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Brain Fog Causes: A List of Possibilities

One of the most frustrating experiences for any student going to school or working adult is experiencing “brain fog.” When brain fog hits, it’s almost as if our previously efficient brain has filled up with clouds or “fog” that prevents us from thinking clearly. Brain fog is typically characterized as an inability to focus, poor memory functioning, and difficulty learning new things.

Although you may not experience all of the classic brain fog symptoms, most people know when they have foggy mental functioning. Experiencing brain fog is extremely unpleasant and can be depressing in itself because it interferes with our ability to perform on the job and/or maintain a sufficient level of productivity. When you have brain fog, it may seem as if you are thinking in slow-motion, are easily distracted, and daydream a lot.

Brain Fog Causes: A List Of Possibilities

There are many things that can lead a person to experience brain fog; below is a list of possibilities. Realize that it is possible for a person to experience multiple contributing factors to their brain fog (e.g. lack of sleep and medication). It may be of significant benefit to find out what’s causing your particular brain fog so that you can manage it and improve your clarity.

ADHD: People with ADHD tend to show differences in brain activity compared to those who are able to focus. It is thought that brain fog as a result of ADHD can be a result of low levels of dopamine, low arousal, and excessive slow brain wave rhythms. Since there are different types of ADHD, not everyone with this condition will experience brain fog. Those who have the inattentive subtype usually have more difficulty with foggy thinking.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol is known to lower arousal and depresses the CNS. If you have brain fog, drinking alcohol is likely going to magnify the problem. If you are a frequent drinker and experience brain fog, it could be due to your alcohol consumption. In order to regain your mental clarity, it would help to give up alcohol for awhile and your focus should improve.  Those who have ever had a wicked hangover can attest to the brain fog that they experience.

Anxiety: Not all types of anxiety will result in brain fog. Many actually stimulate us so much that there is zero fog in the brain, just hyperarousal. Anxiety can interfere with our ability to perform basic cognitive functions. It may affect memory retrieval, communication processing, and may lead us to experience brain fog. Additionally many anxiolytic medications that are used to treat anxiety tend to increase brain fog as a result of suppressing activity in the CNS.

Brain injuries / brain damage: Any sort of brain injury or damage could result in impaired cognitive abilities. For example, if someone got into a bad accident and experienced a TBI (traumatic brain injury), they may experience significant brain fog as a result of the trauma. Other brain injuries can result from a stroke, or temporary loss of blood flow to the brain – causing damage. In some cases the brain can recover after these injuries, but in other cases the fog only improves with psychostimulant medications.

Brain tumors: Any brain tumors or other lesions throughout the brain can influence brain activity. These will usually show up on an MRI scan. Depending on where the tumor is located, it can have different effects on your cognition. The position and size of the tumor can affect the degree to which you experience brain fog and other mental processing.

Brain waves: If you hook an EEG up to your brain, you will be able to determine the electrical activity or the speed of your brain waves.  The electrical or brain waves occurring throughout your brain could be a cause of slow thinking or slow mental processing. An expert will easily be able to assess whether your EEG appears “healthy” or “abnormal” based on the brain waves observed in particular regions.  Usually when a person has significant slow-wave activity overpowering fast-wave activity, it is a sign of brain fog.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: This condition is characterized by feeling fatigued for at least 6 months. If there’s any condition that brain fog is likely to be potent and overwhelming, it’s this one. Those with chronic fatigue syndrome typically lack the energy to complete tasks and stay productive. The problem is that this fatigue is not only physical, but it’s mental – affecting a person’s entire cognition.

Depression: People who are clinically depressed tend to report brain fog more often than those who aren’t. If you have depression, cloudy thinking and impaired cognition are often common symptoms. Those who are depressed may report slow task performance and/or speaking so slowly that others seem to notice. Psychomotor activity tends to be slower in those who are depressed than among individuals who are happy.

Diabetes: During cases of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, brain fog can become a prominent symptom. A person who has low blood sugar may appear dazed, talk nonsensically, and/or exhibit a noticeable communication impairment. The brain relies on glucose to provide it with energy. When glucose levels drop to an abnormally low level, the brain isn’t receiving fuel to properly function and brain fog occurs.

