlike other conditions that cause a loss of muscle control, like fainting or seizures, people experiencing cataplexy remain conscious and aware. Episodes typically last a couple of minutes and resolve on their own.

What causes cataplexy attacks?

The episodes (or “cataplectic attacks”) in most cases are triggered by strong or extreme emotions, including anger, stress, anxiety, fear, a depressed mood, joy, and laughter.

How do you deal with cataplexy?

How is cataplexy treated?

  1. tricyclic antidepressants, such as clomipramine (Anafranil)
  2. selective serotonin uptake reinhibitors (SSRIs), another type of antidepressant, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
  3. sodium oxybate (Xyrem), which can help with both cataplexy and sleepiness during the day.

Can cataplexy go away?

Although it is a different condition, cataplexy is sometimes misdiagnosed as a seizure disorder. There is no cure for cataplexy, but it can be managed with medications and modification of potential triggers.

How long do cataplexy attacks last?

Cataplexy attacks generally last less than two minutes, and they may only last a few seconds, though some people have repeated attacks of cataplexy which persist for up to 30 minutes. During both mild and severe attacks, the person stays fully conscious.

What are the five signs of narcolepsy?

They include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy fall asleep without warning, anywhere, anytime. …
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone. …
  • Sleep paralysis. …
  • Changes in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. …
  • Hallucinations.

Is cataplexy a disability?

This disorder is extremely unpredictable and can be dangerous. There is no cure, but treatments such as medication and scheduled naps can reduce some of its effects. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not recognize narcolepsy as a medical condition that automatically qualifies you for disability benefits.

What happens if narcolepsy goes untreated?

When left untreated, narcolepsy can be socially disabling and isolating. It often leads to the onset of depression. Type 2 diabetes mellitus may occur more often in people with narcolepsy. Making lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms.

What does a sleep attack feel like?

When a sleep attack hits, you have an overwhelming feeling of sleepiness that comes on quickly. You may be asleep for a few minutes to a half hour. When you wake up, you may feel refreshed but have another attack again later.

Why do I fall asleep instantly?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your ability to wake and sleep. People with narcolepsy have excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. They may also suddenly fall asleep at any time, during any type of activity.

Does narcolepsy lead to dementia?

This terrible disease is characterized by narcolepsy evolving into neuropsychiatric problems and dementia.

What does a cataplexy attack feel like?

Cataplexy is sudden muscle weakness triggered by strong emotions like embarrassment, laughter, surprise, or anger. Cataplexy can cause your head to drop, your face to droop, your jaw to weaken, or your knees to give way. Attacks can also affect your whole body and cause you to fall down.

What disease makes you lose control of your body?

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a hereditary and deadly disorder that causes nerve cells in the brain tobreak down. This causes physical and mental abilities to weaken, and they get worse over time.

How does narcolepsy affect the brain?

Narcolepsy type 1 is a disorder marked by the loss of neurons in the brain that are responsible for making hypocretin, also known as orexin, a chemical that helps regulate wakefulness and sleep. People with NT1 have a loss of 90% or more of the normal number of hypocretin-making neurons12.

Can you legally drive if you have narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy – People with narcolepsy are not able to drive until they are stable on treatment and also need to have cataplexy controlled. The criteria for commercial drivers are more stringent, and generally people with any cataplexy are not fit hold a commercial or heavy vehicle licence.

Can you work if you have cataplexy?

Cataplexy can cause falls or short periods of inattention that lead to mistakes and accidents. However, with the right adjustments, most people with narcolepsy can work.

Is narcolepsy considered a rare disease?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the natural cycles of sleeping and waking. It is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day. This rare disease affects 2–5 out of every 10,000 people (1).

How do you test for narcolepsy?

One helpful self-assessment tool for recognizing sleepiness is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). You can measure your daytime sleepiness using a printed version of the ESS (PDF) or the online version of this screening tool.

What can narcolepsy be mistaken for?

Narcolepsy is often misdiagnosed as other conditions that can have similar symptoms, including:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Other psychologic/psychiatric disorders.
  • Insomnia.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.

What can bring on narcolepsy?

What causes narcolepsy

  • hormonal changes, which can occur during puberty or the menopause.
  • major psychological stress.
  • an infection, such as swine flu, or the medicine used to vaccinate against it (Pandemrix)

What are 4 types of parasomnia?

Six Types of Parasomnia

  • Sleepwalking. More commonly seen in children, sleepwalking (also called somnambulism) affects about 4 percent of American adults. …
  • REM sleep behavior disorder. …
  • Nightmares. …
  • Night terrors. …
  • Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder. …
  • Teeth grinding.

What is parasomnia?

Parasomnias are disruptive sleep-related disorders. Abnormal movements, talk, emotions and actions happen while you’re sleeping although your bed partner might think you’re awake. Examples include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, nightmare disorder, sleep-related eating disorder and sleep paralysis.

Is narcolepsy a type of seizure?

Similar Symptoms

Many of the symptoms of narcolepsy mimic epileptic seizures. Cataplexy, a common symptom of narcolepsy, can cause individuals to collapse after laughing or feeling a strong emotion.


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