What is narcolepsy?

Updated: Sep 04, 2019
  • Author: Sagarika Nallu, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Narcolepsy is characterized by the classic tetrad of excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. However, this tetrad is seen only rarely in children.

Narcolepsy frequently is unrecognized, with a typical delay of 10 years between onset and diagnosis. Approximately 50% of adults with the disorder retrospectively report symptoms beginning in their teenage years. This disorder may lead to impairment of social and academic performance in otherwise intellectually normal children. The implications of the disease are often misunderstood by patients, parents, teachers, and health care professionals.

Narcolepsy is treatable. However, a multimodal approach is required for the most favorable outcome.


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