Narcolepsy: Non- Rem Sleep

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Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Narcolepsy in the only known neurological disorder that affects the brain in such a dramatic way where symptoms can include; sleep paralysis (cataplexy) and hallucinations. According to Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA symptoms such as cataplexy can be brought on by "laughter, embarrassment, social interactions with strangers, sudden anger, athletic exertion or sexual intercourse may trigger an episode." (Siegel, 2000) There is no cure for narcolepsy and is often misdiagnosed for depression, epilepsy, and fainting and sleep deprivation. Many people when they think of narcolepsy tend to laugh at its symptoms and find it to be a very strange but an entertaining sleep disorder. There are even some famous people who have narcolepsy; Harold Ickes (Bill Clinton's deputy White House Chief of staff), Nicole Jeray (professional golfer), Natsassja Kinski (actress) and one other famous person who did not waste anytime letting the disorder hinder her from freeing thousands of slaves back in the 1800's; the late Harriet Tubman (abolitionist). There are also several breeds of animals that suffer from narcolepsy. The videos of dogs that are narcoleptic are all over the internet entertaining people who find it "cute and funny". Dogs however, have been part of many research projects that have aided in the understanding of the disorder. Contrary to the connotations made about narcolepsy, it disrupts the lives of people who have it. Narcoleptics have problems in school, holding down a job and not surprisingly they are accident prone, with about 10 times the rate of car accidents as the general population. Getting some insight in this perplexing sleep disorder can help us understand Narcolepsy and its symptoms and reveal to us that it is not that uncommon as we think it is.

Reason for the Selection of Narcolepsy I chose this topic for many reasons, one of the reasons is because you rarely hear people talk about it and it is a very mystifying subject. The sleep disorder that I am familiar with is insomnia and I have suffered from insomnia off and on in my life and know many people who do have insomnia. Narcolepsy to me is a disorder that I wanted to research on because I have known little about the subject and find it fascinating. I had worked with a man who throughout the day he would fall asleep. This is normal I would assume for those who possibly did not sleep enough or have problems sleeping but I have never known someone to sleep standing up or would fall asleep in the middle of doing a task at work. I can only imagine he suffered from Narcolepsy and because of the stigma that is attached to this disorder; I don't think he was the type of person to let anyone know he had this disorder. I have to be honest and say that I am one of the many that had also found it funny and entertaining when seeing videos on the internet or hear about someone's having it and the situations they would get into. Now after researching the subject I feel I have much more empathy for people who suffer with this disorder.

1st Article- Narcolepsy by Jerome Siegel This article was authored by a professor of psychiatry and a member of the Brain Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. In the article Mr. Siegel identifies the symptoms and how through many research studies within the past several years, researchers are beginning to unveil many of the mysteries surrounding the disorder of narcolepsy. Within citing many research projects that have gone on and including the research Mr. Siegel himself has spear-headed he has identified the specific regions of the brain that appear to be affected in one of the symptoms that...
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