Doctor's Notes on Hypersomnia
Hypersomnia is a condition of recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. Signs and symptoms include
- recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep,
- feeling compelled to take naps during the day,
- feeling no relief from napping,
- having difficulty in waking up, and/or
- feeling disoriented.
Other symptoms include
- decreased energy,
- slowing of speech and thinking,
- loss of appetite,
- hallucinations, and
- memory problems.
The underlying causes are not clear. Some believe other sleep disorders may cause hypersomnia, others suggest tumors, head trauma, or some injury to the central nervous system is responsible. Drug and alcohol abuse, medications, medical diseases like depression, epilepsy, or obesity and genetics are linked to the underlying cause of hypersomnia according to some researchers.
What Are the Treatments for Hypersomnia?
Treatments depend on what causes your hypersomnia. For example, here are common causes with some common treatments:
- Sleep apnea: Treat with a CPAP (pressurized air by a machine).
- Medicines: Change drugs/medications (with doctor approval).
- Chemicals in foods or drinks like caffeine: Avoid such chemicals, especially at bedtime.
- Lifestyle: Change sleeping habits like increasing the length of nighttime sleep and avoiding alcohol.
In addition, your doctor may prescribe certain drugs to help reduce or halt hypersomnia. They may include the following:
- Stimulants like methylphenidate, modafinil
- Antidepressants like fluoxetine, sertraline
- Sodium oxybate used for treatment for narcolepsy
Some drugs are used in combination. Your doctor can help design a treatment plan for your hypersomnia.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.