Diet: If you aren’t eating enough food, you are essentially depriving your brain of the energy that it needs to function properly. The foods that you eat give your body energy and help you think clearly. By eating enough food and a healthy diet, you are giving your brain the best possible chance to think clearly and stay focused. Nutritional deficiencies can lead a person to experience brain fog and impair mental health.

Excessive exercise: There are many psychological benefits of exercise – one of which can be improving concentration and healthy brain activity. However, if a person overexerts themselves physically by spending too much time at the gym, they are exhausting themselves mentally too. If you noticed that you are feeling mentally foggy after working out too long, it’s probably related to your workout. Take a break or consider being a little bit less hardcore so that you don’t have as much brain fog.

Fibromyalgia: Although this condition is characterized by pain at various sites throughout the body, fatigue and foggy thinking are also very common. Various changes in arousal and neurotransmitters are thought to contribute to fibromyalgia. Individuals with this condition tend to experience significant difficulties organizing their thoughts and memories.

Hormonal imbalances: A variety of conditions can lead to hormone imbalances. Medical conditions, medications, drugs, and menopause can all result in hormonal fluctuation. There is evidence that suggests hormone changes can impair our thinking; thus leading to brain fog.

Hypothyroidism: This condition is characterized by the thyroid not producing adequate amounts of thyroid-stimulating-hormone. When the body is deficient of thyroid hormone, it leads to impairments in mental processing and learning. Once properly treated, the brain fog should gradually subside.

Illicit drugs: Using illicit drugs, especially those that act as depressants (e.g. heroin) can lead to foggy mental processing. Even stimulants such as cocaine may initially help brain fog, over the long-term it can create even more impairments in cognition. Additionally coming down or “crashing” from an illicit stimulant can result in excessive brain fog until the brain repairs itself.

Low arousal: Individuals who have naturally low levels of arousal may be more prone to brain fog. Low levels of arousal are usually related to depression and ADHD. They tend to be characterized by slow brain waves, less stimulating neurotransmitters (i.e. less dopamine) and changes in brain activation.  In other words, the stimulation throughout an individual’s nervous system can be abnormally low during waking hours, thus leading to deficiencies in beta waves, dopamine, and prefrontal cortex activation.

Lyme Disease: This can be very tricky to deal with because most people that have severe cases of Lyme have no clue that they have it.  They may notice a severe decline in ability to think critically and may become easily confused.  This condition can cause people to become emotionally irritable and result in difficulty controlling impulses.  Some individuals have claimed that they lose their entire memory functioning as a result of swelling in the brain.  If this isn’t detected early enough, the symptoms of brain fog may end up becoming permanent.

Menopause: During menopause, it is common for hormone levels to change. The changing hormones can lead a person to experience increased tiredness and in some cases, brain fog. If you experience foggy thinking during menopause, it’s likely due to changes in hormone levels. In most cases the fog will subside as soon as the hormones return to homeostasis.

Lupus: This is essentially a diagnosis for autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks the body, and compromises its health. A person with lupus may experience a variety of physical symptoms, as well as unwanted mental symptoms. Many people report experiencing low energy and a significant amount of brain fog.

Multiple sclerosis: This is a disease in which nerve cells responsible for protecting the brain and spinal cord become damaged. The damage affects the entire nervous system and usually impairs physical and mental functioning. This disease can lead to permanent neurological problems such as chronic fatigue, poor cognition, and severe brain fog – especially over the long-term.

Neurodegenerative disorders: A variety of neurodegenerative disorders are known to cause brain fog. In cases of these specific disorders, usually a person will lose brain functioning and exhibit structural changes in their brain. This affects all forms of cognition and makes it difficult to retrieve memories, process information, and learn. Most of these diseases are believed to be influenced by genetic factors and can kill brain cells and/or permanently impair cognition.

