What Is Hypersomnolence?

What is hypersomnolence? As strange as it may seem, not many know too much about this health disorder which tragically strikes when the victim is between 15 and 30 years of age. Termed as a ‘rare disease’ by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) it remains for life and responds very poorly to any kind of therapy.

The beginning is humble; excessive daytime sleepiness that most ignore, thinking it to be an effect of exhaustion, late nights, etc. Soon the same symptom becomes overwhelming and starts to negatively influence and disrupt almost every aspect of the victims’ life. In fact, his or her whole life goes for a spin, just because one significant symptom of the disorder.

To know more about what the condition is all about, the different types of the disorder, the early signs and symptoms and the treatment options available, let us go back a few steps and start at the basics:

What is hypersomnolence?

A type of sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, hypersomnolence or hypersomnia affects close to 5% of the entire US population. It can be of two types: primary hypersomnia also called idiopathic insomnia and recurrent insomnia. Interestingly, the term ‘idiopathic’ means ‘no known causes’. This means that treatments geared towards curing the condition is nearly always designed to provide relief to the idiopathic hypersomnia symptoms in the absence of any known cause.

Idiopathic hypersomnia symptoms show up in a myriad of ways:
– Excessive daytime sleepiness. No matter what time it is, or where the patient is, he or she is likely to go off to sleep.
– Tendency to take frequent daytime naps that are non-rejuvenating.
– Habit of sleeping for very long hours – more than 10 hours
– Feeling of confusion and disorientation on waking up.
– Irritability, depression
– Hallucinations
– Slur in speech and slow thinking
– Signs show up during early teens and continue for many years.

Signs that provide clues for seeking treatment

There are several other signs that are compelling enough to push the patient to seek urgent medical treatment:
– Long and frequent naps that leave the patient feeling groggy.
– Fatigue
– Irritability and anxiety
– Impaired speech; cloudy thinking and slow reflexes
– Lack of appetite
– Focusing problems and failing memory

Treatments: many roads lead to Rome

Treating the disorder involves taking multiple approaches including self-help, making lifestyle changes and of course drug therapy. Counseling of family and friends of the patient is also an integral part of curing the patient. This in turn helps the patient to cope better.

Self help initiatives include physical workouts, avoiding stimulants like coffee, etc, practicing several mind-calming techniques like yoga and more. Lifestyle alterations involve quitting alcohol, scheduling sleeping habits, maintaining strict sleeping hours, etc.

Drugs used to treat idiopathic hypersomnia are:
– Modafinil, sodium oxybate, amphetamine, methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, and selegiline
– Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), clonidine, levodopa, bromocriptine, amantadine, and methysergide

Looking to find the best cures for excessive daytime sleepiness? Then visit Marc Macdonald’s site to get the best advice on hypersomnolence treatment. Cheers for healthy mornings!

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