A person affected by the sleeping beauty syndrome needs excessive amount of sleep, and may sleep for most part of the night, and day as well. The person may only wake up for basic necessities such as food and bathroom needs.
This condition, a neurological disorder, is also characterized by altered behavior. The affected person may exhibit symptoms like irritability, lack of emotions, lack of energy, etc.
Kleine-Levin syndrome has been found to mostly affect adolescents (mostly males). In some cases, the disorder shows no symptoms for weeks, months, or even years. Also, the affected person may appear to be perfectly healthy in between occurrence of attacks of the illness.
Causes of this syndrome is still a subject of speculation. Some professionals blame it onto hereditary predisposition, while some relate it to an autoimmune disorder.
As aforementioned, after the patient wakes up from deep sleep, he/she may exhibit different symptoms. It include hypersomnia (defined as the inability to stay awake or sleepy throughout the day), altered mental state, confusion, amnesia, hallucinations, delusions, hypersensitivity to noise and light, disorientation, and undergoing a dream-like state.
The person may develop an excessive craving for food (may eat anything without much discrimination) and may become aggressive or irritable more often. The person finds it hard to wake up from sleep and becomes aggressive if prevented from sleeping. Another symptom of this syndrome is a hypersexual behavior, which is seen more in males than in females.
The condition cannot be diagnosed easily. Therefore, the doctor has to rule out all sorts of other conditions which could mimic similar symptoms, to diagnose this condition. As aforementioned, hypersomnia is a primary symptom of this condition, so most patients are initially put on a treatment for sleeping disorder.
Till now, medical science has not been able to find any method which could be used to initiate a proper treatment regime for this condition. To treat the excessive sleepiness, medicines like amphetamines, methylphenidate, and modafinil are administered. These are stimulants which help the person stay awake.
However, they may only treat sleepiness and have no effect upon sluggishness or other symptoms of this condition. Doctors consider this condition to be similar to bipolar disorder. So, lithium and carbamazepine have been known to be effective in reducing the episodes.
Sleeping beauty syndrome is a very rare disorder, and most patients affected by this condition may develop severe cases of depression. The aftereffects which are caused by the symptoms may be debilitating to the quality of life. They may lead to excessive weight gain and other behavioral problems.
So, friends and family need to give a great deal of support, love, and care to help such patients. The good news is, most patients (about 90%) show mysterious recovery from this illness once they reach twenties.