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What is cataplexy?

Cataplexy occurs when you have a sleep attack that is triggered by a strong emotion. This can happen when you are surprised, elated or even intimate with a partner. You may slur your speech or lose control of your limbs, or you may become completely paralyzed.

Narcolepsy with cataplexy is frequently linked to increased weight, sometimes obesity. It is possible to have narcolepsy along with another sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder. 
Cataplexy is emotionally-triggered transient muscle weakness. Most episodes are triggered by strong, generally positive emotions such as laughter, joking, or excitement.
Cataplexy is characterized by sudden episodes of loss of muscle function. These can range from slight weakness (such as limpness at the neck or knees, sagging facial muscles or an inability to speak clearly) to complete body collapse. Attacks are typically triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter, anger or fear, and may last from a few seconds to several minutes. Cataplexy is seen almost exclusively in people with narcolepsy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.