What is Idiopathic Hypersomnia?
While inability to sleep for extended periods can affect quality of life, so too, can persistent sleepiness. You experience intense sleepiness during the day and too much sleeping at night. You also feel lethargy, which can eventually lead to anxiety, low energy, irritability, appetite lose, memory loss and hallucinations. This type of sleep disorder is referred to as idiopathic hypersomnia.
If left untreated, idiopathic hypersomnia can pose a danger. People who suffer from idiopathic hypersomnia may fall asleep during conversations, while they’re at work, and even while they’re on the road driving. Idiopathic hypersomnia is typically treated with drugs and behavior modifications to control the symptoms, allowing the sufferer to engage in normal activities without being fearful that he’d suddenly “nod off.”
Symptoms of Idiopathic Hypersomnia and Other Forms
People who suffer from this often are unable to function in family, social and occupational settings. This sleep disorder is prevalent among teenagers, young adults and overweight people. Idiopathic hypersomnia can exacerbate an already existing weight problem since the disorder is characterized by excessive sleep patterns. Thus, overweight people sleep more and use less energy; the less energy their body uses, the less body fat is burned, hence more weight gain.
Excessive daytime sleepiness and night time sleeping are two of the main symptoms of idiopathic hypersomnia. Other symptoms include irritability, mild depression and difficulty in concentrating. This is why idiopathic hypersomnia sufferers are advised to exercise caution when they are driving and operating machinery.
One form of hypersomnia is the Kleine-Levin syndrome. People who suffer from this type of hypersomnia exhibit a slightly different set of symptoms than those who have idiopathic hypersomnia. They may sleep for 18 hours or more a day. They’re highly irritable, without inhibitions and they tend to make indiscriminate sexual advances. They also tend to eat uncontrollably and gain weight rapidly. Kleine-Levin syndrome, however, is a very rare form of hypersomnia.
Another form of hypersomnia is recurring hypersomnia. This type is characterized by periods of excessive daytime sleepines, which can last from a day to many days. As the name implies, recurring hypersmonia tends to recur over the course of one year or more. A person suffering from this type of hypersomnia may have prolonged periods wherein they don’t exhibit any symptoms of the sleeping disorder.
Treating Idiopathic Hypersomnia
If you have been diagnosed with this sleep disorder, you can improve your sleeping habits by making a few lifestyle changes. Cut back o n your caffeine and alcohol consumption, and stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Drugs like Provigi, Ritalin and other amphetamines are also often prescribed to sufferers. These drugs prevent daytime sleepiness, but do have side effects such as palpitations and addiction. This is why it’s crucial that you closely monitor how you react to these drugs should your doctor prescribe them to you.
Be aware that idiopathic hypersomnia can result in other medical disorders so seek treatment as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a sleep problem tends to have a ripple effect throughout your life so it’s wise to address a sleeping disorder like idiopathic hypersomnia as early as possible.