We have found in our practice in dealing with brain injury clients that one of the more common consequences for a brain injury or a concussion is some type of sleep disorder. In fact it has been estimated that about 43% of people who have a concussion have some type of sleep abnormality, typically sleeping more than usual.
One of the more aggravated forms of a sleep disorder following a concussion is something called narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is really the uncontrolled need to sleep. Many people may sleep the same number of hours in a 24 hour period but if they have narcolepsy they maybe doing six of those during the day.
There are various forms of narcolepsy. Some involve the loss of muscle function or tightening of the muscles. These would be treated differently. One of the most common ways that people are affected by narcolepsy is that they are not alert during the day. It affects their ability to work and engage in the normal things that most people do. So the common treatment for this is to give them some type of stimulant, some type of artificial amphetamine that keeps them awake during the day. It’s effective at maybe keeping them awake but it can have some downside risks.
Narcolepsy is a clear, serious complication of a head injury. It needs to be taken seriously and evaluated by a qualified neurologist. It also becomes a major part of someone’s claim if they have a head injury as part of their accident claim.