Kleine Levin Syndrome
Teenage boys are renowned for having their ups and downs; they’re often to be found suffering from mood swings and a variety of the unsettling symptoms of puberty which can make them difficult to live with; but not all teenage boys are simply going through issues brought about by their age…some may be suffering from Kleine Levin Syndrome.
Kleine Levin Syndrome is a rare disorder which affects mainly male teens; the main symptoms consist of an insatiable appetite for sleep known as hyper-somnolence and also behavioural difficulties and cognitive disturbances. Some boys are also found to suffer from hyper-sexuality in addition to the other more common symptoms.
Kleine Levin Syndrome tends to make its appearance sporadically….one day the teenager is fine and then the next they’re in the throes of an “attack” which can go on for anything from a week to two months. There has been plenty of research into the condition but experts cannot as yet agree on a cause for the upsetting problems which ensue for those who suffer from Kleine Levin Syndrome.
How does Kleine Levin Syndrome affect people?
Current research indicates that the syndrome makes its appearance most commonly during the winter months with December being the riskiest month. Often, boys will experience a brief illness before it happens…an infection or general run-down feeling is usually reported. After this, sufferers feel a strong urge to spend most of their time in bed and wake only to eat or visit the bathroom.
When challenged or encouraged to get dressed and participate in life, sufferers can become aggressive and upset. Another and more upsetting symptom is one which affects the speech of the boys; many become monosyllabic or speak in short and disjointed sentences while others seem to regress in their speech and become like much younger children in their patterns of communication or begin to slur.
Once the episode is over, sufferers often have no memory of the events preceding the attack and no memory of anything which occurred during it.
Some other upsetting symptoms can occur during an attack of Kleine Levin Syndrome and these include overeating as well as using obscene language and displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour. Although females do sometimes suffer from the syndrome, they are not often diagnosed with it and they do not usually display the same symptoms as males…most especially the sexual behaviour.
Diagnosing Kleine Levin Syndrome
It is very difficult to diagnose Kleine Levin Syndrome because the symptoms can mimic depression and many people assume that their children are “low” or going through a typical teenage phase. Unless the more severe symptoms are displayed, it can be missed and sufferers will usually come out of the attack with no damage done to themselves. It is however important to get a diagnosis as medical intervention can certainly alleviate the symptoms which can have a severe effect on family life and sometimes mood stabilising drugs will be prescribed.
Kleine Levin Syndrome is not a disorder which will continue to affect sufferers and after it has run its course, it will disappear never to return again. Research into the disorder is ongoing and because of its rarity, professionals will usually be very interested in any cases which do crop up.