  • Alzheimer’s: This is the most common type of dementia and is usually prevalent among those over age 65, but can appear earlier. Those with Alzheimer’s tend to experience reductions in cognition and memory processing.
  • Dementia: This is a symptom of many diseases that affects an individual’s ability to think logically and with reason. In general people with dementia experience a significant loss of cognitive abilities.
  • Huntington’s: This is another disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements and impaired cognition. It tends to affect middle-aged adults and will inevitably result in brain fog, among many other mental symptoms.
  • Parkinson’s: This is a degenerative disease that affects the CNS. People often experience movement disorders and significant mental impairment as a result of an inability to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Neurotransmitters: An individual with neurotransmitter imbalances can exhibit symptoms of brain fog. Usually when there is an imbalance, a person will have a very difficult time thinking clearly. This is especially common when a person withdraws from an antidepressant and they experience a newly-created chemical imbalance. (Read: Antidepressants cause a chemical imbalance). Brain fog can also be created when a person has abnormally low levels of dopamine production – as in the case of ADHD.

Oversleeping: Getting too much sleep can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health. Sleeping too much or “hypersomnia” is associated with depression, fatigue, and obesity. If you frequently get too much sleep, this could cloud your thinking. Sleep is known to be restorative, but when a person sleeps in excess, it is thought to slow cognitive functioning.

Overworking: Even though over-working may result in a person becoming increasingly stressed, this stress can lead to brain fog. In other cases, too much work may just cause someone to become fatigued or tired. You may notice that when you get too caught up in your work and don’t take enough time to recover that you feel mentally foggy. The solution is to simply cut back on work hours and take more time to manage your health.

PTSD: In some cases of PTSD, a person eventually experiences so much stress that their focus improves. In the event that a person becomes hypervigilant and the anxiety overpowers their depression, the person may not experience brain fog. However, in other cases of those with PTSD, they may frequently daydream and experience significant depression and brain fog. This is characterized by theta waves on an EEG, making the person feel emotionally traumatized and cognitively impaired.

Schizophrenia: Many individuals with schizophrenia experience reduced cognition and extremely low energy. This can be a result of taking antipsychotic medications and/or a result of the disease itself. Individuals with schizophrenia tend to experience negative symptoms, which increase depression and brain fog to a significant extent. The cognitive symptoms of the disease may also make it very difficult to think clearly.

Side effects: Sometimes certain drugs can make people feel tired, drowsy, and a significant degree of brain fog. This is very common for individuals taking antipsychotics and in some cases brain fog is reported as an antidepressant side effect. Even illicit drugs that tend to lower our arousal may also have a detrimental effect on cognition; making it more difficult to think clearly.

Sleep deprivation: Getting little sleep or depriving yourself of adequate sleep can lead to significant brain fog. Adequate sleep is considered healing, a good protector against stress, and tends to improve mental functioning. Those who skip sleeping or don’t get enough of it will usually notice some sort of brain fog. Lack of sleep results in EEG changes, hormone changes, and results in concentration difficulties.

Stress: When stress levels become high, brain functioning can change significantly. Some types of stress such as PTSD can cause us to become less focused and easily distracted by our trauma. Although some stress may actually improve our cognition and brain fog, other types may serve as a detriment to our mental functioning.

Withdrawal: People often report feeling brain fog during withdrawal from drugs. Whether you are withdrawing from a psychotropic drug or an illicit drug – brain fog is often reported. The specific chemical causes of brain fog can differ based on the drug. For example, during opioid withdrawal lack of endorphins could be causing the fog, while during stimulant withdrawal, lack of dopamine could be contributing to the fog. In general, when a person stops using a drug, their brain needs time before it will readjust to normative functioning.

Note: There are likely more causes of brain fog than what’s listed above. If you are aware of another specific cause of brain fog, feel free to share it in the comments section below.

My personal experiences with brain fog

There have been many times throughout my life when I’ve experienced brain fog. In fact, as I’m writing this article, I have an extremely bad case of it. It’s so bad that during my outline for this article, all of my main points were jumbled. I couldn’t think of the words that I wanted to say, and the writing process is taking significantly longer than it probably should.

