Since Gélineau described narcolepsy in 1880, the recognition of this disorder as a distinct entity has been much disputed. By some it has been considered a symptom-complex occurring with epilepsy or hysteria.
In narcolepsy the patient not only drops off to sleep at frequent and often at most inopportune times, but also he may experience a sudden feeling of weakness, even paralysis, from emotional disturbance, especially laughter, and the lower limbs may give way beneath him. This has been described as the cataleptic paralysis of Henneberg or as blockage of tonus. There is also a persistent muscular asthenia which is present even after the night's sleep. The patient may go to sleep while walking in the street or eating, or even when his position may expose him to great danger of death, as in case 2, in which a locomotive fireman would fall asleep while holding to the grabirons by
SPILLER WG. NARCOLEPSY OCCASIONALLY A POSTENCEPHALITIC SYNDROME. JAMA. 1926;86(10):673–674. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02670360013005