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Sleep Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

I have sleeping spells come over me, and although I don't pass out, I start looking and acting like a zombie...

Please  help guide me. I get the recommended amount of sleep at night, but invariably, during the day I get "sleep attacks," and all but HAVE to sleep. I suffer from depression, but that is being successfully treated with Cymbalta. I thought my sleep problems were directly associated with the depression, but they did not clear up when the depression did.  That being said, I can't, in all honesty, say exactly when the sleep problems began.

Basically, I'll suddenly become exhausted after about four hours of being up, regardless what activity I was doing.  I can fight it for about two hours, but my motor skills and thought processes get worse as time goes on, finally resulting in my reeling about like a person intoxicated.  My words become slurred, and I've passed out on several occasions because I tried to fight the sleep for too long.  

Please, help me out here. I only have very, very basic health insurance, and these symptoms are starting to rule my life! I'm only 23, and I sometimes feel I'm barely surviving. :-(
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi

You are most likely suffering from hypersomnia, an excessive sleep condition where a person sleeps for 10 or more hours each night (for at least two consecutive weeks) and still experiences feelings of tiredness during the day. It may present as excessive daytime sleepiness or nocturnal sleep of long duration (as much as 12 h or more) or sleep drunkenness. Patients do not get abnormal amounts of night sleep rather they have problems waking up in the morning and staying awake during the day.
The causes can be genetic, brain damage or medical disorders such as clinical depression, uremia and fibromyalgia. Sometimes hypersomnia may be other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Hypersomnia is sometimes misdiagnosed as narcolepsy where a person experiences a sudden onset of sleepiness.
You should consult a psychologist for a complete medical and psychological workup to rule out any other illnesses. He may then prescribe you some anti-depressants and advise psychotherapy to overcome your negative thinking patterns. Besides you should adopt other measures like avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, using some relaxation techniques and perhaps putting your thoughts on paper, so that you stress is relieved.
Do keep us posted about your progress. Take care

Avatar universal
Quantity of sleep does not always mean the sleep was of the quality to be restorative.  When my sleep disorders were not yet diagnosed or therapeutically treated, I had episodes that I would have described much as you have. Life's too short to spend it like a zombie if you don't have too. And your health and safety could be compromised by continuing in this state. A sleep study could tell you if something is wrong with your sleep. Without one, diagnosis and treatment will likely be a lengthy process of trial and error while life passes you by. Been there, done that - wish I could get the wasted years back. Hope your minimal insurance will cover one.
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