Learning to live with narcolepsy: A mental health counselor shares his journey

(BPT) - Mental health counselor and avid hiker Chris knew something was going on with his health. He was not only feeling tired all the time, but despite napping every day, he still fell asleep at movies, at work — even while meeting with clients. Chris knew it was time to seek medical help.

After meeting with his doctor and having his symptoms thoroughly evaluated, Chris was ultimately diagnosed with narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disorder affecting the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. According to the National Institutes of Health, symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), which results in persistent sleepiness throughout the day regardless of how much sleep an individual gets at night. Another symptom can be cataplexy, the sudden, brief loss of muscle strength or tone while you’re awake. Cataplexy is often triggered by strong emotions such as laughter or surprise and can cause the person to collapse completely, but more often affects specific areas of the body such as the hands or parts of the face such as eyelids.

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