  • Anxiety: In my case, I have always had generalized anxiety and some degree of social anxiety. Although many people equate anxiety with increased stimulation and less brain “fog” – this is not always the case. Although anxiety can help increase focus for some, in my case it actually decreases it. My thinking becomes sporadic and in many cases everything inside my head seems foggy.
  • Brain waves: I have noted that brain fog tends to be influenced somewhat by brain waves. Although slower brain waves don’t always lead to “foggy” thinking, in general a lack of sufficient beta waves on an EEG can be a factor. I have noticed that when I am aroused with high beta waves, I experience significantly less overall brain fog.
  • Depression: When I become depressed, I lack the capability to think clearly and express my thoughts. It becomes difficult to verbalize certain words and I have a tough time thinking of the words I’m trying to say when communicating. Even when I’m typing, I know the general concepts that I’m going to type, but the details become a total blur. It’s almost as if I wish my head could spit out the ideas because when it comes time for me to verbalize and/or write the concepts I’m trying to convey, my brain becomes foggy.
  • Diet: I notice that when I eat a poorer diet or don’t eat enough food, my thinking becomes cloudy and less focused. When I make sure I’m eating a breakfast, lunch, and diner and feel “full” after each meal, I usually notice less brain fog. During times when I am not as stringent about eating breakfast, I may notice brain fog throughout the entire morning of my work day.
  • Introversion: When I’m in social situations, it’s almost as if my mind goes completely blank. Instead of being quick-witted, I’m actually extremely slow witted. I do my best to think of conversational topics and/or prime myself for conversation, but it’s almost as if I’m trying to start up an old car engine just for spurts to get me through a conversation. Not all introverts have the same “foggy” introversion that I do, in fact many usually never experience brain fog.
  • Low arousal: When I have a low level of arousal, I notice that my brain fog tends to increase. When I get riled up and physiologically aroused to a high degree, my focus and thinking improves. My thoughts become more organized. As I noted in my article about adrenaline levels and depression – low levels of adrenaline don’t really improve brain fog. But when they become high enough to act as a naturally-produced stimulant, they relieve depression and clear up all brain fog.
  • Side effects: Over the course of years taking psychotropic medications, I’ve noticed that certain ones resulted in my thinking becoming foggy. I remember when I took Cymbalta I experienced some of the foggiest thinking in my entire life. Other medications that turned my brain to a fog cloud included Effexor, Lexapro, and Celexa. The worst culprit for brain fog though was Xanax – which makes total sense; it reduces CNS activity. I also experienced it during a brief stint taking an antipsychotic.
  • Withdrawal: I experienced very extreme brain fog when I quit Paxil cold turkey, as well as during many other antidepressant withdrawals. It is common to experience brain fog during withdrawal from any drug. Over time, I reverted back to a homeostatic level of “clarity.” Unfortunately for me, I was born with somewhat “foggy” thinking and always had a difficult time processing things in school. I’d see the teachers lips moving, writing information, and hear the words, but nothing really sank in – making it tougher to learn.

Determining the cause of brain fog

For many individuals it can be beneficial to know what is causing their brain fog. In the event that there is a treatment for a particular cause that is causing your clouded thinking, you can pursue it. Often times it may be difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for the foggy thinking, but with the help of a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, you can likely figure out some contributing factors.

Let’s say you experience brain fog as a result of having ADHD. After you’ve figured out that you are naturally inattentive and have a difficult time thinking clearly, you may benefit significantly from daily meditation, exercise, and/or a psychostimulant. On the same token, someone who is experiencing brain fog from sleep deprivation may need to just improve their sleep and their cognition and mental clarity will also improve.

Understand that brain fog is usually different based on the individual circumstances. For one person it may be a result of drug withdrawal, for another it may be due to a condition such as chronic fatigue syndrome. If you have personally dealt with brain fog and/or have identified what caused it, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Phoebe July 29, 2018, 6:59 pm

    [Really hope this helps. I’m not a doctor. It’s just advice I wish someone had given me when I first started experiencing inability to concentrate, brain fog, serious memory issues, crippling inability to learn, to write, to communicate, major disengagement, anhedonia, etc. If you’re wary about taking food supplements, I was once you, but honestly I don’t know if I’d *ever* have gotten to where I am without them. I’m not 100% better, but in 2 months of doing the following I’ve achieved more than I have in 2 & 1/2 years. Unfortunately this doesn’t just go away by itself.]


    1) Book an appointment with GP ASAP if you haven’t already discussed your symptoms with them.

    (If you have, you might be able to simply drop off a letter at your surgery requesting the following, addressed to whichever doctor’s on duty, and then ring up later to get the surgery to get the doctor to ring you when they’re free… Cheeky, but nowadays I HATE seeing any doctor face to face — SO incompetent).

