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Many Americans with disabilities face each day with a fundamental disadvantage: fatigue. Fatigue drains the central nervous systems of persons with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury, post-polio syndrome, and many other disabilities.
Fatigue first taxes the central nervous system when the body must repeatedly resend misdirected nerve impulses. Secondarily, fatigue requires a person with limited mobility to use a lot of extra energy ambulating, communicating, and just working through normal activities in each day: dressing, eating, bathing, and thinking. When those abilities are compromised, the devastating effect of fatigue is, in many cases, the most debilitating symptom of any disease. The overall effect can lead to curtailing activities, especially when it comes to recreation and exercise.
As someone with multiple sclerosis, I've had to learn to pace myself, make sure I get enough sleep, and pay attention to my diet. For instance, a high-protein diet boosts energy, while sugar, after its initial boost, causes the nervous system to crash.
Several fatigue medications, when prescribed by a doctor, may give you back a couple more hours of daylight, though leave you even more depleted when they wear off. Examples of fatigue medications include mild amphetamines, such as Amantadine, Modafinil, and Pemoline; anti-depressants such as Celexa; and Ritalin, a medication prescribed for hyperactive children. There is also Provigil, a medication prescribed for narcolepsy.