Rare condition makes teen collapse when she laughs

(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

A girl who suffers from a rare brain condition called cataplexy, collapses every time she experiences any strong emotion.

Billie Hodgson faints each time she laughs and has to avoid her funny friends.

“I’m a bubbly person so to go from that to feeling like I can’t laugh is really strange,” the 17-year-old from Sheffield, South Yorks, tells Daily Star.

“My friends try not to be funny and if they make me laugh they feel like they have to apologise.”

According to Billie, even just overall excitement triggers it.

“When I’m with them, I tend not to be involved in funny situations.

“General excitement triggers it and since I was diagnosed, the triggers have become more sensitive.”

Billie, who lives with her mom Sharon and sister Harley, was only diagnosed with cataplexy last year. She found herself grounded every time she laughed during her school years, reports the Mirror.

There is currently no cure for cataplexy and the only treatment for the condition involves taking daily medication to control it. 

“I remember once walking through school with a friend and we were laughing, then I just fell to my knees,” Billie recalls of her first episode. 

“At first we didn’t think it was that serious and the doctor told me everyone shakes when they laugh.” 

Her diagnosis brought mixed emotions, she says.

“I was relieved that I finally knew what it was and could start treatment, but at the same time scared because I didn’t know how much it would affect my life.”

According to the Daily Mail, cataplexy affects people who suffer from the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which impacts the brain’s ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle.

Patients spend a lot of time awake in bed and suffer bouts of extreme sleepiness throughout the day.

A sufferer of the condition often stays fully conscious during mild and severe attacks but feels trapped inside their body.

Source: Daily Star, Mirror, Daily Mail



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