Excessive daytime sleepiness combined with bouts of suddenly falling asleep are the main characteristics of narcolepsy. This sleep disorder can have a profound effect on physical and mental health, as well as many socio-economic factors. People with untreated narcolepsy can have difficulty maintaining their quality of life. At Julie Zweig, MD Integrative Sleep & ENT, we offer advanced treatments for narcolepsy, utilizing an integrative medicine approach at our facility in Alpharetta, GA.
Causes and Symptoms of Narcolepsy
The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown. Most people with this sleep disorder begin having symptoms in their mid-teens or early twenties, but it can begin at any age. This is a neurological condition that occurs due to abnormal rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. While most people have periods of non-REM sleep first before going into the deeper REM sleep, people with narcolepsy immediately experience REM sleep symptoms when they fall asleep at night or during the day. Some of the symptoms of narcolepsy include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
- Suddenly falling into REM sleep
- Loss of muscle tone
- Inability to move or sudden loss of voluntary muscle control
- Intense dreaming
- Memory lapses
- Loss of concentration
- Mood fluctuations
People with narcolepsy can suddenly fall asleep at any moment. In severe cases, they may fall limp to the ground while standing, entering REM sleep immediately for up to several minutes. This can make it dangerous to operate machinery or vehicles, as well as participate in many activities.
Integrative Medicine for Narcolepsy
The integrative medicine approach to narcolepsy combines conventional or functional medical treatments with alternative and complementary therapies. Dr. Julie Zweig is a board certified sleep medicine specialist that has over 20 years of experience creating personalized sleep disorder treatment plans for her patients with narcolepsy. She often combines nutrition, exercise, medications and other therapies to obtain the best outcomes.
If you have symptoms of narcolepsy, it is vital to find the right treatment plan to manage your condition. Contact our team at Julie Zweig, MD Integrative Sleep & ENT to schedule a narcolepsy consultation with Dr. Zweig and begin your journey to wellness. Call our Alpharetta, GA, sleep center to book your appointment.