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Excessive sleepiness.



increased sleepiness. A distinction is drawn between paroxysmal and permanent types of hypersomnia. Characteristic of paroxysmal hypersomnia are overwhelming attacks of sleep during the day, under unfavorable conditions lasting from several minutes (narcolepsy) to several days (periodic sleeping sickness). In cases of narcolepsy there are frequent disturbances of nocturnal sleep and attacks of sudden muscular weakness caused by various emotions (catalepsy). Permanent hypersomnia, which is found in cases of neuroinfections, disruptions of cerebral blood circulation, and tumor processes, is manifested by constant sleepiness and falling asleep under natural, ordinary conditions. In contrast to patients with certain forms of paroxysmal hypersomnia, persons suffering from permanent hypersomnia are easily awakened. However, left to themselves, they quickly fall asleep again. The basis of all types of hypersomnia is disturbance of the functioning of the brain’s “wake-sleep” system. In addition to decreased wakefulness, disturbance of the regulation of the phases of “rapid desynchronized” and “slow synchronized” sleep plays an important role.

Treatment depends on the form of hypersomnia. In cases of narcolepsy, stimulators of the nervous system are used. In cases of periodic sleeping sickness and similar forms of hypersomnia, treatment includes general restorative therapy and checkup of respiratory and blood circulation functions. Treatment of permanent hypersomnia involves removal of the causes.


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