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Getting My Driver's License With Narcolepsy Without Cataplexy

It is very common to have narcolepsy without cataplexy. I do. It is also possible to treat narcolepsy, through medicine and maintaining good sleep hygiene, to control EDS to an extant. Cataplexy attacks are most known for happening when someone experiences a strong emotion. Even on top of all the medicines used to treat narcolepsy, there are gadgets that use an internal level to wake someone who is falling asleep while driving.

I am seventeen and though I have had my temps for two years, I cannot get my license because I am not adequately treated. I'll have to undergo multiple clinical tests before I can attempt to get a drivers' license. Even then, even if I have not had symptoms for ten years, there will be states where I can't drive on the highways and even some where I can't drive at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm terrified of driving and never drive outside of my small town and never over 35 mph.

I'm not saying you're completely wrong, because you're not. Just saying that there are already pretty many laws to keep us off the road. If I lied and got my license without doctor consent, I could get in an accident and be responsible for everything.

Narcolepsy is extremely misunderstood. I'm embarrassed to tell my friends that I even have it. Even "credible" sites disagree with each other. Many medications are too new for the public to understand. I only ask that you don't demonize us before getting all the facts.

Kevin: Hello, It sounds like we agree more than disagree. Driving with narcolepsy can be dangerous, but there are measures one can take to be safe on the road. Safety is paramount. We're also in agreement that narcolepsy is *extremely* misunderstood. More than any other condition I know of. We're trying to take steps to raise awareness of the condition, so that the needs of people with narcolepsy can be better understood, sympathized with, and addressed, including the need to get around in a motor vehicle. Does your last sentence imply that you think PWN have been demonized on the site? If so, please tell me where.

All the best in your quest to get a license and stay safe.

Is there anyone else out there in the process of trying to get a license with narcolepsy without cataplexy? Feel free to share your thoughts on the effort so far.


Comments for Getting My Driver's License With Narcolepsy Without Cataplexy

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Sep 28, 2011
Narcolepsy + 35 years driving and no accidents
by: Anonymous

Yes. I live in Australia. I have been driving for 35 years with narcolepsy (no cataplexy) and I have never had an accident because I am safe driver. I have also driven in the US, UK and Europe. No accidents. I have only been medicated for 10 years. I believe I am more aware of microsleeps than the average person on the road who drives long distances and keeps pushing on regardless of how tired they feel. I am also more aware of my condition than the person who remains undiagnosed.
I recently applied to renew my five-year licence. I was stupid enought to tick the box that said I had a sleep disorder. Since then, I have been subjected to several ridiculous scientific tests designed to test how long I can stay awake in bed, in a silent, darkened room --tests the average person would find hard to pass under those conditions. I have been asked stupid questions to match. I am sick of people quoting statistics in a world that is ruled by science where personal experience means nothing anymore. Why not persecute people with high cholesterol. They are at rick of having a coronary behind the wheel and are greater in number than people with narcolepsy? Why not target people with mental illness who road rage and harass those who drive safely, following the rules? What about all those out there who snore and probably have sleep apnoea, but do nothing about it and remain undiagnosed but driving? I am more than annoyed. I am now angry.

Oct 17, 2011
Sleepy scare
by: Anonymous

i believe my boyfriend has narcolepsy he wont take the test in fear of getting his license taken away, hes been in a lot of accidents too. but i dont believe cataplexyy to be the reason, just a new driver. i dont know how to get him to do it. any suggestions?

Dec 07, 2011
pissed off NEW
by: Anonymous

ok im 31 have been driving from the time i turned 16 and I got my CDL when i turned 18. now I know that i have had narcolepsy all my life but I just found out a year ago. and Im sure if I told my doc everything they would saw I have cataplexy to. heres the thing I started driving a semi at 18 and still to this day drive my semi every day for work. in my 13 YEARS of driving truck i have put on 1,435,000 miles the most that has happened is getting stopped for speeding. I am on meds and I have always knew when I needed to stop for a nap, and have taken lots of them over the years. people with narcolepsy i have found are more safe when driving because we know that we could fall asleep. i am sick of people saying that because i have narcolepsy i should be driving. and i always tell them that i have over a 1,000,000 miles with out even knowing i had it and with out meds. so dont tell me i CANT do it now with the meds. thats bs. thank you for reading have a good day.

