Slurred Speech After an Argument: What's Sleep Got to Do With It?

July 16, 2014

After an argument with a colleague, a 28-year-old graduate student appears "drunk" in class. What happened on the way to the lecture?

A 28-year-old graduate student complains of the recent onset of episodes of sudden jaw weakness following heightened emotions such as laughter or anger. She is very distressed, and has been avoiding emotionally laden situations to prevent the occurrence of these spells. Her advisor recently revealed that colleagues had complained that she appeared “drunk,” as she had slurred speech in class following an argument.

The most likely explanation for these episodes is: