Nocturnal Epilepsy is a rarely found seizure disorder in which a subject goes through seizures while asleep. Seizures are classified as neurological disorders where the electrical activity in the brain increases considerably causing abrupt mood swings, behavior issues and even unconsciousness. A person may experience powerful body shakes and wakefulness from sleep for no apparent reason.
Nocturnal Epilepsy often occurs to people during the day time but they can also occur during night. Such episodes are recurrent and can disrupt sleep many times during an episode. Nocturnal Epilepsy does not hurt a subject unless they fall down or injure themselves as a result of this seizure. A long episode can cause it to reach the brain which can have serious consequences. However, such cases are rarely observed.
Patients suffering from Nocturnal Epilepsy can face a hard time dealing with it. Seizures are just one of the many symptoms they face. Such people go through several medical, social and emotional problems which affects their individual and professional life.
Therapists consider Nocturnal Epilepsy as a genetic disorder. Fortunately, it can be controlled without worsening. It has been cured and many patients have successfully come out of such problems and lead long lives.
Causes of Nocturnal Epilepsy
Researches indicate that Nocturnal Epilepsy has a direct link with neurological disorders. Some of its causes are mentioned below:
- Sleep Deprivation can trigger epileptic seizures. It has been observed in children who had not more than 4 hours of daily sleep.
- Disturbed sleep can also cause epilepsy. Individuals may find it difficult to sleep because of any emotional or social problems. This can lead to epileptic disorders.
Most doctors conclude that Nocturnal Epilepsy is a result of insufficient sleep and subjects are advised to maintain a proper sleeping schedule to minimize its effects and prevent epileptic seizures.
Symptoms of Nocturnal Epilepsy
Nocturnal Epilepsy can be difficult to diagnose. A subject may not realize that they have fallen victim to this disorder. While a subject can face a hard time during epileptic seizures, the involuntary movements seem completely normal to an observer. There are some common symptoms of Nocturnal Epilepsy. Some of them are given below:
- Violent body shakes are the most common symptom of Nocturnal Epilepsy.
- A subject may experience intense head ache and unconsciousness upon waking up.
- Some people may face abnormalities such as biting their tongue during sleep.
- Other symptoms include bed wetting and joint injuries.
Treatment for Nocturnal Epilepsy
Treatment for Nocturnal Epilepsy follows a drug prescription from a sleep specialist. In many cases, anti-convulsants have been very useful to reduce and fade away the effects of epilepsy. However, the anti convulsants have the tendency to alter the sleep mechanism of an individual. For people who only experience epileptic seizures while sleeping, drugs such as Ethosuximide, Viagbatrin, Zonisamide and Oxcarbazepine are considered suitable with least negative effects on sleep structure.
In other cases, sleep therapists recommend certain therapies which are listed as follows:
- Surgery and removal of areas which produce brain seizures can be conducted in both children and adults. This is followed by a series of medications.
- Induction of a generator that stimulates the Vagus nerve to help reduce any seizure activities in the brain can be of great help. The process is also known as Vagus Nerve Stimulation.
Nocturnal Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that primarily invokes epileptic seizures while sleeping. Its diagnosis and cure is possible and individuals have successfully gotten rid of the disease following a proper medication from sleep specialists.