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Why am I so tired?

By Anonymous June 7, 2011 - 7:33pm
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I'm tired all the time and fall asleep constantly. I've had 3 wrecks in the last year due to me falling asleep. I took a sleep apnea test and it was fine. Doctor took blood work and everything was normal. I have an appointment for a neurologist in a month but I'm not hopeful for an answer since I've been dealing with this since I was in 10th grade in 2005. I do have some memory issuse and have headaches ocasionally. Once in 2005 I did have a headache that was so painful it felt like the pressure from my pillow was unbearable and I went to the doctor who diagnosed it as a tension headache and gave me pills that made me a vegtable so I didn't take them anymore. My current doctor has put me on Nuvigil and it worked GREAT the first month I took it. Now it helps to take it but I'm still falling asleep even while I'm driving while I take it....HELP I'm terrified to drive but I have to to work and I feel like I'm sleeping my life away and I need an answer....

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Hi Anon,

Thank you for your post! Sounds awfully scary to be falling asleep behind the wheel--I'm so sorry.

Have you been tested for Narcolepsy? They often perform an EEG, ECG, monitor your breathing and perform a genetic test (since Narcolepsy is often genetic). Your doctor may also perform a polysomnogram, which is a sleep study and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). This test measures how long it takes you to fall asleep during a daytime nap. Patients with narcolepsy fall asleep much faster than people without the condition.

There is no known cure for narcolepsy. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.

Lifestyle adjustments and learning to cope with the emotional and other effects of the disorder may help you function better in work and social activities. This involves:

Eating light or vegetarian meals during the day and avoiding heavy meals before important activities

Scheduling a brief nap (10 to 15 minutes) after meals, if possible

Planning naps to control daytime sleep and reduce the number of unplanned, sudden sleep attacks

Informing teachers and supervisors about the condition so you are not punished for being "lazy" at school or work

You may need to take prescription medications. The stimulant drug modafinil (Provigil) is the first choice of treatment for narcolepsy. It is much less likely to be abused than other stimulants. The medicine also helps you stay awake. Other stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, DextroStat) and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Antidepressant medications can help reduce episodes of cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hallucinations. Antidepressants include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine

Tricyclic antidepressants such as protriptyline, clomipramine, imipramine, and desipramine

Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) is prescribed to certain patients for use at night.

If you have narcolepsy, you may have driving restrictions. Restrictions vary from state to state.

For more information on Narcolepsy, visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001805/

Wishing you the best!


June 8, 2011 - 6:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

I'm currently on the new version of Proviguil that is called Nuviguil. I'm still falling asleep too much and still falling asleep driving. And it's getting worse. Now I'll fall asleep and wake back up realizing I've missed a few miles of driving.... which is terrifying knowing I was asleep for awhile and could have died or killed someone at any minute... I have a Neruologist consultation appointment on the 27th of this month and I'm not sure what they will do. If I do end up with driving restrictions do you know what that might be...? Will I not beable to drive?

June 11, 2011 - 6:44pm
(reply to Anonymous)

It is great that you are seeing a specialist in a few weeks.

If you are unsure about what your Neurologist appointment will entail, it is important to call the office (you can speak to the nurse) and ask what you should expect for your doctor's appointment. This is a very common, and important, question to know, so that you are prepared for your visit, and it can help relieve anxiety, and also help you understand certain test names if any are suggested.

Do you have alternate means of transportation between now (12th) and your doctor's appointment (27th)? It is even more important that you do not drive between now and your doctor's appointment, since you are still falling asleep behind the wheel. Sine this has already happened to you several times, if you are in a car accident and injure a person or property, you could be found negligent since you have been having ongoing symptoms.

You should not be driving right now, for your safety and that of other's safety. However...this does not necessarily mean you will have any driving restrictions if the cause is found and treated! It is just important for you to make the appropriate decisions NOW...so that you can make it to your doctor's appointment on the 27th.

Please let us know how we can help, and update us after you call the doctor's office. You can let the nurse know you are a little nervous for your appointment, and would like to know what to expect.

June 12, 2011 - 1:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

No I don't have any other way of transportation and my work is 45 min away from where I live....And not only do I have no other way of getting there if I call in I will get fired...And if that happens I will not only loose my income that supports my family I will loose my insurance that can eventually help me with this problem and it's important to have for my children. I also have swing shifts where some days I work 11am to 8pm and other days 5am to 2pm and yes this has made the sleepiness much worse however it is not the cause seeing as how it started when I was in high school it just makes it worse. And I can not ask for a set scheduale because that can't do something different for me and not do it for others.

June 15, 2011 - 7:01pm
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