PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sleeping Beauty Syndrome is a rare condition that strikes mainly teenagers and causes them to sleep or be in a trance for days, sometimes even weeks, at a time.
Scientists still don’t know a lot about this mysterious condition. They say it’s almost like a bear in hibernation; young people who sleep for long periods of time, or are just out of it.
Delanie Weyer is adventurous. She fishes, travels, skydives, like many 23-year-olds, she wants to experience the world, but at 18, something happened on a school trip that wouldn’t be explained until years later.
“I was sleeping a lot. When I was awake, I was delusional,” she said. Weyer barely remembers.
It would go on to happen another four times over the course of five years.
“I sleep anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a day,” Weyer said. “I just have no motivation to do anything — a very depressed feeling.”
During an episode, she only gets up to eat, drink and use the restroom. The last one lasted five weeks.
“I’m the typical mom that would make her, force her, to get up and she’s very irritable and again the blank stare,” her mother Jean said. “I question, was she lying to me? Was she being lazy? Was she taking some kind of drug?”
Delanie saw all kinds of doctors and was finally diagnosed with Kleine–Levin syndrome. “It is real,” said Dr. Ranji Varghese. “It is not precipitated by any psychiatric problems. It is not precipitated by bad behaviors. It’s not laziness. It is a brain dysfunction.”
In the 500 documented cases of the syndrome, it typically happens in teenage boys and they can grow out of it. “We don’t know what really causes this,” Dr. Varghese said. “We have some ideas that it might be some sort of inflammatory process in the brain, but no one’s ever been able to figure that out.”
What Delanie has missed while having the episodes stays on her mind. “I’ve missed major life events. I’ve missed a Thanksgiving. I’ve missed an Easter. I missed my grandpa’s 85th birthday. I missed my 21st birthday because I was in an episode.”
There is no cure and medication can decrease the number of and intensity of the episodes