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Alternative Names Return to topHypersomnia - idiopathic; Drowsiness - idiopathic; Somnolence - idiopathic
Definition Return to top
Idiopathic hypersomnia is excessive sleeping (hypersomnia) without an obvious cause. It is different from narcolepsy in that idiopathic hypersomnia does not involve suddenly falling asleep or losing muscle control associated with strong emotions (cataplexy).
Causes Return to top
The usual approach is to consider other potential causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Other sleep disorders that may cause daytime sleepiness include:
Other causes of excessive sleepiness include:
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms often develop slowly during adoescence or young adulthood. They include:
Other symptoms may include anxiety, feeling irritated, low energy, restlessness, slow thinking or speech, loss of appetite, and memory difficulty.
Cataplexy -- suddenly falling asleep or losing muscle control -- which is part of narcolepsy, is NOT a symptom of idiopathic hypersomnia.
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider will take a detailed sleep history. Tests may include:
A psychiatric evaluation for atypical depression may also be done.
Treatment Return to top
Idiopathic hypersomnia is usually treated with stimulant medications such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil. These drugs may not work as well for this condition as they do for narcolepsy.
Important lifestyle changes that can help ease symptoms and prevent injury include:
References Return to topConsens FB, Chervin RD. Sleep Disorders. In: Goetz, CG, ed. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 54. Update Date: 5/11/2009 Updated by: Andrew Schriber, MD, FCCP. Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.