Have you ever experienced cloudy thinking to the point that you cannot seem to get anything done? Many people end up dealing with a phenomenon known as “brain fog” or cloudy thinking. Changes in consciousness as a result of neurotransmitter levels and psychomotor activity are thought to largely contribute to this clouding of cognition.
Brain fog can often be a complex issue because it is generally difficult to pin down specific causes. If left untreated, the fog may become so severe that it interferes with your school or work performance, social life, and overall quality of life.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is considered a temporary or permanent alteration in one’s consciousness in which it becomes difficult to think clearly and perform cognitively demanding tasks. Brain fog can be relatively mild to the point that it doesn’t severely hamper one’s cognitive performance, but in some cases it can be moderate or severe. The moderate and severe cases usually lead a person to seek help and troubleshoot in regards to the cause.
In other cases, the fog that someone experiences may be permanent as a result of a neurodegenerative disorder or a chronic mental illness such as schizophrenia. In these cases there are observable changes in brain matter and activity that take place as the diseases progress. It should be noted that each case of brain fog can vary in both intensity, symptoms, and underlying cause. However, most people describe this condition as an inability to think clearly with a reduction in cognitive performance compared to the past.
- Causes: There are an array of brain fog causes including: medication side effects, lack of sleep, neurodegeneration, and stress. For some people there could be multiple factors contributing to the cause of the fog. Understand that for each person, the specific causes will be subject to variation.
- Symptoms: What brain fog symptoms have you experienced? Many people report an inability to concentrate, a drop in productivity, difficulties with concentration, and mental fatigue. These symptoms make it difficult to cope with cognitively taxing tasks.
- Treatment: Fortunately there are many treatment options available to help get rid of brain fog. These can range from natural options like concentration meditation to psychostimulant medications like Adderall.
What if you have brain fog?
If you have brain fog, the best thing you can do for yourself is initially take a look at your lifestyle. Are you eating healthy and getting proper exercise? Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep each night? Do you use any pharmaceutical drugs, illicit drugs, or drink alcohol? There are many things that could be contributing to your feelings of brain fog – it is up to you to identify them.
If you noticed that the onset of your brain fog was gradual and that it has continued to get worse, it may be a sign of some medical condition and/or signify a need to get checked by a doctor or neurologist. Ruling out medical causes of chronic brain fog is beneficial, especially in severe cases. When you have finally determined what could be causing it, you should be able to come up with some mitigation strategies.
For the majority of people without a medical problem or mental disorder contributing to the fog, lifestyle changes will fix the problem. For others that have medical problems or mental illness causing the fog, working with a professional is recommended. Have you ever experienced brain fog? If so, be sure to share what it felt like in the comments section below.