Cataplexy affects approximately 70% of people who have narcolepsy, and is caused by an autoimmune destruction of neurons that produce the neuropeptide hypocretin (also called orexin), which regulates arousal and wakefulness. Cataplexy without narcolepsy is rare and the cause is unknown.
Narcolepsy and Extreme Sleepiness. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes disabling daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Narcolepsy is related to the dreaming period of sleep called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. With narcolepsy, though, REM periods can occur throughout the day.
Hallucinations: Usually, these delusional experiences are vivid and frequently frightening. The content is primarily visual, but any of the other senses can be involved. These are called hypnagogic hallucinations when accompanying sleep onset and hypnopompic hallucinations when they occur during awakening.
Narcolepsy is always characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, but there are other symptoms and test results that are used to differentiate the sub-types of the condition. There are two types of narcolepsy, but what is the difference between narcolepsy type 1 and type 2? Learn about these differences, including the role of cataplexy and testing for hypocretin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).