This is certainly nothing new. While working on my BA in Psychology back in the ’60s, I read about sleep studies that, if my memory serves me, were done at the U. of Wisconsin (though I could be wrong). People who were kept awake, or repeatedly woken up, for several days reported that they began to have strange thoughts and hallucinations.
There have been people who’ve tried to stay awake to break records for doing so. Peter Tripp was a Top-40 countdown radio personality from the mid-1950s, whose career peaked with his 1959 record breaking 201 hour wakeathon (working on the radio non-stop without sleep to benefit the March of Dimes). Six years after Tripp’s record, it was smashed by high school student Randy Gardner, who lasted 11 days. They were both reported to suffer psychologically.
I believe that MANY otherwise normal people have been misdiagnosed as “schizophrenic” when it was really only sleep deprivation that caused their strange behavior. This has led many to be put on a lifetime of harmful and disabling drugs, rendering them unable to drive or have jobs, and thus putting more and more on welfare. We as a society are paying the price for this, in many ways.
…and no, I don’t see why anyone would want to induce sleep deprivation to test more drugs!