What is Narcolepsy Treatment?

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition that causes sleepiness during the day that is overwhelming, along with suddenly falling asleep. Those with narcolepsy have trouble staying awake for extended periods of time, and it often causes major disruptions in their lives. It is more than just having difficulty sleeping. There is no cure for narcolepsy, but medication and changes to lifestyle can be part of narcolepsy treatment. Those with narcolepsy need a large amount of support from friends and family as part of their narcolepsy treatment.

After an extensive examination, medical history, sleep records and history, a sleep study, and sleep latency tests, a doctor can make the determination that a person has narcolepsy.

The treatment is basically managing the symptoms. The lifestyle changes that help manage symptoms, including difficulty sleeping, avoiding alcohol, and nicotine. Those with narcolepsy should get plenty of exercise and take naps for about 20 minutes at strategic times during the day. They should follow a sleep schedule by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, even on the weekends. There are medications that can also help to control the symptoms. These medications include antidepressants and stimulants. If a doctor wants to try stimulants, they start with those that are the least addictive to see if they can help. Doctors may also want to try serotonin inhibitors to help with the symptoms. All of these medications have side effects, so a person must decide which is more problematic, the narcolepsy or the side effects of the medication that they are taking.