The term “brain fog” has been cropping up a lot in the past recent years, yet the actual definition or condition is still unclear to many of us. With the surge in COVID-19 infections in the past couple of years, this condition has also seemed to be more common than ever, mainly as one of the many overhaul symptoms of the viral infection – causing cloudy-headedness, lack of concentration, forgetfulness and more. This article explains what “brain fog” is all about, including its common causes, as well as its diagnosis and preventative solutions.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is not technically a medical condition. It is rather a term used to describe certain symptoms that affect a person’s ability to think clearly. The condition is usually characterised by an array of complications relating to nervous or mental health, including confusion, forgetfulness, heavy-headedness, and a lack of concentration or focus and mental clarity. Some people describe the condition as mental fatigue as well. Also Read: 5 Best Practices For Better Mental Health
It has been demonstrated that people who are infected with viral infections like COVID-19 or people dealing with chronic stress are susceptible to this condition. In addition to this, overworking, lack of sleep and spending too much time on the computer can also cause brain fog in a person. On a cellular level, brain fog is believed to be caused by high levels of inflammation and changes in hormonal levels that determine your mood, energy and focus. Also, brain fog syndrome can lead to other conditions such as obesity, abnormal menstruation, and diabetes mellitus. Depending on the severity of brain fog, it can interfere with your daily tasks. Fortunately, brain fog does not have to be a permanent fixture in your life.
What Causes Brain Fog?
As mentioned, it is not just one specific factor that causes brain fog to happen. In fact, studies have shown that there are several factors and explanations behind the condition. Identifying the underlying cause can be a great way to help fix the problem. Here are some of the common causes of brain fog:
- Chronic Stress
Feeling mentally drained out once in a while is completely a normal part of life. However, if you have been anxious, stressed out, or feeling blue for a continuous period, this could affect your nervous system and cause your brain to fog. This is because depression, anxiety, and even extreme stress can be mentally exhausting. These feelings can steal your focus from your day-to-day activities. Also Read: How Stress Affects Your Skin & What to do About It
- Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is also one of the many factors contributing to brain fog. This is because sleep deprivation can seriously affect your memory and concentration. Getting an adequate amount of sleeptime allows your brain to rest and recover so it can function at its best when you are awake. Try to set a routine that allows you 7 hours of sleep and stick to it.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Studies have suggested that hormonal changes are also among the many reasons behind a person experiencing brain fog. These studies have shown that fluctuation in the levels of estrogen and progestin can dull a person’s focus, which is usually experienced during pregnancy. This imbalance can affect memory and cause short-term cognitive impairment. Similarly, a drop in estrogen levels during menopause can cause forgetfulness, poor concentration, and cloudy thinking.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The human body needs a wide range of nutrients to function efficiently. And nutrient like vitamin B12 is extremely important for maintaining healthy nerves and blood. That said, not getting enough vitamin B12 can bring about brain fog in a person. Apart from this, deficiency in B12 can also lead to muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in hands, legs, or feet, difficulty walking and feeling exhausted.
Certain medications may also trigger brain fog as their side effect. Medicines called anticholinergics, such as Oxybutynin (Ditropan), Amitriptyline (Elavil) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), are known to cause brain fog in a person. These medications block the effects of a neurotransmitter in the brain and make it difficult to think clearly. Brain fog can also crop up after cancer treatments. This is often referred to as chemo brain.
- Medical conditions
Studies have also found that certain medical conditions that are associated with inflammation, fatigue, or changes in blood glucose level can also cause brain fog. People who are dealing with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia may experience brain fog on a frequent basis.
Other conditions that may cause brain fog include Anemia, Depression, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Hypothyroidism, Autoimmune diseases, like Lupus, Arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis, Dehydration, and viral infections, like COVID-19
Tips for Relieving Brain Fog
Addressing the underlying cause or factor is the key to effectively combating brain fog. Consulting a medical professional and discussing your symptoms and medical conditions you have can help you find the best and right treatment for this condition. Nonetheless, sometimes, relieving brain fog is a matter of getting adequate nutrition, switching medications, or improving the quality of your sleep.
So here are a few simple steps you can take to help combat and relieve any signs of brain fog:
- Get enough sleep: Getting good, restful sleep is vital for your brain and body to recharge and eliminate unhealthy toxins that can trigger brain fog. Make it a point to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Try meditation: Meditation can help reduce stress and relax your brain and body.
- Try new things: Keep your mind engaged with mentally stimulating activities and make an effort to challenge yourself with new adventurous things. This can help increase the production of a brain chemical called norepinephrine, which stimulates the brain.
- Be socially active: Participating in social activities can improve your mood, memory, and cognition.
- Exercise regularly: Staying physically active can improve your mental health.
- Follow a healthy diet: A healthy, nutritious diet, can help with memory, cognition, and brain health.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: These substances can impair your senses and adversely affect your brain.
- Try Preserva’s Natural Mental Health Boosters: Formulated using powerful herbs and potent superfoods, Preserva Wellness’ herbal-based mental health boosters, which include Stresaway Tablets, Daily Calm Tea and Blue Pea Tea are the answer to a healthy, enhanced nervous system. The unique combination of potent ingredients is clinically designed to help clear the mind, improve memory, enhance brain function and naturally relieve stress and anxiety in a safe and effective manner. These unique trios are formulated using real ingredients that are carefully sourced for their unique and powerful therapeutic benefits. They are 100% plant-based, sugar-free, no chemicals, no GMOs and completely safe for consumption. Also Read: Curcumin To Help Your Body Adjust To Stress And Anxiety
The Bottom Line
Brain fog can be a frustrating experience that can affect the quality of your everyday life. However, it is important to know that relief is possible. That said, make sure to consult with a healthcare provider if you are noticing any symptoms so that you can get the right treatment plans at the earliest.