Other Names:
Sleep attacks
Seizures of sleepiness

Narcolepsy is the incurable tendency to fall asleep suddenly during the day. The attacks are sudden and uncontrollable and may occur in the middle of a conversation of whilst eating a meal. Other possible symptoms include temporary paralysis on falling asleep or waking up with visual hallucinations or agitated. Because narcolepsy starts in adolescence, the symptoms are often mistakenly put down to this stage of life. Those who fall asleep is class may be called lazy or blamed for staying up late at night; they may be ridiculed or bullied in school. Consequently sufferers often also develop low self-esteem, depression and have problems socializing and developing relationships.


Narcolepsy is not a common condition and precisely how many people are affected in not known. The prevalence of the disorder is comparable to that of multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, and only a small fraction of sufferers have been diagnosed. Obtaining a proper diagnosis is difficult with the average time between onset of the disease and diagnosis of 15 years. A rough estimate is one or two people in every two thousand are affected, with men men and women being affected equally. Approximately four out of five people with narcolepsy also suffer with a condition called cataplexy, which produces sudden loss of muscular control.

Related Problems:
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST