Introduction Narcolepsy occurs due to an inability to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, causing disturbed night-time sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. Children and young people with narcolepsy have increased psychiatric illness, compared to healthy controls. A recent study of 31 paediatric narcolepsy patients found 43% had psychiatric comorbidity, compared with 10% in the general population.1
The aim of this service evaluation was to determine whether Sheffield Children’s Hospital narcolepsy patients have increased psychological morbidity in order to inform service development.
Methods 43 patients, aged 4–16 years, and their parents were given Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) questionnaires in clinic [Service Evaulation SE1473]. Software produced by the developer was used to analyse the results, using data from a cohort of children and parents separated by gender and American school grade.
Scores are divided into: Separation Anxiety, General Anxiety, Panic, Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.
Results 34 patients and parents completed their questionnaires. A positive score was defined by a T score>65, indicating clinically significant anxiety or depression. 16 patients scored positively based on their questionnaires and 25 scored positively based on their parent’s questionnaires, giving psychological morbidity rates of 47% and 74% respectively. The category scored positively in most frequently was depression: 15 patients and 23 parents’ questionnaires scored positively here. Scoring for anxiety was lower: 13 in the parent and 2 in the patient questionnaires.
Discussion This service evaluation showed raised levels of anxiety and depression in Sheffield Children’s Hospital narcolepsy children and young people, compared with national averages. Regular psychological assessment and early intervention for patients would be appropriate, given the results shown here and these results will be put forward as part of a future business case.
Szakacs, et al. Psychiatric comorbidity and cognitive profile in children with narcolepsy with or without association to the H1N1 influenza vaccination. Sleep 2015.
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