Psychiatric Times: Debra Stultz, MD, comments on common psychiatric comorbidities seen with narcolepsy and the impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Haramandeep Singh, MD: What are the other main common psychiatric comorbidities that you find with patients who have narcolepsy?

Debra Stultz, MD: Depression and anxiety for sure, along with panic and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. A lot of the psychiatric disorders can have narcolepsy or narcolepsy-like signs and symptoms. One of our landmark studies over the years has been the Burden of Narcolepsy Disease study by Dr [Jed] Black and associates. They looked at what kinds of illnesses are associated with narcolepsy, and psychiatric illness was at the top of the list at 31%, followed by GI [gastrointestinal] disturbances and then neurological things. At least a third of the patients with narcolepsy had some kind of psychiatric illness, whether it was depression or anxiety or panic attacks.