Narcolepsy

An overwhelming desire for sleep comes over a person during the sleep disorder known as narcolepsy-a person affected by this condition may suddenly fall asleep at any time and without warning. This condition interferes with all types of activity as the person falls asleep quite suddenly during the most unfortunate moments-for example, while talking with another person. All attempts to stay awake fails and this overwhelming desire for sleep is unstoppable, it comes at any time and affects the day to day activity of the person concerned. While these sleep periods rejuvenate the individual, they are unfortunate in timing even though they are mercifully short in duration and last several minutes at any given time-they come on as sudden and short attacks of sleepiness. The individual suffering from the condition can be wakened as in normal sleep and he or she looks as if they are sleeping normally.

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The condition is often mistaken for catalepsy, another disorder where muscle strength is suddenly lost in all or in some parts of the body due to a sudden emotional pike, such as feelings of anger, sudden attacks of fear or even euphoria-these conditions are not similar. As narcolepsy makes the person sleep, while an individual affected by catalepsy remains conscious even though the entire body is paralyzed and this wakefulness is there even if the person collapses on the floor-during narcolepsy all consciousness is lost. Catalepsy may suddenly affect a person anywhere and without warning similar to narcolepsy, thus it can strike at night when the person is in bed where the person is unable to move even though he or she is widely awake.

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Similar to other types of nervous system disorders the condition known as narcolepsy is very likely to have a neurological cause and can be considered to be a neurological disorder somehow affects the sleep-wake center within the human brain. Narcolepsy is still a mysterious condition as the underlying causes for the condition remain unknown and research is still to shed much light on the condition, however, the number of individuals affected in both sexes is roughly equal and it does not seem to affect any particular demographic group-in addition the condition can be diagnosed in the individual at a fairly early stage and appears in the early years itself. Individuals affected by all types of head injuries, those suffering from a very high fever, those affected by severe dehydration or even the development of an infection that directly affects the brain can all lead to overwhelming sleepiness similar to narcolepsy. Emergency medical treatment must be availed at once if the individual is suspected of suffering from any of these conditions. Extreme sleepiness can also affect a person who has suffered from an overdose of certain over the counter medications. Additionally the presence of a chronic fatigue syndrome or the presence of other disorders such as anemia, mental or emotional depression or even the presence of cancer can be signaled by sudden episodes of uncontrollable sleepiness. Some types of insect bites transmit sleeping sickness so prevalent in Africa-though the condition is not necessarily related to narcolepsy.

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Supplements and herbs

The overwhelming desire to sleep can be suppressed by the use of natural stimulant such as choline, which is considered as one of the B complex vitamins, this natural stimulant compound will not induce the adverse side-effects which affect a person when using artificial stimulants like caffeine in coffee or those compounds contained in other medications used as stimulants. Te sleep wake cycle in the brain is controlled by nervous stimuli and the compound choline is necessary for the transmission and regulation of nerve impulses, it regulates the brain mechanism which controls the sleep wake cycle in people. Brain functioning is also impaired by the development of a choline deficiency in a person. The health of the nervous system is boosted by the B complex vitamins; these essential nutrients also boost the energy levels within the body and lead to a reduction in the levels of stress felt by the person.

Nervous system functioning is also improved by supplements of the essential minerals calcium and magnesium which are very important for effective functioning of the neurotransmitters within the brain. Adequate sleep is also aided by the mineral calcium especially when taken during the night-this mineral boosts the energy levels in the body during the day time. By disrupting the muscular and nervous transmission of messages, deficiency in the mineral magnesium will induce some nervousness and weakness in the affected individual.

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Homeopathy

In addition to herbs and supplement, homeopathy is another effective way for treating narcolepsy.

Homeopathic remedies include a number of biochemic tissue salts, such as Ferrum phosphoricum (also known as Ferrum phos.) which promotes the assimilation of iron by our body. In fact, the myelin sheath, a protective covering that encircles the nerve tissues, requires iron for supplying this essential nutriment to the nerve cells enclosed by it. Presence of iron in hemoglobin facilitates the supply of oxygen to the entire body tissues, counting the brain. Using Ferrum phosphoricum on a regular basis may aid in preventing headaches, light-headedness and restiveness. In fact, this homeopathic biochemic tissue salt is extremely beneficial for people who are inclined to have an irritating, tense and exhausted feeling.

For several centuries, people have been using Hypericum perforatum (also called St. John's wort) to promote mood and also to sustain the mental soundness as well as balance. Very recently, clinical studies have established the primeval perception regarding the use of this herb and currently it is among the most extensively researched herbs. The active constituents of this herb include flavonoids, glycosides, volatile oils, resins and tannins. It has also been found that St. John's wort helps to maintain a balanced mood in women throughout their menstrual as well as premenstrual periods.

