You are very correct that narcolepsy is a very disabling sleep disorder. Not only work but home life can become very disrupted because of the intense need for sleep. Indeed finding work to do from home may be a good idea. In fact medical transcription is a very good idea. And disability is an option as well.
However, I would like to raise another issue. My objective whenever I see someone with narcolepsy is to get them to be fully functional - able to go to school or work or do whatever else they want. This does not mean that if they lie down they won't fall asleep - narcolepsy patients will always do that. Many, in fact most, patients will be able to be treated with medications and schedule modifications to achieve this goal. In my practice I take care of patients with narcolepsy who are surgeons, physicians, lawyers, college students, media professionals, and just about any job you can imagine (except bus drivers and pilots). I am certainly not suggesting that everyone can do this, but most people can. Some will need to be on disability. Most importantly if mothers and fathers of narcolepsy patients are reading this, they should know that their kids, though may have a potentially disabling illness, may still be able to become whatever they chose with appropriate treatment.
I am sorry I did not answer your question directly, but hopefully this may be of some help.
The problem you describe with your boyfriend is very common. Loud snoring occurs in almost 25% of the population. By itself, snoring is not considered dangerous to health. However, in about 5-7% of all men (and 2-4% of women), the snoring is associated with episodes of stopping breathing observed by a bed partner. Additionally, day time fatigue and sleepiness may be present. When these symptoms are present with snoring, sleep apnea is a possible diagnosis. Other features of sleep apnea include headaches, high blood pressure, and repeated awakenings at night. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and should be treated.
One of the biggest risk factors for sleep apnea is being overweight. However, having a small chin, small mouth or other variations in the face bones can also increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Treatment of sleep apnea is most often with a CPAP machine. Oral appliances and surgery are alternatives, but are not as effective as CPAP.
If you suspect that your boyfriend has sleep apnea, observe him while he sleeps and try to determine if he stops breathing. You should go with him to his doctor and discuss his snoring and describe what you see when his is sleeping. Mention his other symptoms as well, including his difficulty sucking. If his doctor thinks he has sleep apnea, tests will likley need to be done. Your doctor will need to order CPAP or other treatments.
Your post and one from a few days ago by kerasks are asking about similar issues. What you discuss is indeed "sleep paralysis". You have very eloquently described it. Simply put, sleep paralysis is waking up and not being able to move, except for blinking or moving eyes around. Sleep paralysis happens because a certain type of sleep, known as REM (or dream) sleep, persists into wakefulness. Our bodies are paralyzed in REM sleep (we don't know it because we are asleep). The paralysis disappears as soon as we come out of REM sleep. Of course under normal circumstances, when we wake up we are not in REM sleep and so are not paralyzed. However in certain conditions, the REM paralysis can persist into wakefulness and cause sleep paralysis. This is not life threatening but is very terrifying. Many people feel that if someone comes into the room and calls their name or touches them, they can come out of it. Eventually it wears off on its own.
So what causes sleep paralysis? This can occur in anyone, and is caused by having disturbed sleep. This can be in the setting of several bad nights of sleep (i.e. having to wake up repeated to tend to a baby or sick relative) in an otherwise normal sleeper or it can be a symptom of a more serious sleep disorder. Sleep disorders that cause sleep paralysis include sleep apnea and narcolepsy, to name only a few. Use or discontinuation of certain medications can also cause these symptoms. If the sleep paralysis happens frequently, it should be discussed with your doctor, and you may need to see a sleep specialist if it turns out to be a sleep disorder.
Vivid dreams or hallucinations can also occur when REM sleep occurs just as one is falling asleep or when waking up. The latter is not unusal, but if dreams are occuring as one is falling asleep, they may reflect sleep deprivation, withdrawal of certain medications or a more serious sleep disorder. Again, if this is happening frequently, it should be discussed with your doctor.
Hello Everyone! My name is Aatif Husain, and I will be the physician expert for this panel. As you will read from my biography, I am a neurologist at Duke University Medical Center, and a main focus of my practice is sleep medicine. I am very excited to be a part of this forum and am looking forward to the discussions on this message board. I encourage you to post not only your questions but your ideas, concerns and thoughts about sleep and sleep disorders. In time I will be posting some Tips and Resources as well as Polls to help us learn from each other. So, welcome and happy posting! Aatif M. Husain, M.D.View Thread