A deep interest, both lay and professional, has always been manifested in the various states of morbid unconsciousness, especially when not associated with other obvious disturbances of health. To an involuntary, profound, unaccountable and especially more or less prolonged state of apparent sleep has always been assigned a certain element of mystery. While the mystery, at least in the transcendental sense, has largely faded, the interest and obscurity remain and there is recognized at present a group of cases with every gradation of intensity between moderately excessive somnolence and a stupor from which no amount of stimulation will arouse the patient; and varying in duration from a few minutes to several months. It is understood that the coma of gross brain disease, drug narcosis, etc., is excluded. A considerable number of these cases have been of toxemic origin. The narcotic toxin, in some cases, such as the persistent drowsiness which
McCASKEY GW. HYSTERIC LETHARGY WITH REPORT OF CASES. JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(10):594–595. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24610100016001d
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