The symptoms of Narcolepsy may impact many areas of a patients’ life. Due to Narcolepsy being poorly understood and largely invisible, many people experience feelings of isolation, loss of self-confidence, depression and anxiety.
Memory loss, poor concentration and automatic behaviors can lead to psycho-social impairments and affect relationships, academic performance, professional success and leisure activities. Driving may be particularly challenging for patients who experience severe excessive daytime sleepiness. Additionally, the diagnosis of Narcolepsy may affect education and career choice, as not all activities and routines fit into the type of schedule an individual with Narcolepsy may require.
Children and adolescents with Narcolepsy may struggle with emotional regulation and display aggressive behaviors that lead to social exclusion and feelings of self-loathing and shame. Additionally, relationships within the family unit may be strained, as the child with Narcolepsy requires additional assistance with everyday tasks and nighttime supervision. Parents often find themselves requiring additional support with siblings and respite care.
Schooling is particularly challenging for children with Narcolepsy (CWN). Research shows that EDS is associated with poorer academic functioning, school failure, school absenteeism, tardiness, conduct problems and increased risk-taking behavior and impulsivity. CWN often require school accommodations to be successful.
Please see our Narcolepsy and the K-12 Education System Brochure under the Resource Section and join our Online Support Groups.