What is hypersomnia? Symptoms, Types, Causes, And Diagnosis

Hypersomnia or hypersomnolence is a neurological disorder. Excessive sleep time or excessive sleepiness can have many causes and can cause distress and malfunctions.

People with hypersomnia disorder usually sleep more than 9 hours in 24 hours, and the cause of their drowsiness cannot be attributed to disturbed nighttime sleep or a circadian rhythm problem. The main symptom of hypersomnia is daytime sleepiness, which most people experience from time to time. Almost half of all adults will have symptoms of a hypersomnia disorder.

What is hypersomnia?

It is excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, in contrast to insomnia, characterized by excessive and chronic sleepiness or drowsiness. Excessive sleep varies based on health, age, and other factors; 15 hours of sleep each day would not be unusual for a baby, but it could be problematic for an adult.

Hypersomnia is usually the result of another health condition, but it can also be diagnosed as a disorder in its own right. The new DSM-5 changes the name of hypersomnia to major sleepiness disorder, a disease of sleep and wakefulness. Many can fall asleep at any moment, for example, at work or while driving. They may also have other sleep-related problems, including lack of energy and trouble thinking clearly.

What are the types of hypersomnia?

There are two main types of hypersomnia: primary and secondary. Primary hypersomnia means that your symptoms are the main problem, while secondary hypersomnia implies that it is concurrent with another medical problem.

Primary hypersomnia

Includes narcolepsy (a sleep disorder of excessive daytime sleepiness and ‘sleep attacks,’ where an individual falls asleep immediately and uncontrollably), Kleine-Levin syndrome (a rare sleep disorder categorized by periods of excessive daytime sleepiness and hours of increased sleep). followed by a period of hyperphagia, hypersexuality, and elevated wakefulness) and idiopathic hypersomnia.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is hypersomnia with no known cause; victims can live their lives in an exhausted state and never feel fully rested or awake. Despite sleeping more than is medically necessary, it comes with a social stigma because the lack of cause can make people see you as lazy. However, it is a genuine sleep disorder.

Secondary hypersomnia

Due to other medical conditions can include sleep apneaParkinson’s disease, kidney failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, clinical depression, multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, epilepsy, or obesity.

It can occur as an adverse effect of taking certain medications, withdrawal from some medications, or drug or alcohol abuse. A genetic predisposition can also be a factor. In some cases, it results from a physical problem, such as a tumor, head trauma, or autonomic or central nervous system dysfunction.

Movement sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and periodic movement disorder of the extremities, may also cause secondary hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is not the same as narcolepsy, a neurological condition that causes sudden and unavoidable sleep attacks during the day; people with hypersomnia can stay awake on their own but feel fatigued.

What causes and what are the risk factors for hypersomnia?

There are several potential causes of hypersomnia, including:

  • Sleep disorders include narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness) and sleep apnea (interruptions of breathing during sleep).
  • I am not getting enough sleep at night (sleep deprivation).
  • It is being overweight.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • A head injury or neurological disease, such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Prescription drugs, such as tranquilizers.
  • Genetics (having a relative with hypersomnia),

The American Sleep Association states that the condition affects men more than women. Hypersomnia is common during illness or stress, and some days are generally not a cause for concern. However, chronic hypersomnia can interfere with a person’s ability to work, care for their children, complete daily tasks, or maintain social relationships. Various disorders can contribute to depression, Kleine Levine syndrome, brain damage, celiac disease, anemia, and hypothyroidism.

What are the symptoms of hypersomnia?

Hypersomnolence is characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. Instead of feeling tired due to a lack of interruption of sleep at night, people with this disorder are forced to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times, such as during work, during a meal, or in the middle of a conversation, these naps during the day generally do not provide relief from symptoms.

Patients have difficulty waking up after a long sleep and may feel disoriented. Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Increased irritation
  • Decreased energy.
  • Restlessness.
  • Slow thinking
  • Speak slowly.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • The difficulty of memory.

Some patients lose the ability to function in family, social, occupational, or other settings. Some may have a genetic predisposition to hypersomnia; there is no known cause in others. Hypersomnolence typically affects adolescents and young adults.

What are the specific diagnoses for hypersomnia?

specific diagnoses for hypersomnia

The predominant feature is excessive sleepiness for at least one month (in acute conditions) or at least three months (in persistent conditions), as evidenced by prolonged sleep episodes or daytime sleep episodes that occur three times per week.

  • Excessive sleepiness causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • Excessive sleepiness is not better explained by insomnia and does not occur exclusively during another sleep disorder (for example, narcolepsy, breathing-related sleep disorder, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, or a parasomnia )
  • An inadequate amount of sleep cannot explain it.

It may coincide with other mental or medical disorders, although this condition cannot adequately explain the chief complaint of hypersomnolence. In other words, it is important enough to justify your clinical care and treatment.

It can result from a physical problem, such as a tumor, head injury, or injury to the central nervous system. Medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, depression, encephalitis, epilepsy, or obesity can also contribute to the disorder.

When diagnosing hypersomnia, your doctor will ask about your sleeping habits and how much you sleep at night if you wake up. If you fall asleep during the day, they will also want to know if you have any emotional problems or are taking any medications that may interfere with your sleep. He may order some tests, including blood tests, CT scans, and a sleep test called a polysomnogram. In some cases, an additional EEG is needed, which measures the brain’s electrical activity.

What are the treatment options for hypersomnia?

Many drugs intended for narcolepsy can treat hypersomnia. These include amphetamines, methylphenidate, and modafinil; these drugs are stimulants that help you feel more awake.

It can be treated with stimulants, such as Modafinil or Ritalin, commonly used to treat deficit disorder. Again, only a qualified medical professional can accurately diagnose sleep disorders and prescribe medications to treat them, to help you feel more awake, rested, and focused during the day. Some antidepressants such as fluoxetine, sertraline, or citalopram are also used to treat hypersomnia.

In patients with hypersomnia and narcolepsy, sodium oxybate may be prescribed at night to maximize rest and thus improve daytime sleepiness. However, taking medications over time can make the effects less efficient and lead to some troublesome side effects.

Lifestyle changes can also mitigate the effects of hypersomnia. Getting into a good nighttime routine, going at the same time every night can help your body know when it’s time to sleep; good sleep hygiene ( using the bed only for sleep and sex and avoiding electronics in bed, for example) can also help to maximize your peace of mind, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bed.

If you are concerned about your sleeping habits yourself or someone you know, consulting with a doctor is always worth consulting.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.