Narcolepsy And Alcoholism

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Hi..my name is Paul and I've recently come across this site and reading all I can.

Here's a question I've been wanting to find opinions on and any information so I'll try to make this quick and easy...

I thought I read but may have dreamed this up, that there maybe a link between alcoholism enhancing N in the genes? ie. if a parent; more often the father, is an alcoholic and has the narcolepsy gene and is passed on to a child, the chances are higher that the N gene will be more enhanced and N be more apparent.

Again, nothing to back this up but told my neurologist about this and he's never heard of this theory...but again, maybe I dreamed it. ;)

Here's my family situation.

I was diagnosed with N when I was around 12...so around 1982-83 after the typical symptoms that we've all had.

My father is an alcoholic; sober 35+ years however and was diagnosed with N many, many years later but a very "light" version; that is if there is one so no meds or anything needed.

My cousin on my Mothers side was diagnosed with N about 6 years after me.

Her Dad was an alcoholic...sober now too but no known N in his family.

We've suspected that my nephew (sisters son) has N but has never been tested.

His Dad was also an alcoholic...sober now for 20+ years.

So other than my family having obvious alcohol issues ;) ... anyone else have similar familiarities within their families or heard of such a relation?



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Narcolepsy and Alcoholism are both glucose metabolism disorders.

And alcohol metabolism is highly dependent on orexin.

Annotated research here: http://www.zombieinstitute.net/Metabolic.htm

and this might sound familiar: http://www.zombieinstitute.net/Serenity.htm

Keep up the good fight.


ps. was that a sleep specialist who told you that?

Xyrem is the drug they use for advanced alcoholics with insomnia.

And orexin drugs are being tested on alcoholics.

He should know that.

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It wasn't a sleep specialist that told me this...as mentioned, I have nothing to back it up and can't for the life of me remember or recall where / when / how I heard this.



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Hi Paul!

Have you found any new info about this? I theorized the same thing after being diagnosed, or maybe I read it somewhere, who knows. 

Both my parent's have struggled with alcoholism, as well as other members of my family. Before I was diagnosed, I thought I was an predisposed to alcoholism because I felt I could function better after having a small amount of alcohol. Looking back, I believe I enjoyed the feeling because it made me feel awake and I didn't experience cataplectic episodes while drinking (although I did lose all memory i.e "black out" very quickly, after having a very small amount of alcohol, like half a beer). I quit drinking not long after my diagnosis, partially because alcohol negatively interacts with most medications, and because I realized it wasn't the only thing that could keep me awake and "functioning." Also remembering things can be helpful, I just thought everyone completely lost their memory when they drank ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


This article hints at a man causing himself to develop N through alcoholism, which I suppose could happen because it is brain damage; however, I wonder if people with N are more likely to develop alcoholism as a way of "self-medicating?" 

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Both of my parents are serious alcoholics, but my father and I have some eerie similarities in regards to sleep issues. He describes dreaming immediately upon falling asleep, and being able to fall asleep just about anywhere as well. 

He probably has N, but is far too stubborn to ever get tested even if I suggested it to him.


I developed N w/ C as early as 12, possibly younger (C was mild until my 20's when I started getting full body/drop episodes).

I wasn't diagnosed until age 23. I basically sleep walked through school, teaching myself the material at night when I was home in my bedroom alone.


I can absolutely see a potential relationship between paternal alcohol abuse and early-onset narcolepsy in children, based on my personal experience and what you're describing.

My dad functions a lot better while drinking lightly, just as I do (aside from the memory lapses). Stimulants and lifestyle changes work better, but if I didn't know any better, I would probably use alcohol to manage symptoms at night.


If he has N, it would be a light case (and no cataplexy). I have a severe case.

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