    You’ll want to ask for your thyroid hormones, i.e.:

    -Free T3
    -Free T4 and
    -TPO/TG antibodies

    To be tested, *particularly* your TPO and TG thyroid antibodies, which GPs tend not to do routinely.

    You’ll want to ask at the same time for vitamin D, ferritin, vitamin B12 and folate. Get all of this taken care of ASAP so you can start supplementing – should the results reveal any deficiencies (which I reckon they will).

    2) Digestive enzymes are a must, 2 with *every* meal. You need to be digesting food for it to have any effect. Make sure the ingredients are compliant with whichever diet you choose (ie don’t contain milk, gluten, soy, etc.).

    I started by adopting an AIP diet (fruit-free at the beginning, bar avocados and olives), then upgrading to paleo when I was ready. You want to avoid food sensitivities at all costs. You may be able to start on paleo. Be strict with yourself when you know what you’re sensitive too. Learn *why* you can’t consume gluten or dairy or lectins, and then hopefully you’ll find your way of eating easier to stick to.

    Less than 20g sugar daily, nothing processed, no refined carbs (look into GI values), veg more or less dominating at every meal, eat the rainbow, etc. Cronometer is a great way to ensure you’re getting sufficient micronutrients at the beginning (although you don’t have to be perfect).

    Butternut quash, parsley, avocado and salmon is a good combo to include on any one day, but mix it up otherwise you’ll get bored and (so I’ve read) favour certain types of bacteria over others. Don’t overcompensate with salt. Too much isn’t good for you or your gut! I personally wouldn’t recommend faffing about with keto. It doesn’t feel very nice when you can’t think straight, and, I personally found, it’s unnecessary.

    Make sure you stay hydrated — 3 x 3 mugs of water / day ideally.

    3) Sprinkle lots of powdered gelatin over everything (I use Dr Oetker’s because it’s cheap…). Lends a massive hand to l-glutamine powder (which you can get at a super cheap price from bulkpowders).

    4) Order a multiple-strain, high potency probiotic. Eat at least one meal a day with a few cloves of chopped raw garlic (prebiotic) to enhance the effect. Soon you’ll barely be able to taste it. (Obviously there are other ways to get prebiotics into your diet if this doesn’t appeal… But honestly, in my experience at least, it strangely makes up for the absence cheese in my life).


    5) After blood work reveals vitamin D deficiency, start taking vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and magnesium glycinate (necessary combo). Again, check ingredients to make sure you’re not consuming anything incompatible with your chosen diet. If your thyroid is an issue, but your symptoms aren’t serious enough to qualify as hypothyroidism (and so your doctor plans on just letting it ride for another year), I’d read this and start supplementing with zinc (with copper) and selenium.

    6) Swimming regularly for over 30 minutes, (outdoor swimming is really great) is good. You might feel a little guilty sometimes at the speeds your suddenly capable of because of the gelatin/l-glutamine hgh boost… Yoga’s fun. Try something that works for you, and stick to it.

    7) Positive journaling to reshape negative thinking patterns. Write positive things about your day, about yourself, about others, even though life isn’t quite all that at the moment. I found this more helpful than counseling, not least because I could actually remember what revelations I came to, and it was a lasting record of good things I could flick through when I was down. I did try counseling for a while too though.

    And antidepressants. I don’t think counseling hurt (although it may have been a total waste of time), but definitely wish I hadn’t been persuaded into taking antidepressants. Don’t do anything, except stop you from feeling r-e-a-l-l-y low (without actually doing anything to raise you up), and prejudicing your gut flora. (Just my experience).

    8) Sleep. Normal hours. In bed before 10. Up before/around 8.

    9) Don’t brush teeth straight after eating something acidic. You’ll take off a layer of enamel. (Important to know if you suddenly find yourself chugging down the sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar and the lemon water…)

    10) When you feel down, like you’ll never ever get better, think about how far you’ve already come.

    • jamie August 10, 2018, 7:02 pm

      Wow I am exhausted just from reading your list, I could never. I’m glad you’ve found wellness though.

