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My 13 Year Old Son Looks Dazed During The Day

My son is 13 years old and for the past 4 months he has been sleeping a lot and looking spaced out or dazed while awake. I have taken him to the our family doctor and two pediatrician in order to get some clarity in his behaviour, as well to get a second opinion.

The doctors have ruled out mono and liver problems. Our family doctor has only said he has his iron low but that can't be causing all the effects that my son is experiencing. He could be talking to you and all of a sudden he falls asleep. He could be having dinner and all of a sudden he looses his balance and falls off the chair. He sometimes looks like he's looking at you and his eyes are spaced out and his mouth is semi open.

My son has complained that he feels weak and at times lack energy. He has also mentioned that his sides hurts (stomach), which the doctors looked into the liver.

I am quite concerned with this because my son has always been extremely athletic and energetic. Though I understand, some signs are due to puberty, I also know there's something wrong. I do not want to believe he has some kinds of brain problem or unbalanced mentally but it does worry me alot. I also do not want to come across as a crazy mom but we all know are children well. This is not how my son was, please help!

Kevin: Hi there, thanks for sharing your story. From a sleep disorder perspective, I suggest looking into narcolepsy and sleep apnea and see if any symptoms or risk factors there match up with your son. Both include excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) as a main symptom. When you say "He could be talking to you and all of a sudden he falls asleep" it sounds like cataplexy, which is a primary symptom of narcolepsy, so I would focus my attention looking into that. Not all doctors are familiar with these types of sleep disorders (although they should be), so seeking out doctors with a sleep background may prove very helpful in getting you on the right track. Narcolepsy typically onsets in adolescence, and it is actually quite common (about 1 in 2,000 people in the U.S have it), so if your son does end up having it, there are treatment options as well as support groups that can help him cope with it.

Less likely based on what you described is restless legs syndrome--I only mention it because you mentioned his iron count is down and RLS is the sleep disorder tied most with iron deficiency.

I wish you and your son all the best. Please feel free to update your progress with him using the comments section below.


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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