Alon Avidan, MD, MPH: Narcolepsy in Daily Function

March 13, 2020

The director of the Sleep Disorders Center and vice chair of the department of neurology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine discussed the daily challenges patients with narcolepsy face.

“If they’re in a circumstance where they hear a funny joke or they’re surprised, it can often be a condition that stimulates the onset of cataplexy. So, they also often have an avoidance of social situations.”

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. An underlying condition of this disorder is cataplexy, which can cause patients to experience significant loss of muscle tone, as well as sleep paralysis and hallucinations.

Although, according to Alon Avidan, MD, MPH, director, Sleep Disorders Center, and vice chair of the department of neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, the disorder can impact more than just a patients’ s health—this incurable disorder can hinder one’s ability to work, maintain relationships, and complete daily tasks, culminating in a significant impact on quality of life.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Avidan detailed the symptoms associated with narcolepsy and cataplexy, as well as the aspects of life the disorder can affect and how these challenges add up for patients.