Background: Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime
sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic and/or hypnopompic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Due to symptom
overlap and comorbidity between narcolepsy and other psychiatric disorders, narcolepsy in children and adolescents
can be easily misdiagnosed. Diagnostic delay is common.
Method: We review the clinical presentations, epidemiology, etiology, diagnostic criteria, and treatment of
this disabling disorder. We also present three examples of cases initially diagnosed as either a medical or psychiatric
disorder, leading to a delay in management ranging from seven months to seven years.
Discussion: These cases highlight the importance for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who
work with adolescents to become familiar with this uncommon disorder to shorten time to treatment of this