Hypersomnia is the opposite of insomnia; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that this disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. Those persons who suffer from hypersomnia feel a great need to take naps during the day. There are two types of hypersomnia, states the Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders: primary hypersomnia, or idiopathic hypersomnia; and recurrent hypersomnia, or recurrent primary hypersomnia.
This type of hypersomnia is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness that lasts for one or many days, and the bouts will recur over the course of a year or more, states the Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders.
The Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders explains that this type of hypersomnia is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day over a long period of time; the person is sleepy all day, every day. This is the prime difference between the two kinds of hypersomnia – while recurrent hypersomnia have bouts where they do not suffer from excessive sleepiness; idiopathic hypersomnia suffers experience ongoing sleepiness with no reprieve.
Causes and Symptoms of Hypersomnia
The Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders explains that those people suffering from hypersomnia have trouble waking up in the morning and staying awake and alert during the day. Hypersomnia sufferers nap often and upon waking, do not feel refreshed. Sometimes hypersomnia is misdiagnosed as narcolepsy, states the Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders. They are similar, but those who suffer from narcolepsy will experience sleepiness suddenly while those suffering from hypersomnia feel sleepy all the time.
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The causes of hypersomnia have yet to be discovered, unfortunately. Some people think that a malfunctioning hypothalamus could be to blame, but no evidence supports this claim, states the Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders.
The Encyclopedia of Mind Disorders explains that while some drugs have been attempted as alleviation for this disorder, success rate has not been high. Stimulants are not recommended as they only treat the symptoms; however, the University of Maryland Medical Center states that stimulants are often prescribed by doctors to patients suffering from hypersomnia.
Herbal remedies are not recommended nor intended for use with hypersomnia. Since the cause is not known, specific hypersomnia treatments have not been developed; at this time, there are no recommended treatments for the disorder.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that those who suffer from hypersomnia should avoid drinking alcohol, operating motor vehicles or dangerous equipment, and working or attending social activities at night.
Jamie Simpson is a researcher and journalist based in Indianapolis with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. She earned her B.S. in animal science from Purdue University and her Master of Public Affairs in public management from Indiana University. Simpson also works as a massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist.