#AlwaysSleepy: The Difference Between Type 1 & Type 2 Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that makes you feel overwhelmingly tired. Symptoms may include excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, disrupted nighttime sleep and even depression. Per experts, some may experience what’s called a sleep attack – an extreme tendency to crash whenever in relaxing surroundings.

Although the disorder may not come up in everyday conversation, believe it or not, it affects an estimated 1 in every 2,000 people in the United States. That’s 200,000 Americans, and approximately 3 million people worldwide. Shockingly, the Narcolepsy Network reports that only an estimated 25 percent of people who suffer from the sleep disorder have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment.

Of course, the disparity between diagnosis and treatment may be due to the complexity of the disease. Everyone with narcolepsy has excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), according to the site FeelingTheFog.com. However, not everyone experiences narcolepsy the same way. There are two types of narcolepsy: narcolepsy with cataplexy (type 1) and narcolepsy without cataplexy (type 2).

So, to help you better understand the two, BlackDoctor.org recently spoke with Dr. Kyra Clark, a board-certified expert in sleep medicine and Medical Director of Sleep Diagnostics at Morehouse School of Medicine, who broke down the difference between the two types of narcolepsy.