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J Adv Nurs. 1988 Sep;13(5):546-56.

Narcolepsy: a review of a common, life-long sleep disorder.

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Narcolepsy Research, College of Nursing, University of Illinois, Chicago.


Narcolepsy is a severe debilitating chronic life-long sleep disorder that can be ameliorated but not cured. In the United States, its prevalence is at least 1 in 1000 making it more common than multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. Its symptoms lead to severe lifestyle consequences, with profound impact on the affected persons, their interpersonal relationships, job, school experiences, and family life. Despite this, little has appeared in the nursing literature about the disorder. The most characteristic symptoms include uncontrollable excess daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (bilateral voluntary muscle weakness), sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations and disturbed night-time sleep. Characteristics of normal sleep are reviewed and compared with disturbances seen in narcolepsy. The aetiology, assessment, diagnosis, pharmacologic therapy, non-pharmacologic therapy and psychosocial issues are discussed along with needed research directions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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