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A Contrast of Narcolepsy Symptoms Between The Adult and Pediatric Population

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The first primary symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness (Singh et al., 2013). All individuals that have narcolepsy including children and adults show the symptom. Excessive daytime sleepiness affects the normal activities of both children and adults negatively. Adults with narcolepsy are usually unable to perform the occupational activities effectively while children with the disorder are unable to function effectively in school. Children and adults who experience excessive daytime sleepiness report memory lapses, depressed moods, extreme exhaustion, low energy and concentration and mental cloudiness (Singh et al., 2013).

The second symptom of narcolepsy is cataplexy. Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone that causes an individual to feel weak and unable to control his muscle tone voluntarily. Both children and adults with narcolepsy experience cataplexy (Scammel, 2015). Cataplexy results in a loss of muscle tone in strong emotional reactions such as anger, surprise, joking and laughter. Loss of voluntary muscle control is experienced by individuals with narcolepsy especially when they are waking up from nighttime sleep or daytime napping. The severity of injury of muscle control is characterized by slackness in the jaw, the total paralysis that is accompanied by fainting and buckling of the knees. The frequency of cataplexy in children is lower than in adults since individuals with narcolepsy experience loss of voluntary muscle control more in the adulthood than in their childhood (Scammell, 2015).

The third symptom of narcolepsy that is experienced by both children and adults is sleep paralysis (Goswami, 2016). Sleep paralysis renders individuals with narcolepsy immobile while they are waking up or falling asleep. It further makes it difficult for the individuals to speak while they are waking up or falling asleep. At times, when sleep paralysis occurs, individuals are unable to breathe, and they tend to panic. Episodes of sleep paralysis do not last for a long duration since they are experienced for only a few minutes. According to Singh et al. (2013), 40% to 80% of individuals with narcolepsy experience sleep paralysis.

Another symptom of narcolepsy is hallucinations (Scammell, 2015). Hallucinations experienced by narcoleptics tend to be vivid, and the individuals are usually unable to describe what they see after hallucinating. Hallucinations experienced by narcoleptics typically occur when the individuals are waking up or at sleep onset. An example of hallucinations reported by narcoleptics is sensations of being touched by a thing or person that is not real. According to Scammell (2015), 40% to 80% of patients with narcolepsy experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are more prevalent in narcoleptic adults than in children.

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A Contrast of Narcolepsy Symptoms Between the Adult and Pediatric Population. (2018, Jun 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from
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