Sleep Disorders Community
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Narcolepsy/excessive sleepiness/sleep apnea

For the past 30 years (I'm 53), my doctor had been treating me for "excessive daytime sleepiness" that was so bad that it was ruining my life; after a 2 night sleep/daytime nap study at a major university, the results were still "disorder or excessive sleepiness" or "similar to sleep-attack narcolepsy, but not REM-onset".  No drug other than the stimulant ritalin helped, so I took that for almost 30 years and all was well.  I gradually became about 100 lbs overweight and didn't want to get another sleep study for apnea until my neurology doc gently insisted (she's a saint)..And of course I had sleep apnea and got a cpap... I lost well over 120 lbs, am at my ideal body weight and stopped the ritalin on my own since the "sleep attacks" pretty much stopped...that was 1 year ago and I now have all of the classic adult ADHD symptoms and it's really bad.  I'm pretty sure that I had this ADHD thing all along and that the ritalin was controlling the ADHD symptoms as well as the former sleep problem.  Is this possible?  I tried all of the new adult ADHD meds (like modafinil) and they didn't help at all, but the ritalin did 100%.  I'm afraid to go to a doctor ith this mess of a story; it seems like I'm nuts.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Maybe your sleep apnea has been longstanding and many of your symptoms came from it. Do you have a data capable machine that can confirm your cpap treatment is effective? (If not, you can ask your doc to order your a 2 week trial on one.) If your sleep apnea is much improved but not completely therapeutic, it could cause you to feel disjointed in your thinking. If it were me, I'd first confirm my treatment is working, and if it is, tell the doctor what you said to us and let them do their job and figure it all out. You're not nuts. If so, a whole lot of "us" are".
Avatar universal
Hi zulushooter, how are you doing? Relax! You have not done a blunder, although you were not supposed to stop the Ritalin abruptly on your own. Were you medically diagnosed with ADHD and been on treatment? How is your sleep cycle now? Are you comfortable with the CPAP use? I would suggest you to go back to your doctor and get yourself re-checked with proper drug history. A repeat sleep test might be thought of and discuss the option of Ritalin. Focus on your stress to overcome it and try yoga. I am sure you will do better. Take care and keep updating on the progress.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comments; yes, I was not supposed to stop the ritalin on my own; I had to change jobs and was afraid of the negative consequences of being on this drug so I stopped it....this may have been a big mistake as I am a basket case now as far as memory and cognition.............It's going to be hard to figuer out what came first, the ADHD or the apnea...................
Avatar universal
Hi zulushooter, hope you are feeling better? Thanks for the reply. Have you met your doctor and discussed the drug review and re-instatement of the Ritalin. Do not worry or hesitate to speak to your doctor, he needs to know the fact. Have you got adjusted to the CPAP? Are you able to get good sleep? Be relaxed and follow the healthy sleep habits. Keep posted on the doctor visit. Take care.
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