Health & Fitness

What is the main difference between narcolepsy and hypersomnia?

Is narcolepsy a type of hypersomnia?

Narcolepsy and hypersomnia are sometimes confused as the same disorder since they both entail extreme sleepiness. These words, however, are incredibly dissimilar. Simply put, hypersomnia represents one of the symptoms of narcolepsy, which is a condition.

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Narcolepsy and hypersomnia naturally have quite distinct causes and treatments. Modafinil is a common treatment drug for narcolepsy. To better grasp the conditions and their treatments before you can order Modafinil online, let us first discuss them in detail in this blog.

Hypersomnia 

The words Hyper and Somnus are the origin of the phrase hypersomnia. While somnus denotes sleep, the prefix “hyper-” is typically used to suggest excessiveness. The term “hypersomnia” refers to an excessive amount of sleep. Uncontrollable drowsiness is a defining feature of the syndrome. Insomnia is not a medical condition.

It is a sign of several sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and RLS. These underlying conditions contribute to hypersomnia or excessive sleep. In these situations, a person’s regular sleep cycle is interfered with. This might manifest as restless sleep, difficulty falling asleep, or poor sleep quality.

Overall, this results in sleep deprivation, which promotes hypersomnia, or uncontrolled sleeping throughout the day or at work. 

Additionally, there is a chance that hypersomnia has no known underlying illness. A prolonged lack of sleep or the negative effects of some medications can also produce temporary hypersomnia. These also lead to uncontrollable daytime sleepiness or lethargy during the day, much like sleep loss brought on by sleep disorders.

In some circumstances, hypersomnia and weariness are related. Regardless of whether a person is able to avoid feeling sleepy, it still results in an inability to concentrate and do everyday tasks.

Treatment 

The therapy of hypersomnia mostly depends on the cause of hypersomnia because it is not a sickness but rather a manifestation or condition brought on by diseases or other causes. There are generally three major methods for treating hypersomnia:

 

  1. Underlying conditions including narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome might contribute to hypersomnia. In the event that a person with hypersomnic symptoms is determined to have a sleep disorder, addressing the underlying ailment is the mainstay of treatment.

    Most of the time, hypersomnia symptoms disappear as sleep disorder therapy starts. It may not always be necessary for the treatment to restrict excessive sleep, but rather to promote restful sleep. For instance, individuals with obstructive sleep apnea are given breathing equipment to assist them to prevent sleep disruptions, which lowers their hypersomnia symptoms.

  2. A person who is exhausted or sleep-deprived may have acute hypersomnia. Usually, if the person gets enough sleep, this can be readily rectified. If this is a recurring issue or if the individual consistently has inadequate sleep, lifestyle adjustments such as a healthy diet, sleeping on time, meditating, and exercising are suggested to stop hypersomnia throughout work hours.

  3. Hypersomnia may be immediately treated with medicine that stimulates the CNS because it is just an excessive sleeping disorder. Older medications like Adderall or Ritalin stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) to produce too much dopamine, which causes alertness and hyperactivity. These medicines do, however, have significant addiction and dependence concerns.

    The mild DRIs known as eugeroics are a more recent class of CNS stimulants that increase dopamine levels without the dangers of addiction or dependence. The most well-known eugeroic that is very effective in fostering alertness and attention is modafinil. Currently, it is often used both off-label and as a prescription medicine to lessen excessive sleep.

 

Narcolepsy

A type of neurological condition called narcolepsy disrupts the body’s capacity to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. The daytime sleepiness of narcoleptics is extreme and uncontrollable. Additionally, individuals could suddenly nod off in the middle of discussions or other regular activities.

Narcolepsy comes in type I and type II varieties. While type II narcolepsy just involves excessive sleepiness, type I narcolepsy also includes cataplexy, an abrupt loss of muscular control.

Despite the fact that cataplexy is a symptom of narcolepsy, muscle tissue control is unaffected by this illness. The ability to regulate one’s sleep-wake cycle is completely lost or diminished in narcolepsy. 

The common symptoms of narcolepsy may include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Cataplexy
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Disrupted sleep

 

Narcolepsy is thought to have a hereditary cause. Researchers are still unsure of the exact pathophysiology of narcolepsy. According to the available data, it is seen as a neurological condition linked to a loss of control over the sleep-wake cycle.

The sleep cycle is a component of the body’s typical circadian rhythm, as was previously stated. The hypothalamus, a structure located in the forebrain, has absolute control over circadian rhythm. The hypothalamus controls the whole system through the cyclical release of various hormones and neurotransmitters.

For instance, the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine act in opposition to one another to promote sleep and alertness, respectively.

The hormone melatonin has a significant influence on the sleep-wake cycle as well. In investigations involving narcolepsy, however, abnormalities in the routes of these compounds were not discovered. It was discovered that a different hormone called hypocretin is what causes narcolepsy. We still don’t know the precise molecular process by which hypocretin causes narcolepsy. 

 

Treatment

Although there is no known treatment for narcolepsy, you can control the symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes.

  1. The use of stimulant drugs, which stimulate the central nervous system, is the primary method of therapy for narcolepsy. Modafinil or armodafinil are routinely used by physicians to begin treating narcolepsy patients. Modafinil and armodafinil are far less dangerous than previous stimulants, and they don’t produce the highs and lows that are usually related to them.

    Despite comprising stimulants, modafinil and armodafinil are mild-DRIs that have no negative effects on how your brain normally functions. The medications in this class, known as eugeroics, are those that increase bodily awareness. Anxiety, nausea, and headaches are a few possible modafinil side effects, notwithstanding their rarity.

    For the treatment of certain individuals, methylphenidate as well as other amphetamines could be required. These medications work quite well, despite the possibility of addiction.

    However, they frequently have adverse side effects as well, including anxiety and palpitations.

  2. Doctors routinely use SSRIs to treat the symptoms and indications of cataplexy and hypnagogic encephalopathy. With the use of SSRIs, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and REM sleep are also inhibited. Some possible adverse effects include gaining weight, having trouble sleeping, and having stomach problems.

  3. Tricyclic antidepressants are an established class of antidepressants that are typically administered to treat cataplexy. These, however, have unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth and disorientation.

 

Inference

Simply put, hypersomnia is the state of extreme sleep that can result from a variety of underlying diseases, especially those that interfere with a person’s regular cycle of sleep and wakefulness.

Hypersomnia can also result from general exhaustion and sleep deprivation brought on by a hectic schedule, although it can be readily treated by getting enough rest. Naturally, the major treatment for hypersomnia focuses on providing excellent sleep and minimising daytime sleepiness.

A neurological condition called narcolepsy frequently shows up as hypersomnia. In contrast to hypersomnia, which just includes excessive sleeping, narcolepsy also causes hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and disturbed sleep in those who are affected. The primary and most efficient medications for narcolepsy are modafinil and armodafinil.

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