Littell's Living Age/Volume 128/Issue 1653/Miscellany

The Warning Symptoms of Sleeplessness — It is of course premature to offer any remarks on the "tragedy at Norwich," but there can be no objection to urging very strenuously upon hospital surgeons and practitioners generally, who are not specially familiar with the symptoms of mind and brain disease, the imperative necessity of treating "sleeplessness" as a warning symptom. A "curious patient," so described because he does not sleep, should be at once placed under proper supervision, for his own sake and the safety of those around him. Inability to sleep, remarks the Lancet, is one of the most significant indications of a condition of nervous irritability or mental excitement which may at any moment assume the form of uncontrollable violence. Delirium tremens, traumatic delirium, and the most dangerous forms of mania are all prone to give this warning token of their presence, and scarcely any other. Without in the least prejudging the case now sub judice, we venture to bespeak the attention of the profession and the public for a matter of daily importance, unfortunately impressed afresh upon the notice of everybody by this terrible lesson in blood.