  • Haylee January 14, 2017, 3:47 am

    In some people, several things are working against the body to cause brain fog, and it takes some good investigating.

    Two very interesting articles you’ll benefit from reading:
    By Dr Lawrence Wilson :
    — “Brain Fog”
    — “Copper Toxicity Syndrome”

    I believe he mentions in one of these articles or others, the importance of drinking 64 oz/water daily, and getting “a good nights rest” (the healing time for the body is 10pm-midnight, and the body needs deep, sound sleep). It really is not optional. Our body is built to live this way, despite the way entertainment and lifestyles try to pull us away.

    We can have fun with water by adding wedges of lemon and lime, or any kind of fruit. Or add a splash of juice to flavor a little. And experiment with cool vs added ice cubes. Try a water filter pitcher or try different brands of bottled water until you find what tastes right for you. It’s a lot of fun.

    Another very interesting area: Electromagnetic Radiation. Cell phones, Internet and TV’s are a huge source of EM pollution and it actually causes brain fog after awhile. There are mats to stand or sleep on that one can build cheaply or buy, that helps to “ground” the body from the pollution. Best is to get outside and walk on concrete ground, lawn or beach, without a rubber shoe.

    Best to go barefoot or leather-only Indian shoe. Earth-contact grounds the body. It’s incredible what just standing barefoot in a lake for an hour does for brain fog and the nervous system! Lastly, this helps people with Lyme Disease, but may help many other cases of Brain Fog: “Pinella Brain-Nerve Cleanse” Herbal Supplement.

    It’s great for really stressed out nervous systems at times of great agitation or anxiety. Keep searching! Keep trying! :)

  • Haylee January 9, 2017, 3:36 am

    A big one: SLEEP APNEA. The resulting Oxygen-deprivation causes brain fog. It’s often connected to: Acid Reflux at night, failure to cut out food/drink 4 hours before bed, failure to sleep with wedge pillow, thyroid conditions.

    Iodine/Selenium Restoration is doing wonders for people. Others find wheat elimination is a solution. (Inflammation). Everyone benefits from a long series of Andreas Moritz Amazing Liver Flush (with kidney cleanse, colonics and dietary changes).

    Another insult to sleep is allergies at night. I’ve seen lots of folks have restful sleep at night after they began using a really good quality air purifier with strong HEPA Filter.

  • Kathy December 11, 2016, 1:14 am

    A lot of the reviews on DMAE indicated that the supplement helped with their brain fog. That led me to this article as I wanted to learn more about the condition.

  • Isefy August 26, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I’ve been having brain fog for the last 6 years now and to be honest the doctors don’t want to do nothing about it because the outside of my body and blood test are not giving nothing. I’m a student and education is getting too much challenging for me now. I don’t know what to do and I need HELP!!!

  • Angella July 1, 2016, 12:16 am

    There is a significant cause of brain fog you left out of the article. It is from liver disease and portal hypertension. It is mostly in stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver and causes brain fog and other neurological problems. If a person has persistent brain fog, ruling out cirrhosis might be a good idea. Thanks.

  • CD June 29, 2016, 7:15 pm

    I experienced brain fog each and every time I stayed with my parents. The stays became longer and longer, destabilizing my health & work. I couldn’t read, think, put 2 and 2 together, or make any plans to get out. After some research and careful documentation, I slowly realized it wasn’t me; I was living with disordered people… a NPD mother and enabling father. Take a good look at who you live with. Don’t EVER live near anyone with a Cluster B personality. No Contact.

  • Robin May 8, 2016, 7:42 pm

    I’ve been dealing with brain fog since I was a kid, it comes and goes. I get fatigued, I get a heavy slow feeling in my brain, my vision is effected, I get easily confused, my ability to communicate or understand is impaired, sometimes I’m completely useless: I just sit and stare at things or surf the internet hoping I will feel better at some point. Sometimes the fog is to different levels.

    Eventually it clears once I’ve found the issue or temporary remedy. I’ve been diagnosed with a learning disability in math at 5 yrs old (dyscalculia), an anxiety disorder, depression, ADD NOS. I’m an introvert. I also have recurring bouts of hypothyroidism which may be stress induced. I’m prone to hyponetremia (low salt).

