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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is Narcolepsy a psychological or mental disorder?

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    Dr David Cunnington

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Specialist sleep physician delivering a high standard of clinical care to clients with complex sleep problems and promoting sleep health through research, education and advocacy. … View Profile

    Narcolepsy is actually a neurological disorder, rather than a psychological or mental disorder. People with narcolepsy who have symptoms of cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness), have been shown to be missing the neurotransmitter orexin (sometimes called hypocretin). Orexin is very important in maintaining alertness and also in keeping sleep stable. In the absence of orexin, as occurs in narcolepsy, people have trouble both staying awake during the day and staying asleep at night. 

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