On Earth, Chronic Hypersomnism or CHS is an exceptionally rare disease. Its rarity is such that only 113 people in Australia have the disease and 3,076 in the United States. Although sometimes confused with motor neuron disease, it is about 10 times rarer on Earth. It is also sometimes confused with dementia, but it is a distinct disease. Its most common victims are people aged 5-25 and older than 70, but it can affect anyone. It is a relatively unknown disease.
CHS can be triggered by a traumatic event. Often, it’s caused by a dreamwalking accident. The mind becomes obsessed with an idea or a memory and gets trapped in a repetitive thought pattern. This is damaging and the body tries to use sleep to restore brain function. The scientific community does not know why CHS happens, but they know that it often comes after a traumatic event. Knowledge about CHS is still remembered by some communities.
Affects, Progression and Prognosis
At the start, CHS patients experience occasional, extreme, difficulty concentrating on taxing cognitive tasks and have repetitive, bleak, dreams of doing menial labour.
After about a week, the patient will collapse suddenly and be unconscious for ½-1 hour. Over the next few months, symptoms gradually worsen; sleeping periods lengthen, fainting spells increase and patients become more fatigued during the day.
After a year, symptoms usually stabilise. At this point, patients can’t study or work normally. They may be unable to do either. Symptoms come and go in an unpredictable cycle. Sometimes, a patient is asleep for five days straight and feel fine when they wake up. The dreams, according to CHS patients, continue to get worse, however. A side effect of CHS is the atrophy of the muscles, due to the patient’s inactivity. This only compounds the problem of extreme fatigue. This stage of CHS is the longest and typically lasts between 7 and 20 years. About a third of CHS patients recover to live normal-length lives. CHS does not kill during this stage.
The last stage of CHS leads to death for 95% of patients who enter it. Patients nearly uniformly die around the two-year mark of their symptoms worsening. Symptoms are often compared to late-stage dementia. Patients experience extreme confusion, lose their sense of direction completely, have chronic fatigue, have trouble forming short-term memories or remembering long-term ones and lose fine motor function. The main difference are the temporary and frequent comas. This necessitates out-of-home care if not already needed. Symptoms grow worse over the last two years with periods of normal function diminishing.
The typical CHS patient experienced their first symptoms at around 6 years old. They usually have to drop most of their studies and spend most of their lives in hospital for the next 10-ish years. They reach stage four by their mid-teens and are dead by 20. They have about a 35% per cent chance of recovery. The second most common CHS patient has their first symptoms between 65 and 70 years old. They spend the next ten to twenty years in aged care and are dead before. They are often confused for dementia sufferers. They are the least likely to recover, as treatment is less effective on them, at only 10%. People who get CHS between 25 and 60 are the most likely to recover. They have the highest chance of recovery, at 60%, but only make up 10% of CHS patients.
Final Cause of Death
CHS patients die in one of two ways.
- They go to sleep and never wake up. The mind dies first and the body is often kept alive by machines for a short period.
- Automatic, involuntary functions shut down. Either
- Their heart stops.
- Their lungs stop.
- Their spit-swallowing reflex stops.
Standard treatment to reduce the symptoms of CHS is a combination of stimulants and exercise. This combats fatigue and muscle atrophy. While it improves patients’ quality of life, it is unknown if this treatment prolongs life, due to the small number of people with CHS. However, mortality-rates for CHS have declined from 95% to 67% since this procedure was first implemented in the 1990s. Since this treatment was implemented, however, some people who recover from CHS report a continued reliance on stimulants and many hours of exercise a week to function normally, leading researchers to believe that it doesn’t cure the underlying problem. Which is correct. Some traditional groups have different beliefs about CHS, but this is not well studied. Any ‘treatment’ not truly from either of these is certain to be completely ineffective and fraudulent.
The only cure for CHS is to dreamwalk inside a person's mind and break the cycle. This is nearly impossible by the fourth stage.
Recovering former CHS patients need months of rehabilitation to rebuild their muscles (having been inactive for years) and allow their mind to heal.
- Main article: Chronic Hypersomnism in Coracan
Because of the different structure of Coracan, CHS is vastly more common than on Earth.