A persistent feeling of sleepiness can greatly impact your quality of life. In addition to intense daytime sleepiness and excessive periods of sleep at night, this constant feeling of lethargy can lead to anxiety, irritability, decreased energy, loss of appetite, hallucinations and memory loss.
Idiopathic hypersomnia can be dangerous if left untreated. Sufferers can fall asleep during conversations, while at work, and even while driving. However, there are medications and behaviour modifications that can control the symptoms and allow you to enjoy normal activities without the fear of “nodding off.”
In this article, we’ll show you how to recognize the symptoms of this disorder and explore the treatments available.
Idiopathic Hypersomnia Symptoms
Patients suffering from hypersomnia often lose the ability to function in family, social and occupational settings. The condition most commonly impacts teenagers, young adults and people who are overweight. This can exacerbate their weight problems, as their excessive sleep patterns means that they will use less energy.
In addition to excessive sleepiness and long nighttime sleeping, symptoms include irritability, mild depression and difficulty concentrating. For this reason, people with hypersomnia should be cautious when driving or operating machinery.
Kleine-Levin syndrome is a form of hypersomnia that features slightly different symptoms. Sufferers may sleep for eighteen or more hours a day and are irritable, uninhibited, and make indiscriminate sexual advances. People with Kleine-Levin syndrome often eat uncontrollably and rapidly gain weight. However, this form of recurrent hypersomnia is very rare.
Recurring hypersomnia involves periods of excessive daytime sleepiness that can last from one to many days, and recur over the course of a year or more. With recurring hypersomnia, a person will have prolonged periods where they do not exhibit any signs of the malady. However, persons experiencing idiopathic hypersomnia are affected by it nearly all the time.
Idiopathic Hypersomnia Treatments
If you have idiopathic hypersomnia, then modifying your lifestyle can greatly improve your sleep habits. Reducing your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and adhering to a regular sleep schedule, will help reduce somnolence. In addition to behavioural changes, your doctor may prescribe drugs such as Provigi, Ritalin and various amphetamines to combat daytime sleepiness. However, it’s important to closely monitor your reaction to these medications. Nervousness, heart palpitations and addiction are common side effects.
Idiopathic hypersomnia can lead to other medical disorders, so getting immediate treatment is essential. A sleep problem will have a ripple effect through the rest of your life, so addressing the disorder will help you perform better at work and improve your overall quality of life. There’s no need to struggle with those feelings of drowsiness. A simple visit to the doctor can put you on the road to a better night of sleep.
The Hypersomnia Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to advocate, educate and provide resources so that people with Hypersomnia can live optimal and fulfilling lives.