While discussing our consciousness in Psychology, we talked about sleep and the various disorders associated with sleep. These disorders consisted of insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors, and sleepwalking. The one that especially stuck out me was narcolepsy. As we learned, narcolepsy is a disorder in which people or animals experience episodes of sudden sleep lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Normally, people don't enter REM sleep, the stage of sleep where the brain is most active and dreaming often occurs, for more than an hour after they fall asleep. This is not the case for those who experience narcolepsy, who enter REM sleep as soon as they doze off.
Talking about this disorder in class reminded me of a video someone showed me a few years back of a narcoleptic dog. Although at first the video below may come off as funny, it shows how terrible this disorder can be. It appears the dog in the video, named Skeeter, is experiencing cataplexy, which is a complete loss of muscle control. According to the book, people and animals with narcolepsy can experience cataplexy when they become excited. This makes it extremely hard for Skeeter to enjoy the things every dog should, such as running, playing, and eating. It is also very dangerous, as dogs cannot be watched at all times, but an episode of narcolepsy can hit at any time.
I was left wondering how the dog could ever get the chance to experience a full day without being interfered by narcolepsy. After doing some research, I found that the answer is somewhere in between. While narcolepsy cannot completely be cured, there are ways to minimize its symptoms. This can be done with oral administration of tricyclic antidepressants. Although narcolepsy is not directly harmful to Sceeter, it is indirectly harming his life by taking away his excitement.