Skip to main content

Narcolepsy Specialist

Texas Sleep Medicine

Sleep Medicine Specialist located in Austin, TX

People living with narcolepsy can seek diagnosis and treatment at Texas Sleep Medicine, located in Austin, Texas.

Narcolepsy Q & A

Is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is an uncommon neurological disorder that causes excessive sleepiness throughout the day. This lifelong condition can develop at any age. However, it is most common to appear in adolescence or young adulthood and due to the nature of the disorder it may remain unrecognized as the affected individual ages. It is estimated about one in every 2,000 people are affected with some form of the disorder. An individual with this condition may be overwhelmingly tired throughout the day and in the most severe cases have uncontrollable sleep attacks. Sleep attacks can last anywhere from a minute or in rare cases up to an hour. It’s important to understand that those who live with this condition do not sleep more than the average person but, due to the disorder, they can’t control their timing of sleep and may have difficulty sleeping during nighttime hours.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Narcolepsy?

The most common symptom associated with this condition is excessive sleepiness or falling asleep unexpectedly throughout the day. Some individuals affected with this sleep disorder may be unaware of other symptoms and therefore do not seek treatment. Other symptoms an affected individual may have can include:

  • Cataplexy - sudden attacks of muscle weakness associated with strong emotions
  • Hallucinations Just Before Falling Asleep - usually experienced as vivid dreams
  • Sleep Paralysis - inability to move upon waking up, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Disturbed Nighttime Sleep
  • Leg Jerks
  • Nightmares

What Are the Health Risks?

The condition is known to develop with age and can be associated with other health risks as it progresses. Having this sleep disorder can impact every aspect of an individual’s life, such as during everyday activities. Operating machinery and motor vehicles can be dangerous and life threatening as a sleep attack can occur at any moment.

How Is It Diagnosed?

To receive a diagnosis, you will want to schedule an appointment with a board certified sleep doctor where you will receive an initial evaluation. An overnight sleep study will be scheduled along with a daytime sleep study called a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). The MSLT consists of a series of naps spaced throughout the day. This is done to assess the degree of sleepiness and can confirm the diagnosis of narcolepsy and rule out any other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

What Is the Treatment for Narcolepsy?

Those affected may have many years of excessive sleepiness before seeking any treatment. Medication, good sleep hygiene, and changes in lifestyle are the primary treatment modalities for narcolepsy. Scheduling 20-30 minute naps at specific times throughout the day can help reduce the uncontrollable urge to sleep at undesirable times with fewer disruptions to a person’s daily schedule. Avoiding heavy meals, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine also help provide relief from this condition, as well as maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Accepted Insurance Providers

We accept plans from the following providers, please contact our office to determine whether your specific plan is accepted. This list may be subject to change.

Averde Health
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Galaxy Healthcare PPO
Interplan Health Group PPO