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Homeopathic Management of Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes significant uncontrollable  daytime drowsiness and sudden sleep attacks at any time and during any activity. It is a rare condition. In some cases there may be sudden temporary loss of muscle tone (catalepsy) along with above symptoms. Homeopathic management of narcolepsy offers symptomatic help, and should be taken along-with conventional treatment. narcolepsy

Causes 

What exactly leads to this condition is still unknown.

But it is found that those suffering from type 1 narcolepsy have decreased levels of  a protein called hypocretin (a brain chemical which has one of its functions to regulate the sleep wake cycle). It is suspected that the low levels in hypocretin occurs due to an autoimmune reaction (In which the immune cells of the body attacks healthy cells due to a misdirected response). Genetics also seems to contribute to the development of narcolepsy.  Having  a family history of narcolepsy increases the risk for a person up to 20 to 40 times. It mostly begins between age 10 yrs to 30 yrs but can start at any age.

Stress, brain injury, brain tumor, exposure to toxins are also thought to play a role. A link between the swine flu (H1N1 flu) virus and narcolepsy is also suggested but the exact explanation for the connection between these two is not available.

Types

It is of two types :

  1. Type 1 narcolepsy

This type is attended with catalepsy (means sudden loss of muscle tone). this type is most common, it can be triggered by strong emotions. This type occurs from low levels of hypocretin protein.

  1. Type 2 narcolepsy

This type is not accompanied with catalepsy. In this type the sufferer has normal levels of hypocretin.

Symptoms 

Its first main symptom is excessive sleepiness in the daytime. People with this can sleep suddenly anytime at any place. Like a person with this may sleep while talking or doing any sort of work eg reading, driving etc. They may also have brain fog, difficulty in focus and concentration. They may feel tired, have low energy levels and memory issues. Next important symptom that can be present with this is temporary and sudden loss of muscle tone (catalepsy). it may be felt as mild weakness, slurred speech and partial catalepsy like head drop, jaw drop, drooping eyelids. But in some cases the entire body may collapse to the ground.

Strong emotions like laughing, excitement, anger, fear and surprise can trigger it. The catalepsy symptom may occur daily many times with narcolepsy or just a few times in a complete year. Another attending symptom is sleep paralysis. With this a person becomes temporarily (few seconds to minutes time) unable to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. After completion of an episode the movement and  speech become fully normal. Next symptom that may accompany it is hallucinations when falling asleep or when waking up. If a person falls asleep while doing a task like writing, driving then he may continue doing it while asleep. 

In some cases other sleep disorders may be present along with narcolepsy. It firstly includes restless legs syndrome (a condition in which a person has an uncontrollable urge to move legs due to an uncomfortable sensation. It occurs  in the evening or night time). Second such example is obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder in which there occurs momentary pauses in breathing several times during sleep). Last example is insomnia ( a sleep disorder in which a person has either difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep). 

Complications 

A person with this condition is at risk of accidents, injuries, harming himself or enduring life threatening situations if he falls asleep while doing certain activities like driving, cooking etc. People with this condition are also at risk of depression and anxiety. It may also  impact one’s social life due to difficulty staying awake during social gatherings. People suffering from it are also at risk of being overweight due to slow metabolism.

Homeopathic Management of Narcolepsy

Homeopathic medicines can offer symptomatic help in managing cases of narcolepsy. These medicines are of natural origin and are very safe and effective to help reduce the frequency of complaint gradually. One can take them along with conventional treatment for supportive help in symptom management. Use of these medicines is recommended in cases of mild to moderate intensity. One must take any of these under guidance of a homeopathic physician after detailed case study and never self medicate.  

  1. Nux Moschata – Leading medicine

It is prepared from powdered seeds of a plant named Myristica commonly known as nutmeg. It belongs to the family myristicaceae. It is a prominent medicine for treating these cases. Persons needing it have irresistible drowsiness and sleepiness. They are sleepy as if intoxicated. This may be attended with vertigo. With sleepiness excessive laughter can be present. After waking a strange feeling is felt. They tend to start in sleep with a sensation of shocks as if electricity is passing through the body.

