People who have experienced episodes in which they felt almost as if there is some sort of barrier between them and the rest of the world think that their feelings are unusual or unique. In fact, this type of symptom is associated with a number of medical conditions. While it can be scary, it is important to answer the question of what is brain fog and how can it be dealt with effectively.
What is Brain Fog?
Known by many names, it is simply a condition in which it becomes very difficult to concentrate. For some, it seems as if all the sights and sounds around them are running together into some sort of incomprehensible jumble. For others, they can sense that someone is speaking to them, but the words simply don’t make sense. In other situations, it takes longer for the brain to process the words, comprehend their meaning, and begin to formulate a reply.
Short Term Causes?
This sort of cognitive disconnect can occur when something is not quite right with the rest of the body and the mind. In some cases, the origin is some sort of issue that can be alleviated with relative ease. At other times, the disconnect from the rest of the world will require an extended treatment of the underlying problem.
Do you get enough sleep? People can experience short-term bouts of brain confusion due to a lack of sleep. Without the recuperative rest needed to promote physical well being and mental clarity, the brain will become overworked and unable to function as it should.
Are you feeding your brain? What you eat and when you eat it has a huge impact on your brain and its ability to function. New research has linked a diet high in saturated fat to neuron damage and has linked meal timings to fluctuations in performance. Best advice – eat a regular balanced diet.
Allergies? Eating a food your are allergic to or suffering from an allergy can also trigger this phenomenon in your brain. A good way to identify any damaging foods or external factors so you can avoid them is to keep a brief diary. Record how ‘fuzzy’ you felt at a particular time and note down what foods or other changes were involved. Over a short time you will spot any clear culprits and can cut them out to see if it helps clearer thinking.
Are you drinking enough water? Dehydration can take it’s toll on your brain function too. Studies have found that brain tissue shrinks with prolonged states of low water intake and reduces your ability to plan and process information. make sure you drink regularly throughout the day.
Are you stressed? Prolonged periods of stress have been shown to have a detrimental affect on brain function. Identifying that you are stressed is the first step to dealing with it. Eating well and sleeping enough can help to reduce stress but you may like to try exercise and meditation too to reduce your stress levels.
In each of these situations, it is possible to take quick action to reverse the problem and the fog will go away.
Can Chronic Illnesses Be the Underlying Cause?
Chronic health issues can also be the origin of this type of cognitive difficulty. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may experience this phenomenon when blood glucose levels begin to dip dangerously low or reach extremely high levels. Donna Gibson writes a detailed article on supporting brain fog caused by diabetes. A malfunctioning thyroid gland in the form of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can also make perceptions extremely foggy. Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia patients are also likely to experience this type of inability to remain mentally sharp as one of the symptoms of the disease.
What About Mental Disorders?
Emotional illnesses can also serve as the underlying cause of the condition. Moderate to severe depression certainly has an adverse effect on the function of the brain and the production of the neurotransmitters that are needed to ensure mental equilibrium and clarity. Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with some type of anxiety or panic disorder knows all too well that period of feeling removed from what it happening around them are all too common.
Can Medications Produce this Phenomenon?
Medications and medical treatments used to treat different kinds of ailments may produce mental fatigue or fog as one of the side effects. In fact, some of the medications used to treat the underlying cause may actually increase the fog. For example, sleeping pills may help the patient get to sleep and achieve some level of recuperative rest, but leaves the individual with a diminished capacity to concentrate the following morning.
The medications that are most likely to produce this effect have to do with the suppression of a neurotransmitter known as acetycholine. When not present in sufficient quantities, cognitive abilities are slowed considerably. Many of the medications that have the potential to increase the fogginess will begin with anti as part of their names. Richard C. Moths, PhD has compiled a list of medications that can cause memory problems, these can be found in his article here.
Even important treatments like chemotherapy can trigger a lack of mental clarity. While necessary to help destroy cancer cells in the body, the fog can be one of the side effects that occur due to the trauma to the body and mind.
Recovering Full Cognitive Ability
There are several ways to deal with this type of disconcerting phenomenon. Changing medications or adjusting the dosage of the current medication can sometimes help. When the issue is due to a short-term health problem, healing from that condition will lead to the disappearance of all symptoms, including brain fog. When the issue has to do with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels within a reasonable range will go a long way in getting rid of that sense of experiencing the world through a wall of cellophane.
Can Supplements Help?
Supplements can sometimes be used to deal with the both the underlying cause and get rid of the fog. For example, the B vitamins are among the best supplements for brain fog, since they promote a balance in the production of neurotransmitters that lead to mental equilibrium. This can be especially helpful for people with depression or some type of anxiety disorder.
Omega-3 products like cold processed fish oils are also great brain fog supplements that can help to restore a stressed nervous system. When combined with a diet that relies mainly on fresh fruits and vegetables, the right type of oils, and lean protein sources, the chances of regaining mental clarity are quite good. For more information on supplements to support brain function read my article here or go to my product review page to research more on brain health products available.
The bottom line is that there is no reason to consider the fog to be a permanent condition. As distressing as it may be, there is hope. See a medical professional and undergo testing to determine the root cause of the problem. From there, it will be much easier to identify a plan of action that restores clarity and makes it easier to begin enjoying life again.