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Narcolepsy: Causes And Treatment Essay

1217 words - 5 pages

Abnormal Psychology

Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. This disorder causes a number of symptoms that will be discussed further in depth later on but they are, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), cataplexy, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Scientists and researchers believe that the cause of narcolepsy is a genetic mutation. This disorder can cause severe disruption to a person's daily life and routine and can be a cause of harm to the person with the disorder as well as those around him/her. There have been case studies and animal research and testing to further understand this disorder its cause and possible cures or medication. Which as of 2014 there is medication to help those with the disorder but there is no cure. To better understand this disorder we have to go more in depth on the topics I have touched on and more in depth on the disorder in general. We will be investigating all the above mentioned topics and more.
To figure out what causes narcolepsy scientists did experiments on animals. Specifically dogs and mice. These animals had narcolepsy and upon investigation there was a genetic mutation that was noticed throughout some of the animals that made them narcoleptic. The dogs that had the mutation also had a “deficiency in a receptor for hypocientiny the neurotransmitter that blocks communication between brain cells, particularly messages about when the body should be awake.” (R. Ballie magazine article) The scientists found that if they injected the dogs with hypocretin it could reverse narcolepsy. This is a good but does not mean that there is cure for the disorder because humans are much more complex than dogs and mice.
Along with the genetic mutations that cause this disorder it also takes environmental factors. These factors combined to create a chemical imbalance in the brain with can trigger this disorder. The main cause is a lack of hypocretin. Medicine can help bring the chemicals to a normal level and combat the symptoms of narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy usually starts around 15 to 25 years of age. Though it goes undiagnosed most of time. Possibly the person thinks the symptoms are not that bad, but you pose as a danger to yourself and to others if going undiagnosed and untreated. To be diagnosed you have to undergo testing which usually involves being monitored while sleeping and keeping track of when you sleep during the day and also how tired you are. Also your symptoms and severity of them. They take a test called a polysomnography with msct. or multiple sleep latency test.
There are many reasons why narcolepsy is a powerful and dangerous disorder. One reason and symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness. Obviously this means that a person is tired most of the time during the day. This can also lead to something called a sleeping attack. Sleeping attacks are when you are in the middle of a task or going through your day and you fall asleep. This...

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