  1. Gelsemium – For Drowsiness and Long, Sound Sleep

It is prepared from the bark of the root of plant Gelsemium Sempervirens commonly known as yellow jasmine. This plant belongs to family loganiaceae. This medicine is well indicated for persons having drowsiness and long sound sleep. With sleepiness there is fear of movement. They are restless at night’s sleep mostly towards morning hours. They feel dullness, and difficulty to fix attention. It is also used when drowsiness is felt when trying to study.

  1. Antimonium Tart – For Unconquerable Sleepiness

This medicine is recommended when a person has unconquerable sleepiness. Urgent need to sleep during the day is felt. There is excessive yawning. During sleep jerks through the body occur. Talking or crying during sleep appears. At night restlessness and sleeplessness with anxious tossing is present. In the morning he feels uncomfortable and dizzy. Heaviness and pressure in the head is also felt.

  1. Nux Vomica – When Drowsiness Worsens after Meals

This medicine is considered when the drowsiness worsens after meals. 

Next it is well indicated for sleepiness in the evening while sitting which a person is unable to avoid. People needing it have deep sleep and there may be dropping of lower jaws. Violent starting may occur on going to sleep. Talking during sleep may also be there.

  1. Arsenic Album – For Sleepiness in Daytime while Sitting

It is a great medicine for sleepiness in the daytime while sitting. There is constant drowsiness, with frequent and strong yawning. jerking of limbs occur when falling asleep. There occurs deep sleep in the evening where it is required. Tiresome dreams appear during sleep. At night there is great restlessness with sleeplessness. There is constant tossing and turning.

  1. Zincum Met – For Continued Disposition to Sleep During Day

It is useful for cases in which there is continued disposition to sleep during the day. There occurs overpowering sleep. Sleep is deep with many dreams. Shocks and frequent starts are felt in sleep. At night there is difficulty in falling asleep. The sleep is restless and  frequently interrupted at night. Screaming in sleep may be there. In the morning the person feels unrefreshed.

  1. Causticum – For Intense Sleepiness in Day and Sleeplessness at Night

People needing this medicine have intense sleepiness during the day. This is attended with yawning and stretching. They are unable to resist it and  must lie down. At night there is sleeplessness with inability to rest in any position. There is great uneasiness at night. They may cry or laugh during the sleep.

  1. Antimonium Crudum – For Drowsiness with Trembling of Head

It is a beneficial medicine for drowsiness accompanied by trembling of the head. There is a strong desire to sleep in daytime attended with heat. Numbness in the head may also be there. It is also indicated when there is sleepiness after eating. Lastly, it is of great help when there is great sleepiness in the forenoon.

  1. Merc Sol – When Excessive Sleepiness is Not Relieved by Long Sleep

This medicine is valuable for cases in which a person has great sleepiness during the day which is not relieved even from long sleep. At night there is sleeplessness or very light sleep with frequent waking. There is restless sleep. After waking there is nervous trembling.

  1. Pulsatilla – For Irresistible Sleepiness in Afternoon

It is a natural medicine prepared from plant Pulsatilla Nigricans. It belongs to family ranunculaceae. Its use is recommended when there is irresistible sleepiness in the afternoon. At night there is sleeplessness with extreme restlessness. Sleeplessness is most marked during the first part of night. There occurs sound sleep when it is time to get up. On waking the person feels weak and unrefreshed.

  1. Sepia – When There is Daytime Sleepiness Soon after Sitting

It is a significant medicine when there is excessive sleepiness in the day and the person falls asleep as soon as he sits down. He doesn’t have a desire to rise and there is difficulty waking. With this there may be loud talking in sleep. At night he awakes with fright with screaming. After night sleep there is tiredness, aching and unrefreshed feeling.

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