Dec 26, 2011
Driving and narcolepsy without cataplexy systoms NEW
by: Anonymous

I have not been officially diagnosed with narcolepsy through the required testing. However, I have almost all the systoms. I have driven for the last five years. I have had one accident but, not because of my systoms or carelessness. The driver who hit me was rushing to work, this was almost three years ago. Since that time I have not had any incidents and have never even gotten a speeding ticket nor any other traffic ticket for reckless driving. I have recently experienced paralysis and the inability to speak at work which terrified me. I do not like driving at night though or at all.... if I do not have to. I recently stopped driving on the highway because I believe the potential to cause harm to myself and others would increase on the highway because of the high speeds and carelessness of others on the highways is more apt to occur on the highway then on the main roads. I would hate to lose my driving privileges but, just the other day I went to the emergency room and I saw a neurologist who said I should not drive until my treatment starts to manage my sleepiness and paralysis systoms. however, I must admit it will be difficult to give up driving because I have a demanding work regimen, and I desire to be as self sufficient as possible and driving affords me the ability to be totally self-reliant which I have alwyas been. If I lose my driving privileges it would be difficult at first but, if I hurt someone in the process of falling asleep behing the wheel I would be totally devastated for life.

Jul 18, 2012
17 yr. narcoleptic NEW
by: sleepysam

I've never driven in my life because my parents tell me ill kill myself. I was diagnosed when I was 13, depressing to know I can never enjoy the open roads. I just have one question . When they ask me if there's anything wrong with me. Can I just say no? Honestly, I've been treated with the same pill for a long time now& I'm alert just like everyone else. I haven't even taken classes for drivers ed. Yet my parents say its useless. I really wanna prove that a lie

Aug 15, 2012
confrence NEW
by: Beauty

Annual Narcolepsy Network Conference

Friday, October 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM - Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

Cleveland, OH

Dec 22, 2012
Narcoplexy WITH Cataplexy NEW
by: Anonymous

My former husband has both and is a truck driver.
He slipped through the loop holes and kept his license ask our 10 year old son how he feels when dad passes out while there driving?????
Not to mention my feelings when I learnt the episodes where still happening.
I am greatful we no longer live near him but worry for those that do.

Dec 22, 2012
Narcoplexy WITH Cataplexy NEW
by: Anonymous

My former husband has both and is a truck driver.
He slipped through the loop holes and kept his license ask our 10 year old son how he feels when dad passes out while there driving?????
Not to mention my feelings when I learnt the episodes where still happening.
I am greatful we no longer live near him but worry for those that do.

Feb 05, 2013
All my life but was just found out NEW
by: Ranger

Hello All,

Due to many other medical conditions I just found out that I have narcolepsy. The other conditions have made my narcolepsy worse than it was before.

I still have my license but one of the worlds top 5 doctor's for Celiac disease (he actually the first to know what I was dealing with along with Celiac disease)He told me: Never drive when you are tired, never drive when you are sleepy and never drive when your cognitive abilities are impaired. That I do not have to "take drugs", If I don't want to. But to always follow these rules. I very aware now of the days I cannot drive and I Do not drive on those days. It's a hard adjustment but that's life and I deal with it. I think every state is different. Be responsible to your self and everyone else on the road. This past month I've been able to drive 4 or 5 times...ouch...

If I do lose my license down the road, I would need to move to a place I could have a horse...

This past year I promised my doctor I would not drive for 5 months - until they figured out why I pass out -> sitting down -> never driving. I did not drive for 5 months...and I'm not interested in taking more drugs at this point...

Don't give up - just learn to know what your limits and abilities are...


Apr 15, 2013
17 Narcolepsy w/ Cataplexy NEW
by: DuffMan

I have been driving for at least a year now , i got my permit when i was 16... actually on my birthday, but i have been under control with medication for at least 9 years today not once seeing those dang hallucinations from when i was younger. Just to say you can get your license with permission from your family doctor, and from you sleep specialist. For all of you out their with narcolepsy and who are having trouble getting your license i wish you best of luck.

Jun 01, 2014
you should not think about driving a car NEW
by: Mark

my brother inlaw has this sleeping disease 6 car accidents in the last 2 years falling to sleep behind the wheel the bum should be in jail.sorry there are no excuses for falling asleep because you have a sickness. life can deal us up a bag of shit we have to cop it sweet. some one will get killed or badly injured because accidents not going to stop while he keeps driving. I went to crime stoppers and local police they don't give a rats. yes the family will hate me for awhile if I dob him in!! but if I get to save any of my family lives it will be worth being asshole.alot these people have homes familys to feed cars to pay off so they tend not to tell there doctors there falling asleep behind the wheel of a car truck what ever. I bet few of them can relate this message and still break the law. if you have this sickness and keep driving you are a murderer if you kill some one while driving

Dec 25, 2015
Scared NEW
by: Anonymous


I'm 14 and get my Ls in a few years. I have narcolepsy and cateplexy and have always dreamed about getting my liscence. I tend to fall asleep in the car while mum and dad are driving but I find that it's going to be different when ur in the drivers seat. I also live in Australia and we are very limited on what medication we can take for it, from what I've heard. Does anyone know what could help me when it come to getting my liscence?

