Often asked: What is cataplexy?

What happens during cataplexy?

Cataplexy happens when your muscles suddenly go limp or significantly weaken without warning. You may experience cataplexy when you feel a strong emotion or emotional sensation. This can include crying, laughing, or feeling angry. You may find yourself falling over or losing control over your facial expressions.

What is the difference between narcolepsy and cataplexy?

Clinicians now recognize two major types of narcolepsy: narcolepsy with cataplexy (muscle weakness triggered by strong emotions) and narcolepsy without cataplexy. People who have narcolepsy without cataplexy have sleepiness but no emotionally triggered muscle weakness, and generally have less severe symptoms.

What is cataplexy attack?

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.

Can cataplexy go away?

A more severe episode may involve a total body collapse. 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.

Is cataplexy a disability?

These symptoms are dangerous not only to the individual, but also to those nearby. If you have narcolepsy with cataplexy and experience symptoms on a daily basis, you should apply for Social Security Disability (SSD).

How long can cataplexy 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.

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What is Type 2 narcolepsy?

Type 2 narcolepsy (previously termed narcolepsy without cataplexy). People with this condition experience excessive daytime sleepiness but usually do not have muscle weakness triggered by emotions. They usually also have less severe symptoms and have normal levels of the brain hormone hypocretin.

Is narcolepsy a mental illness?

Narcolepsy is one of the most commonly misunderstood health disorders. This neurological autoimmune disorder can affect people in varying ways and is often extremely difficult to diagnose.

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.

What causes catalepsy?

Causes of Catalepsy

Catalepsy is a symptom of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Withdrawal from some drugs, particularly cocaine, may also cause catalepsy.

Can cataplexy look like a seizure?

In many cases, cataplexy can also cause involuntary muscle twitching, which can be easily mistaken for the jerking motions common during epileptic seizures. Because these symptoms are so similar to those associated with epileptic seizures, some individuals with narcolepsy are misdiagnosed with epilepsy.

Does cataplexy worsen with age?

Cataplexy may improve as affected individuals grow older. Some people with narcolepsy do not have cataplexy, and cataplexy is not necessary for a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Cataplexy usually develops approximately several weeks to months after the development of excessive daytime sleepiness.

How is cataplexy treated?

Sodium oxybate (Xyrem®) is the only FDA-approved medication used to treat daytime sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. It is taken in liquid form before bedtime and 2.5 to 4 hours later and not during the daytime.

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What is parasomnia?

Parasomnia” is a catchall term for unusual behaviors1 that people experience prior to falling asleep, while asleep, or during the arousal period between sleep and wakefulness.

Does narcolepsy kill?

Narcolepsy doesn’t sound so bad; at least it doesn’t kill you.” The thing is, narcolepsy does kill. While it may not kill biologically, it slowly kills hope and optimism, and without those, are we really alive? Imagine waking up every morning and knowing that no matter what you do, you’ll never feel awake again.

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