Ah the Blessings of the Internet. Not one word of any of this from my own medicos. The Internet provides info which has enabled me to go on. Thank God for the people who contribute !
Fatigue, which is what people with brain injury often experience.
Everything takes effort. The energy for the whole day is often consumed completely within two hours. There are many brain injury survivors who have insomnia on top of this all. Another group of brain injury survivors have an increased need for sleep. But the resemblance is FATIGUE.
Mental fatigue is different from physical fatigue. We can all get a picture when talking about physical fatigue. Being tired after an exercise, after a brisk walk, after strenuous physical labor, after housework and so on.
Mental fatigue comes in thinking processes, learning and information processing, watching television extensively, doing computer actvities, but also solving problems, interpreting the behavior of other people and thinking logically.
A healthy person can also be mentally tired of all such functions if it is intense and long enough. Healthy people can also come to a point that they become annoyed when the “energy” is low, and especially if that mental activity was filled with noise. It seems as if you can not tolerate radio or TV, or something like that, anymore.
With brain injury survivors that is many times worse. The mental energy is already used after a short time. They use more parts of the brain, because the dead area must be passed by, in the communication between brain cells.
More brain activity in brain injury patients
Scientists have discovered that the brain of a brain injured works harder and uses more brain cells. To process information more nerve activity is shown. They try to make more interconnections to brain cells.
More brain areas are involved in activities than before the brain injury. That difference can be seen with PET scans. Parts in the brain that normally show little activity in the conduct of an activity, become actively involved in the thinking process after a brain injury.
This requires many extra bypasses and energy. Therefore, the reaction is often a bit slower on a brain injured person and it requires more energy. For each brain signal between brain cells, needs electricity to be generated and that takes energy. It can make someone really tired.
Fatigue management is the starting point for a recovery. In order to manage fatigue, a person first need to accept that he or she does not have the same physical and mental stamina that he or she had before the brain injury.