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Magnesium phosphate (also called Mag. phos.) is a familiar homeopathic palliative. In addition, this homeopathic remedy is also immensely beneficial for sustaining the health of the nerves. Mag. phos. works in the form of a natural anti-seizure medication and also relaxes the nerves and muscles. Often this homeopathic remedy is given to treat stress headaches.

In homeopathy, Kalium phosphate (also called Kali. phos) is an excellent tonic for the brain and the nerves. In fact, this homeopathic remedy is an incredible nutrient for the nerves. When used on a regular basis, Kalium phosphate aids in calming as well as boosting the spirit as well as appeasing apprehensions and sufferings.

Passiflora incarnata (also called Passion Flower) possesses a number of active elements including alkaloids, flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides and saparin. As in the instance of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), several clinical studies have found that passion flower possesses calming and mitigating attributes. In fact, this herb has been used traditionally owing to these qualities. Scientists in France undertook a study to examine the effectiveness of passion flower in the form of a natural tonic for the nerves.

Additional things you may do

Mainly antidepressant and stimulant medications are used to treat narcolepsy. While these medicines may prove to be effective to some extent in controlling the symptoms, they actually do not cure the basic cause for the condition and are also likely to produce undesirable side effects.

In such cases, it is advisable to use natural treatments together with conventional medications or in the form of an alternative treatment. In fact, the natural treatments provide people with a natural alternative to endorse the best possible health and prolonged existence. Natural medications actually concentrate on improving the symptoms and may also aid in promoting the patient's physical, emotional as well as mental health.

The person must undertake an elimination diet and must be checked for any food allergy by appropriately testing for allergies as these might be the cause of the sleep disorder in many cases. The disorder can in many cases be prevented or resolved by simply avoiding certain types in the diet. For example, simply eating potatoes induced great sleepiness in one individual, such cases are not common but sleep disorders may arise due to some dietary factor and these cannot be discounted. In the case of this person, the sleep disorder resolved itself when the potatoes were removed from the diet.

In addition, it is important for the patient to create a planned sleeping habit. This can be done by following specific timings to go to sleep and rise, in addition to taking naps during the daytime. The patient will also benefit by having access to family, marriage as well as work-related guidance. Ideally, they should become members of any support group.

Narcolepsy patients ought to make sure that their sleeping environment is calm as well as comfortable, and the place is mainly used for sleeping. They should also follow techniques that help them to visualize as well as relax with a view to help them sleep better.

People suffering from narcolepsy should stay away from alcohol, caffeine as well as nicotine, particularly during the afternoon and also at night. They should also make themselves accountable.

It is advisable that such people should never undertake any task that requires alertness, such as handling machines or driving, if they are feeling drowsy. They should also make an effort to lessen stress and sustain a harmonious and steady mood with a view to avoid a narcolepsy attack.

Ideally, after they wake up, narcolepsy patients should spend some time outdoors. Doing so will help to regulate the biological clock of their body.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin B complex, 50 mg thrice a day.
  • Magnesium, 600 mg.
  • Calcium 1,200 mg.
  • Choline, 100 mg thrice a day.
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Comments

From Katy - Jan-17-2015
About 40 years ago, when my body would no longer tolerate the stimulants they were giving for narcolepsy, I began strong doses of vitamins. They did help me feel more energized and also happier and calmer, but alas they didn't suppress my sleep attacks. Then for some reason I began taking large doses of choline and to my surprise my sleep attacks totally disappeared. Unfortunately after a week or so on the high doses of choline, I began to feel worse and worse mentally until I could no longer tolerate feeling that bad. As best I recall I felt extremely irritable and angry all of the time. I managed to suppress the outward expression of this irritability and anger, but rather quickly my mood became so horrible that I had to quit taking the choline.
Of course narcolepsy is a lifelong disease. I currently take some medications that do help a lot most of the time, but sometimes they don't work at all. I taking a lot of supplements, which help with other health problems that I have, so I started thinking about what natural methods I could use to help with my narcolepsy symptoms and then I remembered the choline. I was loath to try it, because of what happened before, but eventually I bought some, but still didn't have the courage to take it. Well, sometimes my narcolepsy medication barely works, due to various reasons. I am not taking choline on any regular basis, but now I do take one when nothing else works and it really does help. I take no more than one 250 mg. in a day. Sometimes I just eat a couple of eggs instead, because I know that my brain and body also benefit from the protein content of eggs as well as some of the other nutrients they provide. It doesn't do miracles, but the choline definitely helps.
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