What is the prognosis of narcolepsy?

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

With proper management and treatment, patients with narcolepsy usually lead meaningful and productive personal and professional lives. If left untreated, narcolepsy may be psychosocially devastating. [43] Narcoleptic children may suffer poor school performance, social impairment, ridicule from peers, and dysfunction in other activities of normal childhood development.

Affected adults often perceive narcoleptic symptoms as embarrassing, and social isolation may result. They may encounter interpersonal stress in relationships, sexual dysfunction, and difficulty working as a consequence of either the disease itself or its treatment.

Job impairment may result from sleep attacks, memory problems, cataplexy, interpersonal problems, and personality changes. These symptoms may lead coworkers to perceive narcoleptics as lazy, inattentive, and lacking motivation. In one study, 24% of narcoleptic patients had to quit working and 18% were terminated from their jobs because of their disease.

People with narcolepsy sometimes are falsely suspected of illegal drug use. Patients should inform employers concerning their stimulant medications because they may test positive for amphetamines on screening preemployment drug tests.


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