Quick Facts

  • The ability to initiate activities and see them through to completion is an important skill for everyday life
  • Initiation & motivation are considered executive functions regulated by the frontal lobes
  • Adynamia is the term used to describe the lack of motivation. It is very common after brain injury and is not the same as laziness
  • Initiation is an important part of motivation; you need to get started in order to complete a task

What does it
look like?

  • Difficulty getting started with a task or activity
  • May have difficulty following through once an activity is started
  • Does not always mean the person feels unmotivated; he/she may talk about their plans and know what they want to do, yet they don’t know how to start the activity

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Often due to injury of frontal lobe
  • Adynamia can be confused with other aspects of ABI such as fatigue and depression

Possible complications:

  • Difficulties with motivation can make an impact on aspects of recovery such as rehabilitation, learning coping skills, social functioning and a return to work/study
  • Social isolation because individuals may not have the motivation to go out or call a friend

What can we do?

  • Structure and routine will help with individuals complete activities
  • Use prompts to start and continue activities (e.g. alarm clocks, mobile phones, and visual reminders)
  • Find activities that are interesting and will increase motivation and interest
  • Engaging in the activity with the person may help them get started and keep them involved
  • Break tasks down; smaller steps and checklists can make the task seem less overwhelming
  • Structure and remove clutter from the environment
  • Schedule events with built-in rest periods, create task lists, and keep the environment free of distractions
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle that includes sleep, regular exercise, avoiding/limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy diet, and maintaining social contact

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.