Narcolepsy FAQs

What is narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder of no known cause or cure. Narcolepsy can affect all areas of a person’s life including relationships with family and friends, education and employment, driving and public outings.

What are some of its symptoms?

  • Periodic and uncontrollable need to sleep that can occur at any time of day.
  • Poor nighttime sleep, with frequent awakening.
  • Cataplexy – a temporary loss of muscle control that can last from a second to many minutes.
  • Terrifying, dream-like hallucinations that typically occur upon waking or falling asleep.

Can narcolepsy be treated?
Yes.  While narcolepsy can have devastating effects on school, relationships and work, most people can, if diagnosed, manage the disorder with treatment and lifestyle changes.

How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
Narcolepsy often remains undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, for years at a time.  The average length of time that elapses between onset of symptoms and diagnosis is more than seven years!

Can anyone get narcolepsy?
Yes.  Onset typically occurs during adolescence, but can occur at any age.

What should I do if I think I, or someone I know, might have narcolepsy?
To find out if you or a loved one has narcolepsy, consult a physician who is board certified in Sleep Disorders or Neurology, if possible, and obtain a sleep study.

To learn more about narcolepsy, visit Narcolepsy Network’s website.