Day of overstimulation

All human beings have the right to get the opportunity to participate in public life.

On Tuesday June 23 2020, the International Day of Overstimulation will take place. This special day was launched in 2017 by our foundation to help raise awareness for the symptom of overstimulation caused by brain injury.

The 2020 theme is "severe overstimulation closes doors permanently". This means that, even though the lock down because of Corona ends, for these people the lock down because of overstimulation still remains.


Brain injury usually causes permanent damage to the brain. It can be a result of an external trauma, for example due to an accident, or a disorder in the body itself. Many people with a brain injury have to deal with sensory overstimulation. Sensory overstimulation happens when what used to be a normal level of sensory stimulation (which is information coming into your brain from your five senses) now causes an excessive response in the brain injured person's nervous system.


Healthy people are usually able to control the continuous flow of stimuli by filters in their brain, but many people with brain injury or other brain-related disorders aren't able to control the flow anymore because their filters are damaged. They are extremely sensitive to light, visual patterns, odor, movements and sound (!), especially for background noise. Also, because cognitive stimuli can also be affected (which are thoughts and things that happen from within the brain), maintaining concentration and using your memory can also be very difficult.

People with brain injuries may notice that their lives have changed dramatically since they got their brain injury. 


People suffering from overstimulation can find it incredibly hard to go out in public. They often see their social life deteriorate as a consequence. Sometimes overstimulation or this symptom combined with many others makes working in the same job too straining. A brain injured person may need to change job or career path, at least for a while, to something that is easier for them to do. Some are unable to work at all.


Simply put, sensory overstimulation is exhausting. There are even many people who cannot handle a hospital treatment because of the overstimulation and therefore have to choose to let life-saving interventions pass by. As a recognized advocacy organization we are passionate about increasing the awareness of the radical consequences of this symptom with the Day of Overstimulation.



Some Facts About Overstimulation:

  • Every year an estimated 160,000 new people in the Netherlands alone (a country with 17 million inhabitants) suffer from a form of brain injury as a result of an accident or due to a brain haemorrhage, cerebral infarction, brain tumor, brain inflammation and so on.
  • A large part of this group suffers from sensory and cognitive overstimulation symptoms as a result of the brain injury they suffered.
  • Many people end up in social isolation because they can no longer fully participate in their family, work and social life due to this debilitating symptom.
  • People who are less able or unable to communicate due to their brain injury, for example due to aphasia,  have greater difficulty making it clear to others that they cannot stand noise, light or a busy environment.


In the media and in the waiting room

The effects of overstimulation on a person's daily life, both in the short and in the long term, are often very difficult to understand. We believe it is crucial to to ask for understanding. The Foundation for Brain Injury Explanation works to raise awareness for all of these symptoms and issues, and create easy to share and understand content that will increase the level of effective communication for everyone who suffers from a brain injury. After all, if people are less able to communicate because of their brain injury, how will they speak for themselves, who will give them a voice? We wish to help give them that voice with this Day of Overstimulation.


The foundation hopes to receive international support via social media, television and by organisations that wil share this message with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, individual practictioners, and request them to do the following:

  • Attach the poster to the wall of your waiting rooms or treatment rooms; if possible put the poster (see top of the page) and the video (see end of the page) on your internet/intranet site etc.
  • Out of solidarity, turn the music and the screens in the waiting rooms completely off on June 23 *.
  • If possible, dim the lights a little, a nice symbolic gesture ...
  • Ask your telephone service provider to switch off the standby music for one day on June 23 *.
  • Ask your staff to wear shoes with soft soles instead of high heels on June 23.


These are small gestures of solidarity which have great significance for the people living with overstimulation cause by brain injury.

For more information on this day you can send a message to, or you can check our FAQ page.


More information about overstimulation, and the disabling consequences of this can be found here and on our separate website for more information.

If your patients have questions about this day, please refer them to the page and the website above.


About our foundation

Brain injury explanation was made through a collaboration between people from the three sides of brain injury:

  1. people with a brain injury,
  2. caregivers,
  3. professionals.

These three groups work together to spread in-depth knowledge about brain injury. Our goal as a non-profit organization is to give people living with a brain injury and those in their community the best information, so that they can get the best care available.

Project Overstimulation is a project of our foundation FBIE.


We are not in favor of treatment programs against overstimulation unless there is scientific research that has been conclusively proven effective.


Thank you for your time and your consideration, we hope you will choose to be part of raising awareness for a very important cause.

From the entire team of Brain Injury Explanation - Thank you!


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