Impact of Narcolepsy on Patients Day to Day Life

  • An individual suffering from Narcolepsy can face many challenges that are related to the daily life apart from sleepiness, hallucinations, mental fogginess and poor memory at times.
  • An impact will be laid on the social life as well and some other symptoms may involve interrupted conversations in various social events or other activities.
  • All the challenges that are associated with the disorder can be tackled by educating the family and friends about it in the right manner. When in need, one may also involve with support groups and maintain a flexible social relation with others.

Impact of Narcolepsy on Patients Day to Day Life

Narcolepsy poses an individual with some unusual challenges that are related to various strata in everyday life. Even with effective optimization of medications, conditions like cataplexy and disturbed mind, the interpersonal relations might be affected immensely. The person may often lack support from peers and friends as they might not be aware of the disorder or have certain misconceptions about it as well.

Luckily, the symptoms of narcolepsy can be managed and every individual who is suffering narcolepsy can lead a peaceful life.

Personal and Social Impacts:

The phases of life may be affected by Narcolepsy and the individuals may have troubles in managing various social relations as well as improve the quality of life. The sufferers of narcolepsy may often have to combat with:

  • Poor concentration that may be due to mental fogginess which may make it difficult for the person to memorize.
  • Instances of self-doubt or uncertainty associated with memory issues.
  • Unintentional naps while at school or work due to the drowsiness that can be problematic as well as embarrassing.
  • Cataplexy, hallucinations around sleep and sleep paralysis can be easily misunderstood, which can make it frightening.

Social interactions can also be affected by narcolepsy. People who are suffering from narcolepsy may:

  • Be stressful while staying awake to watch a movie with friends or indulge in any other social activity as well.
  • Feel grumpy or be confused while walking.
  • Will need inconvenient nap times
  • The conversations may be interrupted sudden sleepiness.
  • May be struck with cataplexy at unusual times like when laughing with friends at a party.

Handling The Personal and Social Impacts:

Narcoleptic patients and their family members as well as friends can work in groups for managing the impacts that may relate to the condition in their day to day lives. The people who are suffering from this condition may try the following:

  • Understand what’s working and what’s not. As time passes by, many people who are suffering from the condition often understand what elevates or worsens the symptoms. Some people may consume medications that will not let them sleep while driving or commuting. Use medication that suppress cataplexy before going to a party or schedule naps at regular intervals.
  • Inform family and others. Peers, friends and others who are aware of the effects of narcolepsy as well as their associated ill effects, can support the sufferers in a better way. They can either support them mentally as well as emotionally when the episodes occur at any unusual time. One can also educate people who are not aware of the disease by downloading necessary information from the internet.
  • Communication is the key. People who are suffering from narcolepsy should be able to develop a strong sense of communication with their fellow mates. When in need, you must also communicate with the family as well as friends for clearing the doubts with regards to the disease. You must also consult the doctor or join a support group that will prove to be beneficial to all the sufferers.
  • The sufferers of narcolepsy should always try to develop or interact with other people in developing a sense of support in social situations.
  • Follow the rules. If an individual has been subjected to consume certain medications, it has to be followed with dedication and the symptoms may eventually reduce at the end of the day.

Lifestyle Changes for Narcolepsy:

You may require making certain adjustments and adaptations that will lay a positive impact in improving the quality of your life. In other words, the more you take your medications seriously, the more you will get better results.

  • To improve and maintain a constant as well as a healthy sleep cycle, you should practice sleep hygiene.
  • Limiting the consumption of beverages, food, tobacco and alcohol while going to bed or for a nap.
  • Regular exercises for strengthening the core and increasing the metabolism rate. This will help in combating drowsiness and in turn help you in getting a sound sleep as well.
  • Allow the natural light fall into the surroundings where you are dwelling. Studies have shown that this stimulates the brain to generate serotonin and norepinephrine that are necessary for maintaining a positive state of mind as well as keep it awake.
  • Maintain a schedule for work, nap and activities for maintaining a systematic routine in your daily life.
  • To stay organized, make a to-do list.
  • Rely on support groups or online communities that will provide necessary information and you can share issues, stories as well as coping mechanisms.

Finding Support for Narcolepsy:

People who suffer from narcolepsy often find it precious to learn and know more about the disorder without any interruptions. Online forums, conferences, local support groups and visiting various websites are amongst the most informative places that will educate about narcolepsy. These are often run or organized by other sufferers or their family and friends. So, these can be the best places to gain complete knowledge about the disorder and get some tips.

Narcolepsy and Driving:

You must avoid driving even if you have a driving license. It is imperative to get consent from the medical practitioner before indulging in any kind of commutation activities. The medical standards that are required before driving should be fulfilled and the DMA may make necessary investigations before providing you the permission. This may often involve contacting the physician and examining the condition thoroughly.

Self-Help Tips for Narcolepsy:

  • Carry a tape recorder along with you. This will help you in recording all the important conversations in case you are struck with one of the sleep episodes.
  • Focus on smaller tasks at a time. When in need, break all the massive tasks into tiny ones so that it will be easier for you to perform.
  • Make a point to exercise regularly and take small walks after every meal. They may help you in staying awake during the day.
  • Avoid dangerous activities that can be fatal when you are struck with an attack. Avoid climbing ladders or using any machinery at such times. Take a small nap before stepping out of the house or driving a vehicle. This will help in managing sleepiness.
  • Wear a necklace or bracelet that will alert others about your condition when you are unable to speak or move in public places.
  • Follow a healthy diet that is comprised of proteins and low fat products as well as whole grains. Light meals can help you in staying awake throughout the day.
  • Manage your emotions by relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. This proves to be beneficial, especially when you are triggered by intense emotions.
  • Schedule the correct time for sleeping at the end of the day. Design a time table for naps during the day, which will prevent you from taking sleep lapse very often.
  • Avoid taking drugs that can cause drowsiness such as cold and allergy medications.
  • Stay in touch with the friends, employers and the coworkers. They will help you in staying alert at all times.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 18, 2019

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