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Cataplexy-Can someone explain what is feels like?

I've researched narcolepsy and I am soon going to make an appointment with my doctor. I just wanted a first hand account of what cataplexy feels like.

During the day I enter these "trances," where for a period of time I literally cannot control falling asleep. I fall asleep instantly, and if I'm only sleeping for a minute I somehow start dreaming. When I wake from the dream (again usually after just a couple of minutes), I am slumped over and my body feels limp. If I try to move, I can, but usually upon waking the weak feeling just causes me to fall right back asleep.

The feeling I'm getting is best described as the same feeling as being on a rollercoaster-During a big drop where your body feels weightless. Does that sound like cataplexy?
2 Responses
905668 tn?1242350346
Cataplexy triggers strong emotions from anger to laughter.  Falling asleep while in the midddle of typing, been there done that.

Do the following:

Get a sleep test performed, to check for Sleep Apnea and to make certain that you are netering into REM and Deep Sleep properly.  Don't ecpext the Pulmanologist to say anything.  Get a copy of the test results and go through it yourself.  You should hit REM about 30% of the night that rests your brain, I can't remember the percentage, but you need a large amount of Deep Sleep to rest your body.
Get your B-12 tested to see if you might have Pernicious Anemea which is the inability to digest B-12.  No B-12 no energy.
Get Your Calium levels checked to look for Hypercalcemia.  To much calcium can mess your sleep up.  If you've suffered the agony of a kidney stone this is a must check.
Look up all of the medications you take and see if they can interfere with sleep
149081 tn?1242397832
During cataplexy we are completely aware of what is happening. Sometimes we feel it coming on sometimes we don't. It all depends on the severity of it. Emotions are what trigger cataplexy.

For myself it's either anger or extreme laughter. When I laugh uncontrolllably i slump to the floor and lay there until the weakness is gone, sometimes i just drop to my knees and wait a minute and am able to function again. For anger it's different - i get weak and know i better sit down or my legs will give out.I'm awake but look asleep.

Sometimes cataplexy can be as simple as  a jaw or head drop.

What you're describing sounds more like a microsleep. But again symptoms can be different for each person. Symptoms of sleep apnea can appear to be the same. It's important to have a sleep study done first to rule out apnea. If apnea is ruled out then an MLST is usually scheduled.

Narcoleptics go into REM sleep at the onset of sleep and remain there for alot of the night. Most of us never reach stage 3 & 4 depriving of us restful deep sleeep. Being in REM sleep to much during the night keeps our brains always working and never resting.
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