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897400 tn?1303329148

Episodic Paralysis Upon Waking

I am wondering if it is typical to have episodic periods of Waking Paralysis and Hallucinations with Narcolepsy. The emphasis is on episodic. My Dr. wants to do a sleep study, but I don't have insurance, so no deal. I don't have this happen all of the time. It happens out of the blue and sometimes happens for a few days, then goes away. I've gone years between episodes, but it is happening more often in the last couple of years. It's been happening since I was about 20. I'm 50 now. When I first started having these  episodes they were clustered closer together too.

Can Narcolepsy be episodic? What triggers it? Sometimes I'm under a lot of stress when I have these episodes, but other times I can't relate it to anything in particular. I am a vivid dreamer and I usually dream even if I only fall asleep for as little as 10 minutes. I'm not the type to fall asleep during the day ( as far as I know ), but I do sometimes zone out when I'm driving and feel like I missed something. I've also done some pretty crazy things around the house. Once I put an empty dish in the microwave because I thought I had put water in it to boil. I just missed that step completely and was shocked when I opened the microwave to find my dish melted. That's the scariest thing I've done ( that I recall ), but I've done other silly things like that. I often don't remember doing things. Like putting something in an odd place and not remembering doing it.

I had no idea what was going on 'till I confided in a friend about waking up and not being able to move or talk. It feels like someone is holding me down, sometimes it feels like someone is tapping on my body. I kept this a secret for years because I was afraid of what people would think of me if they knew.  It sounds crazy like something from a horror flick with demons. I was so relieved when I read about Narcolepsy! It seems to explain my issues, but I'm not sure it that's what is causing these things.

I'm wondering if a sleep study will even show anything if I'm not having an episode at the time it is done.

Anyone here know anything about this? For the time being, my Dr. has prescribed Adderal. But I hate stimulants, so I don't take them very often. It does seem to happen more often as I get older. I'm a little concerned about taking long trips by car alone now.
3 Responses
1355118 tn?1298564879
Hi, welcome to the forums, your symptoms are suggestive of rapid eye movement (REM) related parasomnias involve the intrusion of the features of REM sleep into wakefulness (eg, sleep paralysis). It is a type of sleep disorder.

Few of the individuals are known to suffer from parasomnias esp. when they are on non-benzodiazepine sedatives, drug abuse, sexual abuse etc. otherwise no definitive cause exists in few individuals apart from stress, positive past history of abuse etc.

The associated symptoms with the following disorder are confusional wakefulness, sleep paralysis, nightmares and night terrors. This can occur in any sleep stage (REM and non-REM stage) . Do not panic when you have the attack.

To rule out parasomnias you need to undergo Polysomnyography and sleep analysis. You need to take out time for further evaluation. sleep with light on. Short term benzodiazepine against prescription will help. I suggest you to consult her to a physician or sleep specialist. Take care and regards.

897400 tn?1303329148
Thank you for your reply. I had not checked my MedHelp acct. Since shortly after my last post.

Since that time I have been prescribed Xanax to take before bed, 0.5-1.0 mg.. I do not use this every night. I had not experienced the paralysis whenever I took Xanax before bed. However, last night, for the first time I can recall, I experienced the paralysis as I was falling asleep. I had taken appx. 0.5 mg of Xanax prior to retiring.

I felt my body start to get cool and tingle, and then while still somewhat awake,I was unable to move or speak. I could think, and was trying to call out, but it took some effort to wake myself up. You did advise not to be frightened, but this is a very distressing event to experience. This happened between 7-10 times during night. I was able to fall asleep a couple of times but woke after only a few minutes with an episode and then experienced the same while falling back to sleep.

I am a former victim of child sexual abuse, but do not recall this happening to me until I was 25 yrs. old. I have suffered some severe emotional trauma since that time and a couple of years ago, discontinued a 2-1/2 year dependence on 20-40 mg. of Hydrocodone to try and manage pain. I did not experience the sleep disturbances during the very protracted withdrawl. Ironically, now that my life has a measure of peace and stability I have experienced a worsening of symptoms.

Because of my economic situation, a sleep study is out of the question, unless a nearby university would allow mee to volunteer for such. I know of none. I have taken Ambien in the past, but do not wish to use it if it can be avoided. My ability to function during the day is being affected by disturbed sleep. Should a Polysomnyography confirm REM sleep abnormality, what would be a likely solution? More medication? Are there any practical steps to take that do not involve pharmaceuticals?

897400 tn?1303329148
As an addendum to my previous post:

I am 51 years old and menopausal. I stopped using hydrocodone daily in April of 2009 and did not use it at all for over 2 years. I occasionally use up to 5mg on occasion (usually less than once a week). I do not notice any more frequent or intense sleep disturbance with use of the hydrocodone. I have also used Ambien on occasion. I never experience episodes when Ambien is used, but it is a nasty medication I'd like to avoid.
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