Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Le Sigh...But it Leads Me to a Good Point

So last night i'm at a cook out. A cook out where the hot dogs were not coming off the grill as fast as I had hoped. So I was in the kitchen filling up on Scoops and salsa and talking to a couple of people about my Hypersomnia. One person joined us about half way in where I was describing my overwhelming need to sleep. And she goes "Isn't that depression?"

Ok, so aside from the obvious annoyance because no, I saw my psychiatrist the whole time I was on the search for a diagnosis and he re-evaluated me and found my depression to be the same and a real live doctor told me the results of the sleep study that confirmed I have a sleep disorder, this bugged me for another reason.

I've read that Narcolepsy is as common as Parkinson's Disease but that it is terribly underdiagnosed. I can believe that. When I first mentioned Narcolepsy to my primary care doctor as a reason I was so damn sleepy all the time she told me that if I was Narcoleptic I would be nodding off while talking to her. Well, maybe, and maybe not. There isn't a lot of understanding about Hypersomnia and Narcolepsy in the general public and doesn't seem to be much in the general medical community. I was lucky to have a primary care doctor who thought a sleep study was a good idea. But what if I had chalked my sleepiness and lack of interest in things (because I was tired) up to depression? Would a psychiatrist think to consider a sleep disorder if a patient wasn't responding to treatment? I would hope so, but it seems really easy to look at a patient with depression who is sleeping a lot and think that the anti-depressants might me making them more sleepy or not helping and changing the meds ten times until someone gives up or just deals the best they can with the situation.

So what i'm getting at here is if you stumble on this post and you've been seeing a psychiatrist for a while and your depression isn't any better consider that you may have a sleep disorder. You might be surprised at what you find out.


Anonymous said...

good point. doctors don't know everything about all conditions and sometimes need to be nudged in a different direction. it can help sometimes. sure doesn't hurt!

Candice said...

Mom's right. There is a big difference between the need to sleep as an escape from the pain of waking life, and the urge to sleep because your body is so exhausted it can't walk around and go about regular activities. I think you were incredibly smart by seeing a psychiatrist and a sleep professional at the same time. At least then a dialogue can be started. Even now in 2009 the human brain is still quite a mystery, and even the most educated professionals know only so much. Mad respect to you though for being in tune with your body, and knowing enough to inform your doctors of how you're feeling, and contributing to your own treatment.