Mar 22, 2017
Narcolepsy sucks NEW
by: Donnie

I guess it affects each person a little different. I actually did wreck behind the wheel due to narcolepsy that's how I figured out that's what I had. I was seeing a physician before the accident knowing something was wrong but didn't know what, he decided in his exact words "I don't think it's that big of a deal" to drive while knowing I was having a hard time staying awake and constantly tired. Because of him I was still forced to drive at minimum 2 hours a day because of my job or get fired for not showing up. Well I am 25 years old and was and still am living paycheck to paycheck (due to short term disability insurance from my job) and was forced to take the risk and make the drive, not to long after he said that I wrecked totaling my car and got charged for wreckless driving. I was then forced to go to court several times trying to get it dismissed since I had a medical reason just to get it reduced to improper driving at least. Now I owe the court $450 for the improper driving ticket which I only get $250 a week for short term disability which is about to run out and my license was taken away which keeps me from working. I live an hour from my normal job and in the country on 3rd shift so getting a ride or a taxi just isn't possible and getting another job would be impossible as well as you have to travel from here to work anywhere with still no taxi's that run out here. It has been 5 months since the accident and I have still not been put on any medication making it impossible to get my license back but all doctors around here are carilion based so switching doctors is not an option. My job has been nice enough to not fire me yet due to invested interest in me but its hard to tell how much longer that will last and money is getting ready to stop coming in. It is just my wife and I and she is just a daycare teacher so not much money is being brought in by her. So narcolepsy has my life spiraling to potentially homeless and it is killing me emotionally as well as physically never being able to go anywhere or do anything unless she is taking me when she is out of work. I have even tried applying at the daycare my wife works at just trying to be happy with any job I could get that way I could get a ride and they even told me that until medicated they didn't find it safe for me to work there. So narcolepsy is ruining my life I don't see how people do it every day it just forces me into a deeper depression honestly that I don't see a way out of. I know this is long but I had to vent somewhere as nobody I know really wants to listen to me and just thinks I am crazy or lazy when I want with everything I got just to go back to how life used to be at least.

Mar 27, 2017
Heartfelt Concern NEW
by: Anonymous

I hope you all are able to work through the issues you are having.

Donnie I don't know if moving to an area with great public transportation is something you and your wife would consider but it may be an option. A move could also place you both in a better to position to receive better insurance coverage options and open up greater medication possibilities for you in particular. I really hope you are all able to get what you need.

Our grandson is now 16yrs old and taking drivers ed. We will do whatever we can to help him get his license.

Dec 03, 2017
Facts NEW
by: Anonymous

The key to driving safely is awareness. We know can fall asleep. So, we Must Avoid driving sleepy. We MUST be treated with medications!!!! Must Be Treated with Medications!!!! YOU MUST TAKE YOUR MEDICINE. Ne FOOD SELECTIVE!!

Sugar is not my body's friend. Probably for you too. If you eat candy or cakes with sugar you go into a sugar rush. I fall asleep more suddenly with a sugar rush then Without taking medication. So when I get my license. I can't eat any snacks during the day. Not till I get home.

Do not be comfortable!!!! If you have a nice car. Turn the heat on. Plush seats your going to sleep. Your going to sleep. You Will fall asleep even on your meds. Keep your windows down. Set the heat Extremely LOW To help keep you ALERT!

Drive the speed limit! Don't be going over and have cataplexy lose control!!

Pay attention to Pedestrians. While driving pay attention at the red light. Dont be on your phone texting for that short time!!!!

Dating: Dont be playing around with your significant other at the wheel. Times have changed now. People doing all kinds of things.... That might cause you to fall asleep. Save it for the bedroom!!! Or pull over- You horn dog!I don't know about older people but for us younger folks - Facts😂

Take your nap between 12pm and 1pm. Pay attention from 3p and 4pm. Take shorter trips dor these times. You know we have issues during the day. Daytime sleepiness is a specific time we trouble with alertness. At night Im like a kangeroo jumping on and off everything. I feeeel gooood dindindindindin I do what I want! So good! So good!!😂😂

You shouldn't drive long trips at all. But if you take a short nap in between long trios youll be fine. Drive with someone.

Dec 03, 2017
Driven Before NEW
by: Anonymous

I have driven before. I took drivers ed. I got tired on the high way on the way back. But I stayed focus and I pushed myself. We wete on the highway. Heavy traffic. First time i drove over 35-45mph ayyy. It was so fun. But i felt like i was getting sleepy. So i stayed alert. Alert meaning like telling myself stay up lets go!!

Hey and by the way WORK CAN SLOW YOU DOWN. If you want to work a job that isnt so strenous that would help you be able to drive more safely. If your work exhaustes you. Youll have to sleep before you get 5pm rush traffic. You be ready to go home.

Theres a company called with a sunami of work from home jobs. Check it out.

But with my drivers ed I did good. Didn't fall asleep. Took my meds i was fine.

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