Society dangerously unaware of long-term effects of brain injury

Chronic fatigue caused by traumatic brain injury is dangerously misunderstood by the general public, a new study has revealed.

The finding forms part of brain injury charity Headway’s new research, entitled Brain Drain – Wake up to the fatigue campaign, which looks into the issue of chronic fatigue among those living with a brain injury.

Chronic fatigue – or excessive tiredness – is an extremely common symptom of a traumatic brain injury, often causing the individual to feel unusually tired almost all of the time. This can have a significant knock on effect on the way people think and live their lives, for example, avoiding social activities and relationships.

According to the report, nine in 10 (90 per cent) brain injury survivors’ lives are “negatively affected by pathological fatigue.

However, 80 per cent of those say their lives and mental wellbeing could be improved if people had a better understanding of their condition.

For example, 70 per cent of respondents said they have been “unfairly judged or treated” as a result of people not understanding the symptoms of chronic fatigue.

Commenting on the report, Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said: “It is clear that there is a distinct lack of understanding of pathological fatigue across the UK.

“As a society, we need to wake up and recognise the debilitating effects fatigue can have on people living with the long-term effects of brain injury.

“It’s very concerning that so many of the people we support have told us they feel they have been unfairly treated due to their condition.”

He added: “Fatigue can exacerbate many other cognitive and behavioural effects of brain injury, worsening short-term memory, making word-finding and speech much harder, and resulting in increased anger and irritation.”

 

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