Narcolepsy isn’t your run-of-the-mill sleeping disorder; in fact, it’s really rather rare. Whereas Insomnia and Sleep Apnea are quite common, Narcolepsy occurs in less than one percent of the population. It is estimated that around 50,000 citizens of the United States suffer from the disorder. Congruently, there may be as many as two and a half million Americans that are living with the signs and symptoms of the disorder and have no idea.
For many patients suffering from the disabling sleep disorder, they are often too embarrassed to talk about it. Television and cartoons have been known to poke fun at Narcoleptics; characters with Narcolepsy are often falling asleep in their food, or breaking things. A lack of narcolepsy awareness and management has given the sleeping disorder a poor connotation.
Narcolepsy and Awareness
Narcoleptics are tired almost all of the time, and sometimes very dangerously so. It is not uncommon for a narcoleptic patient to collapse suddenly into sleep in the middle of an activity. Patient’s who experience extreme symptoms like this, especially those with Cataplexy or Sleep Paralysis, know that sudden slips into the REM stage of sleep can be dangerous for you, and the people around you. Narcoleptics are completely unable to control when they fall asleep. In unfortunate cases, narcoleptics have been known to fall asleep while standing, eating, and even driving. It is also very common for Narcoleptics to experience hallucinations; the hallucinations associated with Narcolepsy cases are often extremely vivid, and many times frighteningly overwhelming.
Living with Narcolepsy can be frustrating. To protect your safety during activities that last a significant amount of time, like driving or operating any other dangerous machinery, try to nap before the activity. During long car rides, stop often and move around. If you are unable to nap before a demanding activity, or don’t have the option to be too physically active, try to keep people around that will engage in conversation with you.
It is important to try and stay alert and stimulated as much as possible, especially at work. Try and find a job with a flexible schedule; you will be more likely to be granted to the opportunity to nap when need be. If you’re suffering from Narcolepsy, or any other medical problem that causes you to struggle with excessive levels of daytime sleepiness, don’t get a job where you drive a lot. In addition, finding a workplace with a short commute will help decrease your risk of getting in an automobile accident on your way to and from work everyday. Take the bus to work if your neighborhood accommodates the action.
Narcolepsy Awareness Patient Education
Patients who suffer from Narcolepsy, and have yet to be diagnosed with the sleeping disorder, are at a much higher risk for developing serious complications because of the ailment. On the other hand, there’s only so much protection a diagnosis can offer you. When you have Narcolepsy, you fall asleep when you feel the need to fall asleep; you can’t stop it. The best way to protect yourself and the people closest to you from the dangers of your Narcolepsy case is to be well-educated on the disorder, its symptoms, its risks, its treatments, and all of the options associated with the sleeping disorder.
Narcolepsy Support Awareness
If you know someone close to you who suffers from the potentially dangerous disorder, make sure that you are there to lend the help and support needed by you narcoleptic friend. Knowing what to expect and how to react during a narcoleptic episode will help make you feel safer, and help keep your falling friend safer.
Narcolepsy can be really stressful to handle, and some people are not comfortable with the fact that they have the disorder. Letting narcoleptic patients know that they can be comfortable with their disorder, and that friends and family are there to help is the best way to ensure a level of comfort in the daily lives of Narcoleptic patients. Too many patients who suffer from the disorder are too afraid to seek help, or talk about their problems because they fear being poorly judged. There is a common fear among narcoleptic patients that they will be viewed as lazy, undisciplined, or lacking in intelligence. Showing your support for Narcolepsy and its victims will help encourage sufferers to seek the treatment needed to manage their symptoms and complications.
National Narcolepsy Awareness Week
During the last month of every year, the American Sleep Association sponsors a week-long campaign for promoting the awareness of Narcolepsy, the week has been dubbed Narcolepsy Awareness week. The American Sleep Association and their respected affiliates have dedicated the week spanning December 1-7 to promoting national awareness of one of the most disregarded sleep disorders, Narcolepsy. The goals of the week are to educate the general population on the on the signs, symptoms, facts, risks, complications, diagnostic options, and treatment options for Narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy, Awareness, Management, and Support Groups
Modern American society is social, to say the least. This is an outstanding truth for people suffering from rare disorders like Narcolepsy. The medical community is home to thousands of different support groups for people suffering from an array of illnesses and diseases. Patients who feel isolated in their disorder are able to find other people suffering from the same problems.
In addition to helping heal the emotional damages caused by Narcolepsy, support groups give narcoleptic patients an opportunity to communicate and network with people that may be able to provide help and assistance in other ways. Patients are able to speak with other patients and review treatment methods, doctors, and even lifestyle tips for coping with Narcolepsy.
Most doctors, especially sleep specialists will be able to point you in the direction of a reliable support group. Your doctor is a very valuable resource, and will also be able to help you find ways to help manage the signs, symptoms, and risks of your Narcolepsy case. More often than not, if a medical professional feels to unequipped or ignorant in a specific field, like sleep study, they will more than happy to refer to a qualified professional that is able to meet your needs.
If you are having trouble finding a Narcolepsy support group that meets your needs, don’t forget to check online. The internet is a useful resource for support, communication, and gathering information.