Hands up if you often feel confused or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words? If your hand is up (or you mentally raised your hand), don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Many people suffer from the awful feeling of brain fog. The typical brain fog feeling is what gives the experience its name. It feels like you’re stuck in a thick fog that separates you from the rest of your life.
Are you having trouble thinking straight? You may be dealing with brain fog. Here are seven brain fog symptoms you should be on the lookout for.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog isn’t a medical condition itself, but rather a symptom of other medical conditions. It’s a kind of cognitive dysfunction involving lack of mental clarity, inability to focus, poor concentration, and memory problems.
It’s also described as a type of mental fatigue. The reality is that it can interfere with school or work activities if left untreated. As people get older, their chances of suffering from brain fog increase.
People’s experiences of brain fog vary widely. Some describe it lasting for as little as five minutes, while others insist they’ve suffered from it for many years.
Keep in mind that while the symptoms are frustrating, they’re often an indication of something more serious. In line with this, some describe brain fog as a subset of an underlying physical, chemical, or emotional imbalance.
The good news is, in most cases, with a few minor nuances, most experiences of brain fog is completely reversible. If you do the necessary research and take the required steps, brain fog won’t be a permanent part of your daily life.
Brain Fog Symptoms
As we’ve mentioned, brain fog or mental fog feels different to different people. In general, people report feeling as though a fog surrounds them. It may feel as though the fog is both around you and inside your head.
This foggy feeling leads to other symptoms of brain fog. We’ve laid down seven of the symptoms you may experience as a result of brain fog.
- Lack of focus – You struggle more than usual to focus on your work tasks.
- Lack of mental clarity – An inability to think clearly or grasp a thought.
- Forgetfulness – You walk into a room but don’t remember why.
- Slower decision making – You battle more than usual to make up your mind.
- Fatigue and irritability – You feel tired and irritated all the time, despite getting adequate sleep.
- Low energy – You no longer have the energy required to do daily tasks.
- Slowed learning – You take longer to process and understand information.
After reading this list, you’ll probably notice that the feeling of brain fog resembles other mental and physical health conditions. Brain fog shares some symptoms with conditions like ADHD, Depression, and Dissociation.
It’s important to seek professional help to assist you in working out whether you’re suffering from brain fog or one of the three mentioned above.
Why Does this Happen?
Now we’re more aware of the symptoms and how they affect us, it’s time to look at why this occurs.
It’s helpful to note that brain fog symptoms are all examples of poor frontal lobe function. The frontal lobe is essentially what makes us human. It’s responsible for critical thinking, decision-making, and executive function.
If we get stressed, blood flow to the frontal lobe is decreased and sent instead to the midbrain or the limbic system. This causes lowered activity in the frontal lobe and increased activation in the limbic system.
During this process, we move away from the ability to think ‘straight’. Instead, the brain goes into a ‘fight or flight’ response, because it’s in survival mode. Instead of having a growth mindset that’s capable of critical thought, a fearful response is activated.
When this happens, people become emotional and reactionary. They’re no longer able to process new information in a calm manner. Of course, this prevents the brain from functioning as it should.
Brain Fog Causes
There are multiple possible causes of a foggy brain. In general, the symptoms of brain fog are a result of inflammation, usually mediated through oxidative stress.
It can occur with age, as a result of a medical condition or lifestyle factors. Bad diets, lack of exercise, not enough sleep, and high-stress levels all contribute to a person’s risk of suffering from brain fog.
Brain fog can be frustrating and confusing. But the good news is that there are ways to cope when it happens. keep reading to find out more about the causes of brain fog.
Many women report brain fog or ‘pregnancy brain’ at some point during their pregnancy. Problems with memory are linked to hormonal changes, especially during the first semester.
Your body is simply trying to nourish and protect the baby and the good news is that pregnancy brain fog should subside after a while.
Research shows that around half the people diagnosed with MS have problems with attention, memory, planning, and language.
MS affects the central nervous system, which alters the way your brain operates. The good news is that memory and learning exercises can help. Speech therapists and Occupational Therapists can help retrain people with MS to handle tricky tasks.
People who undergo Chemotherapy often report suffering from ‘chemo brain’ during their treatment.
Sometimes people find it more difficult to remember details, multi-task, or complete what they started. For most people, brain fog will pass after treatment but some people are affected for a long time after treatment.
The Next Steps
Brain fog can occur for a range of reasons, including a medical condition, stress, lack of sleep or a poor diet low in vital nutrients.
For this reason, it’s important to follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Your health and wellness should be a top priority. If you don’t look after yourself and treat yourself well, you may find your health problems escalate.
After reading this article, you should be more aware of brain fog symptoms to watch out for.
So, what are the next steps?
Please contact us for more information about brain fog and your treatment options. We’re here to support your journey to a healthier body and mind.