Biggest Impact of Narcolepsy
Scott shares why he believes narcolepsy changed the way his friends and family saw him and how the disorder set the course for his life today.
People living with narcolepsy must often allocate considerable attentional and cognitive resources to maintain alertness, which may impact neurocognitive functioning, such as the ability to concentrate, read, or remember important details.1,2 Studies have shown that about 40% of people living with narcolepsy report difficulty with concentration, and 40-50% report problems with memory.3
People living with narcolepsy can feel isolated, rejected, depressed, and anxious.1,2,4,5 Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are also reported more frequently and at a greater severity in people living with narcolepsy compared to the general population.6 Many people living with narcolepsy suffer from anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, or agoraphobia.7-9 It is thought that these disorders could evolve as a result of the debilitating nature of narcolepsy, but evidence suggests narcolepsy may share a pathophysiologic link with psychiatric disorders.10,11
People living with narcolepsy may unconsciously avoid or suppress emotions that might trigger their cataplexy. Individuals may gravitate away from or consciously avoid certain activities to prevent cataplexy attacks.9,12,13
Sean, living with narcolepsy
I didn’t look forward to my birthday because the attention and focus on me would make me have cataplexy.
Know Narcolepsy Assessment Tool
Use this tool to help your patients assess how narcolepsy may be interfering with their lives. Encourage them to share their results at their next appointment.
- Thorpy M, Morse AM. Reducing the clinical and socioeconomic burden of narcolepsy by earlier diagnosis and effective treatment. Sleep Med Clin. 2017;12(1):61-71.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. International Classification of Sleep Disorders. 3rd ed. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014.
- Bellebaum C, Daum I. Memory and cognition in narcolepsy. In: Goswami M, Thorpy MJ, Pandi-Perumal SR, eds. Narcolepsy. Springer; 2016:233-243.
- Maski K, Steinhart E, Williams D, et al. Listening to the patient voice in narcolepsy: diagnostic delay, disease burden, and treatment efficacy. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(3):419-425.
- Kapella MC, Berger BE, Vern BA, Vispute S, Prasad B, Carley DW. Health-related stigma as a determinant of functioning in young adults with narcolepsy. PLoS One. 2015;10(4):1-12.
- Filardi M, Pizza F, Tonetti L, Antelmi E, Natale V, Plazzi G. Attention impairments and ADHD symptoms in adult narcoleptic patients with and without hypocretin deficiency. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):1-12.
- Black J, Reaven NL, Funk SE, et al. Medical comorbidity in narcolepsy: findings from the Burden of Narcolepsy Disease (BOND) study. Sleep Med. 2017;33:13-18.
- Ohayon MM. Narcolepsy is complicated by high medical and psychiatric comorbidities: a comparison with the general population. Sleep Med. 2013;14(6):488-492.
- Overeem S, Reading P, Bassetti C. Narcolepsy. Sleep Med Clin. 2012;7:263-281.
- Barateau L, Lopez R, Franchi JA, Dauvilliers Y. Hypersomnolence, hypersomnia, and mood disorders. Curr Psych Rep. 2017;19(2):13.
- Morse AM, Sanjeev K. Narcolepsy and psychiatric disorders: comorbidities or shared pathophysiology? Med Sci. 2018;6(1):16.
- Daniels E, King MA, Smith IE, Shneerson JM. Health-related quality of life in narcolepsy. J Sleep Res. 2001;10(1):75-81.
- Ahmed I, Thorpy M. Clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy. Clin Chest Med. 2010;31(2):371-381.