Narcolepsy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

If you or a loved one suffers from co-occurring narcolepsy and addiction, call The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab to find the right treatment for you. Many medications that treat narcolepsy or its symptoms are more likely to interact with other drugs. High blood pressure (hypertension) and irregular heart rhythms are just two possible complications with stimulant medications pharmacologic management of alcohol dependence of any kind. Sodium oxybate in particular is dangerous if combined with other drugs that dampen how your central nervous system works, and you should never mix it with alcohol. Because of that, healthcare providers might first test for more severe conditions like seizures and epilepsy, which means narcolepsy may take longer for providers to pinpoint and diagnose.

Moderate alcohol use is usually defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The abuse of alcohol is underlined by an unhealthy consumption of alcohol that is driven by both genetic and environmental factors, which sometimes results in alcohol addiction. Patients who meet the formal diagnostic criteria for narcolepsy and either alcohol use disorder or addiction would need to treat both disorders simultaneously. An example of why this might happen is having cataplexy as a symptom. Cataplexy is similar to several other motor (movement-related) symptoms of brain conditions, such as atonic seizures (also known as drop attacks). A sleep study can help diagnose narcolepsy because people who have this condition go into the REM stage sleep unusually fast compared to people who don’t.

However, this estimate may be low, as people with narcolepsy are often misdiagnosed with other sleep or mental health disorders. Another key reason why a sleep study is necessary is that excessive daytime sleepiness is also a main symptom of sleep apnea. Certain medications may be less effective due to interactions with alcohol. Glucocorticoids are often used for managing chronic lung conditions, while antibiotics are used to treat bacterial lung infections. You may not experience the therapeutic effects of these medications when you drink alcohol within a few days of your medication dose. According to a case report published in the Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, chronic heavy alcohol use can cause a lot of damage to the central nervous system and can also cause narcolepsy.

  1. Additionally, people who suffer from narcolepsy may use other substances in an attempt to fix their issues with sleep.
  2. The patient was a 39-year-old married male of Han ethnicity who worked as a daytime truck driver.
  3. Safety precautions, particularly when driving, are important for everyone with narcolepsy.
  4. Available research shows that it affects 25 to 50 people out of every 100,000 worldwide.
  5. MyNarcolepsyTeam is the social network for people with narcolepsy and their loved ones.
  6. It’s also a condition that can seriously disrupt your life, routine and activities.

Hypocretin levels are usually normal in people who have narcolepsy without cataplexy. If you choose to drink alcohol, the United States Department of Agriculture suggests drinking in moderation — up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Drinking less is better for your overall health and may help you avoid alcohol-induced sleeping problems and exacerbation of narcolepsy symptoms. If you are or a loved one is in need of help or assistance in treatment, The Recovery Village can help. Individuals who struggle with symptoms of narcolepsy and alcohol addiction can receive help from our experienced medical team.

Narcolepsy Awareness: How To Get Involved

Although alcohol is a depressant that slows down the systems of the body, it can actually have a negative effect on sleep cycles. Alcohol can cause the body and mind to feel wired, which prevents people from getting the deep, supporting families through addiction with treatment without walls REM sleep they need to feel rested. People who suffer from narcoleptic symptoms may suddenly fall asleep when they are working, driving, or eating. Narcolepsy can have a negative impact on a person’s work and social life.

Type 2 mainly involves excessive daytime sleepiness, but there is usually no sudden weakness. In severe cases, it can negatively impact social activities, school, work, and overall health design for recovery and well-being. A person with narcolepsy may fall asleep at any time, such as while talking or driving. In narcolepsy, you may suddenly enter REM sleep without going through NREM sleep.

Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety occur more frequently in people with narcolepsy. Other investigators are using animal models to better understand hypocretin and other chemicals such as glutamate that may play a key role in regulating sleep and wakefulness. Researchers are also investigating wake-promoting compounds to widen the range of available therapeutic options and create treatment options that reduce undesired side effects and decrease the potential for abuse.

That means you can usually manage this condition and limit how it affects your life. Because of this, children with narcolepsy often have legal protections, and the law requires schools to provide suitable accommodations. Some examples include adjusting class schedules, having time built in time for naps or rest periods and taking medications while at school.

Narcolepsy and Alcohol: How Drinking Affects Your Sleep Disorder

If you or someone you love is suffering from substance use and disturbed sleep, consider seeking help at an inpatient rehab center. Vertava Health offer specialized treatment for alcohol addiction and health conditions such as narcolepsy. At our alcoholism rehab centers, patients are assessed by compassionate treatment teams and provided with customized therapies to meet their unique needs.

Narcolepsy Treatment

Most importantly, we did not observe any significant differences among demographic, clinical, depressive symptoms, neurophysiological data, and drug status between addict and non-addict NT1 patients. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Your health care provider may suspect narcolepsy based on your symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle tone, known as cataplexy. Formal diagnosis requires staying overnight at a sleep center for an in-depth sleep analysis.

Changes in REM Sleep

Substance abuse hinders treatment and may cause worsened symptoms of sleep disorder. Alcohol does not independently cause lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, chronic alcohol exposure can be harmful to your lungs, worsening your condition and compounding the respiratory damage done by toxins like cigarette smoke. While this is not the most common health complication of drinking, alcohol consumption—even moderate amounts—can impair your breathing abilities, especially if you have lung disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that alcohol consumption is responsible for some 140,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Additional long term effects of narcolepsy are fragmented sleep and insomnia as well as automatic behaviors.

It works by affecting chemicals in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. Solriamfetol has not been directly compared to other stimulants in studies but appears to have a comparable effect. Headache, loss of appetite, nausea, and insomnia are among the most likely side effects. Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but it takes on added importance for people with narcolepsy because they have an elevated risk of obesity.

Someone who experiences narcolepsy and trouble sleeping at night may use alcohol as a sleep aid. Alcohol consumption may contribute to extreme fatigue and a condition called alcohol-induced narcolepsy, although it is unlikely to cause narcolepsy itself. Rather, alcohol use and narcolepsy both can inhibit deep sleep and produce similar daytime symptoms resulting from poor-quality sleep at night. While alcohol may induce a sleepy sensation in people who have consumed a few drinks, sleep quality tends to decrease after ingesting alcohol. Someone who drinks a glass or two of wine may feel drowsy after drinking.

Smoking, Alcohol, Drug Use, Abuse and Dependence in Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia: A Case-Control Study

The case study indicated that chronic alcohol use can inhibit a person’s central nervous system which can result in narcolepsy. While alcohol has not been confirmed as a direct cause of narcolepsy, heavy drinking can lead to symptoms of this condition. For those who already struggle with narcolepsy, alcohol can worsen symptoms like fatigue, frequent sleep interruptions, and sleep paralysis. Alcohol may cause people to wake up repeatedly during the night, which can prevent a person from reaching the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep. REM sleep occurs about 60 to 90 minutes into a normal sleep cycle and is responsible for providing the body with adequate rest. Additional medications used to treat narcolepsy include solriamfetol (Sunosi) and pitolisant (Wakix).

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