    I recently discovered I’m prone to vitamin D deficiency despite enough sunlight so I supplement. My Dr recently said she thinks I have adrenal fatigue. Antidepressants don’t help, they just made me worse, more anxious, they put me to sleep and that was it or they did nothing; I tried at least 5 types. I’ve been on vyvanse and it was fairly useful, but couldn’t handle my quickly increasing tolerance or the crash after it wore off.

    I tried strattera but it made me moody. Some dietary changes, herbs and vitamins have proven useful, not 100%, but very useful most of the time. Chamomile tea, matcha green tea, ginseng (all types but red ginseng is my favorite), ginkgo biloba, filtered water, magnesium, liquid multivitamin/mineral, no grain/no sugar/healthy fat diet, yoga, weight lifting.

  • Rolf January 9, 2016, 12:16 am

    Great site! I have had problems with episodes of brain fog for nearly 20 years. Mine comes around about once a month. Lasts for 2 days and when I wake up on the third day, it is gone. No doctors have found out why. And it drives me borderline insane.

  • Renee December 11, 2015, 3:41 am

    A major cause of brain fog, although not well recognized (YET), or often ignored, is EMF (electromagnetic frequency) pollution. This is the ELEPHANT in the room, the new tobacco – an all pervasive electrical frequency interference with our cells’ electrical functions, impacting all the body systems, especially cognitive and immune; unfortunately americans are tech-happy and ignorant of the grave consequences this pollution has and will increase in severity over next few years.

    Russia and many european countries, also Israel, are setting much stricter guidelines than the US. The telecom and utilities corporations DON’T want you to know about the consequences of cell towers, cell phones, smart meters, smart appliances, wireless, dirty electricity and so on. See the BioInitiative Report online, an extensive study of independent scientists, not corporate funded, and there’s a ton of info online by reputable researchers, if one would care to learn more.

  • Janae December 10, 2015, 11:12 pm

    Great article. I suffer from terrible brain fog, and after reading various books and articles on the subject of ADD, I have diagnosed myself with it. However, I’m also a very poor sleeper, and taking stimulants disrupt my sleep. If anyone has any suggestions on how to address both the ADD and the insomnia, let me know. (I’ve read that insomnia is very common in people with ADD.)

  • Mona December 8, 2015, 4:05 am

    I had major back surgery. Was under anesthesia for four hours. I came out with brain fog and on Norco. It’s been 5 months now and have been off Norco for about 9 weeks. I was taking Effexor and Xanax before and still on it. I start feeling better and then have some bad days. I had a brain scan and it turned out ok. My age is 79 and I’m thinking. I was under anesthesia too long for my age.

    Have been treated by my general doctor and a psychologist and have an appt to see another the end of the month. I’ve really been a mess and just don’t know what to think of the whole thing or what to do. I need knee surgery but will not go under again. Have to get over this first. May not be able to have knee surgery and I really need it. Anyone have any thoughts?

    • Daniel February 20, 2016, 9:44 am

      You can have your knee operated on with what’s called “neuraxial anaesthesia”. It’s akin to the epidural women receive during labour. You will be numb from the waist down for the duration of the procedure and awake (or sedated with something similar to xanax if you require). Depends though where your back surgery was – if it was lumbar spine and there are pins and plates, you might not be able to have this technique.

      It’s the go to technique in Europe and relatively common in Australia, particularly for those around your age. Would need discussion with your orthopedic surgeon and the anaesthetist involved. Hope that helps.

  • Jess November 22, 2015, 4:42 pm

    For the last about 2 years I was on Paxil then I winged off healthily, but then my thinking process and memory retrieval began to be slow. I’m a college student and my math tests are extremely challenging than they should be. My mind goes completely blank sometimes I don’t remember much at all.

  • Emilio November 18, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Great article God bless those who suffer… I do have brain fog lasted for almost half a year so intense I thought I had a tumor, etc. It’s like when it hits, you you are in slow mode. I found out that drinking natural sea salt not from grocery, but the health food store that has all the trace minerals, 400 to 600 mgs, usually eliminates the fog entirely!! Also for some strange reason Tylenol 500mgs has rid my fog for the day… hope this helps.

