Ask a Neurologist. Get Answers to Your Neurology Questions.
Hi, I am an American Board Certified Neurologist and I am very glad to help you with your health concerns.
I have answered your questions one be one below;
1. Is it possible I've caused permanent damage and will not return to normal brain functioning?
No, sleep deprivation is not expected to cause permanent brain damage, even if it is of prolonged in duration. There is no evidence to show that sleep deprivation can cause a permanent damage to the brain.
2. Can the brain heal or repair itself from a period of sleep deprivation that I described?
Whatever brain damage may have been occurred by sleep deprivation is supposed to be reversible in nature. The brain will heal by itself although this can take long time. But full recovery is expected since sleep deprivation is not known to cause permanent brain damage. During the recovery stage you may try to obtain as much sleep as possible which will also help the repair process. Also you may try nutritional supplements like ALA (Alpha lipoic acid), Acetyl Carnitine and multivitamin preparations etc which can also help in rapid recovery from this type of reversible damage.
Please let me know if you have any further questions; and if you feel you have received the answer to your question please rate me so that I can receive credit for the time and effort put by me in answering your question.