Narcolepsy symptoms are usually differentiated according to four different main symptoms. These four central narcolepsy symptoms are also named as a symptom complex or a narcololeic tetrad. These four symptoms of sleeping sickness are sleep, cataplexy, abnormal sleep patterns and sleep paralysis.
Narcolepsy Symptom # 1: Compulsive sleep
The sleeping sickness (in the vernacular also referred to as slumber compulsion) expresses itself initially only by an all-day existing, increased drowsiness. In addition, the imperative sleep attacks can come.
The fatigue increases and concentration weaknesses occur if the narcolepsy patient forces himself to stay awake. Sleep attacks or irresistible tiredness usually occur in situations in which even healthy people become sleepy, such as passengers, in dim light (even at public events such as in the cinema or theater), reading and watching TV, at lectures or monotonous work,
In addition, narcoleptics also suddenly fall asleep inadvertently when other people are wide awake, for example while they are talking, for example through excitement.
Narcolepsy Symptom # 2: Cataplexy
In addition to daytime sleepiness, some of the narcolepsy patients experience more or less frequent sudden and brief loss of muscle control, known as cataplexy.
In light cataplexies only the facial muscles can relax, severe seizures cause the entire body to collapse, which usually has a dramatic effect on outsiders. For example, cataplexes can be triggered by strong emotions such as laughter (in this context, the so-called laughing stroke), fear, anger or surprise. For example, knees can soften when someone tells a good joke.
The narcolepsy patient is fully conscious during a cataplexy, but may not open the eyelids. His senses are completely normal, and sufferers, unlike epileptics, still have control over their excretory functions. A cataplexy can last up to half an hour and be prolonged by the connection with emotional states, for example, if the person is annoyed that he can not stop the cataplexy.
Also memories of emotions can trigger cataplexies. Cataplexy is considered a safe symptom of narcolepsy, which greatly facilitates diagnosis and eliminates other sleep disorders.
Narcolepsy Symptom # 3: Abnormal sleep pattern
The abnormal sleep pattern can alternate in about a four-hour cycle of sleep and wakefulness. This rhythm continues even at night, which is why people with narcolepsy suffer from sometimes prolonged night-wake periods. Although healthy people wake up at night, they generally fall asleep again. If the night-wake phases of a narcolepsy are short, his sleep is still extremely shallow.
Any external influences, such as light, noise, or movement (such as when the partner turns in the same bed) make the narcolepsy patient wake up. In addition, the dream phases are disturbed; Those affected remember their dreams more easily through their light sleep and are increasingly prone to nightmares (sometimes continued in the next phase of sleep). The light sleep during narcolepsy is not restorative and increases the need for sleep and the lack of concentration during the day.
Narcolepsy Symptom # 4: Sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis, like catalepsy, is a condition in which the person loses control of his or her muscles. Sleep paralysis occurs in the transition phases when falling asleep or waking up, some describe sleep paralysis as a state between waking and dreaming. Unlike cataplexy, sleep paralysis is not related to emotions. Another difference is that outsiders can release the impotent by touch from the rigidity.
In contrast to the narcolepsy symptoms described above, sleep paralysis is not perceived by all patients as being uniformly negative. Some narcoleptics describe the condition as pleasant or can take care of better unsolved problems. Sleep paralysis becomes particularly uncomfortable when it occurs in an uncomfortable posture. However, it can be extremely stressful if sleep-related hallucinations occur at the same time.
These are often perceived as the most mentally distressing symptoms of narcolepsy because the person has symptoms that are completely real to him. Even after getting up, narcoleptics may remain convinced that a burglar was standing by her bed or raping her.