  • Eriann October 26, 2015, 3:13 am

    I would like to know if anyone has had brain fog with the sleep medication trazodone. I never noticed any brain fog before I started the medication but didn’t notice any brain fog after starting it until about 3 months ago. It is affecting my life. I am a single mother and just want answers. Tia

  • Christy October 13, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I have been experiencing brain fog for quite some time now, and it has gotten to be very frustrating. (To the point where it is wearing on my already weak self esteem). I was interested that you mentioned introversion as a possible cause because I have the same problem. It is good to know I’m not alone. I also have had many of the other symptoms you mentioned, so I am going to try harder to correct those issues. Thank you!

  • Monty August 19, 2015, 4:11 pm

    I just turned 70, and for more than ten years I have been experiencing brain fog (along with other symptoms) caused by hypoglycemia related to periodic states of insulin resistance caused by a diet too rich in sugar. I also get a similar dysphoria after eating MSG (or msg-derivatives such as maltodextrin and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.) I am deeply concerned that insulin resistance will lead to Alzeheimers.

    I have a history of neonatal and childhood abuse, including abandonment and torture. I was taken from my mother for neglect when I was 9 and raised in an orphanage, where I was further abused and tortured. The result is an impaired endocrine system, HPA-axis syndrome, PTSD, depression, ADD, sleep disorder and food sensitivity.

    I need vigorous daily exercise and must be extremely careful what I eat, avoiding all sugar and starches and all forms of free-glutamic acid (MSG and similar chemicals.) Due to periodic overwhelming impulses for “comfort foods,” I sometimes gain weight and trigger a state of insulin resistance. My insulin receptors shut down and the only way to restart them is to conduct a strict carbohydrate fast. Over the past eight years, I have gone through this miserable roller-coaster ride an average of four times a year.

    Although I read food labels religiously, I occasionally miss ingredients due to poor or deceptive labeling and end up dysphoric due to FGA/MSG poisoning. There is no effective antidote other than cream of tartar and vitamin B6, taken with a half-gallon of water. Even so, the debilitating dysphoria can last from four hours to four days depending on the dosage.

  • Nancy Rodgers February 24, 2015, 7:48 pm

    Very informative website. It may be pertinent to add HCV as a cause of brain fog as this is a highly reported symptom of HCV. Compounded with the symptom of chronic fatigue in those infected with HCV, brain fog can be more troublesome and extremely unlikely to subside in its intensity. Emphysema is a culprit as well. Thank you for letting me share.

  • Anonymous January 21, 2015, 3:39 pm

    Usually brain fog is inversely proportional to mental clarity. Metal clarity is associated/ directly proportional to gamma waves 40 Hz. An increase in gamma waves increases mental clarity therefore sharpness the seances, IQ increase, happiness, well being, bless full thinking, social performance etc. All to one (brain) as in the unity mind state theory.

    It’s natural to have brain fog so please continue as you are in life. Watch -http://youtu.be/esPRsT-lmw8 (The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans). Please listen to gamma waves and most important read about what your doing on Scholar Google. I believe it is the key to many mental states including brain fog, etc to autism. Your’s truly, a dear reader.

    • Anonymous#2 July 29, 2016, 9:13 pm

      I found both the article and this comment very interesting. First the article because I identify myself at certain level with the person who wrote it. I am also a person in an endless seek to a better brain health (mine!). I could say less foggy. Second because of the comment, which show me a simple way to get closer to an answer. Very good video BTW!

      Also a very clear and concise answer. My conclusion with this is I should seek the RIGHT specialist to help me, not any doctor. Maybe a psychiatrist which is also a psychologist to start with. I could find a more specific problem. To share a bit of me. After decades of reading, self knowledge and surviving I learn a lot about me.

      More than any single doctor could tell me so far. I believe I have a brain in the autistic spectrum (not autistic but diagnosed by a doctor), prone to addictions like sugar coffee, chocolate, etc (specially endorphin and dopamine generators), which end of the day is prone to a brain imbalance due to the abuse of these substances.

      The brain imbalance cause brain thoughts to get foggy. Having a diary is the best way to self knowledge and learn what causes your specific brain to get foggy or not. Today I have my limits like maximum 30gm of fast sugar per meal, max two beers or two glasses of wine, etc.

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