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All You Need to Know About Brain Fog

Verified By Dr Kaushal Ippili September 7, 2020 7021 0
Brain fog
Brain fog

Have you ever faced a situation where you have difficulty processing a thought or have fuzzy thinking? Then, you might be suffering from brain fog.

Brain fog is not a medical condition but constitutes a group of symptoms where a person faces difficulty in thinking, has the inability to concentrate on a single thought, is unable to create a proper sentence from their thoughts, and thinking straight. These symptoms can arise as a result of either a medical condition or from poor lifestyle patterns with high stress.

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is not a medical condition but a group of symptoms involving cognitive dysfunction, where an individual is unable to have sharp memory or has a lack of focus. A person with brain fog will have trouble in processing thought, recalling any memory, difficulty in concentrating or paying attention, mental fatigue, etc.

Although not severe but very common, brain fog does not degrade a person’s intellect, nor does it worsen or progress, but a person may find difficulty doing regular work and can suffer from depression and low self-esteem (a feeling of not being himself/ herself).

Some may also suffer from speech and language disorders in which they may find difficulties in making up sentences using their thoughts.

What are the symptoms of brain fog?

Brain fog acts differently in people. It can affect all age groups starting from a school going child to a full-grown adult, and in old age as well. A person suffering from brain fog may have either one symptom or may have multiple symptoms together that are associated with the conditions’ severity. Mentioned below are a few common symptoms of brain fog:

  • Decreased concentration
  • Memory impairment
  • Hazy or faded thoughts
  • Extreme tiredness and feeling sleepy
  • Feeling demotivated
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor performance at school and work
  • Depressed mood
  • Unable to create sentences using words or inability to understand a simple sentence
  • Cannot focus on a single target
  • Unable to execute a plan, solve a problem, or organize stuff

What are the causes of brain fog?

According to research, various reasons and conditions are available which are responsible for brain fog. It is necessary to identify the cause and start early treatment for the underlying cause. Few causes responsible for brain fog are mentioned below:

Extreme Stress

It is believed that an excessive amount of stress can lead to brain fog. Chronic stress can put an excessive amount of workload and pressure on the brain. Stress can lead to increased blood pressure, mental fatigue, inability to focus, severe headache, and can also lead to depression. This can lead your brain to function inadequately, losing focus, and concentration.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to brain fog. Vitamin B12 is exclusively found in milk, fish, egg, etc. and not in plant sources. Vitamin B12 allows improving brain function. B12 deficiency can lead to anemia (low hemoglobin levels in the blood), which causes fatigue, memory impairment, tingling sensations over hands and feet, etc.

A prolonged deficiency can lead to an irreversible state. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be due to insufficient dietary intake, decreased absorption, medical conditions, etc.

Decreased sleep

Decreased sleeping hours and disrupted sleeping patterns of an individual can lead to the impairment of brain function. Adequate sleep of 8 to 9 hours is essential for a healthy brain function. Decreased sleep also causes mental fatigue and loss of concentration.

Hormonal imbalance and change

An imbalance in hormonal regulation within the body can lead to brain fog. During pregnancy, the  levels of estrogen and progesterone rise. The increased levels of these hormones can impair cognitive function and memory.

Also, during menopause, a decreased estrogen level can affect brain function, causing impairment of recent memory and clouding of consciousness. An imbalance of thyroid hormones T3, T4, and TSH can also lead to a decrease in brain function and forgetfulness.

Drugs (medications)

It is believed that the intake of some specific drugs can result in brain fog. Drugs like anticholinergic drugs allow blocking of neurotransmitters in the nervous system, which in turn decreases brain function. Anticholinergic medicines that can cause brain fog are Oxybutynin, Diphenhydramine, Amitriptyline, etc. A patient undergoing chemotherapy may also suffer from brain fog as chemotherapeutic drugs can suppress immunity and impair brain function.

Other medical conditions associated with brain fog are:

When to see your doctor?

It is always advised to visit your doctor when you are depressed most of the time  and cannot concentrate or perform well at school/ work. We always recommend sharing your thoughts and problems with people close to you instead of taking excessive stress and unnecessarily burdening on your brain.

As a single test in a hospital will not diagnose brain fog, your doctor will perform various tests and provide you with medicines along with behavioral therapy to improve your symptoms, which may initially take time. Your doctor will rule out the cause that they suspect is responsible,  such as diet, mental condition, medical conditions, drug history, etc.

Various diseases have some similar symptoms. Tell your doctor about any medical or surgical history. Show them any prescription of drugs that you may have taken recently. Tests such as CT, MRI, TFT, blood picture (to rule out infection, blood sugar, anemia, etc.) can help your doctor determine the actual cause of brain fog. Your doctor may also perform some Antigen-Antibody tests to rule out allergies and monitor your sleep pattern to rule out a sleep disorder.


Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

What is the treatment for brain fog?

Treating a brain fog needs time and effort, as it is essential to first treat the underlying conditions. Here are a few things that you should know to cure brain fog and improve brain function:

Adequate sleep

Improve your sleep pattern, as sleep deprivation can hamper your brain function. Make a schedule of timely sleeping for 8 to 9 hours, at least. A regular sleep pattern helps in healthy brain function and sharp memory. Late and irregular sleep can lead to decreased concentration and mental fatigue.

Free your brain

Reduce stress as much as you can. Decrease your workload if it is causing too much load on your brain, making it harder to concentrate.

Regulate consumption

Avoid the intake of alcohol, cigarettes, and excessive amounts of caffeine.

Treat your low blood volume

For a person suffering from low blood hemoglobin levels (anemia), it is crucial to take medication and supplements to treat anemia. Increased iron supplements can help produce red blood cells, which helps improve your brain function.

Regular exercise

Doing regular exercise can improve blood circulation, normalize blood pressure, make you active, and improve brain function. Obesity is also considered  responsible for causing brain fog.

Find leisure time

Find pleasure in pursuing hobbies , socialising or playing games such as solving puzzles,etc.,  as it helps reduce stress and improves concentration.

Healthy diet

Improving diet or eating healthy is essential to improve mental health. Foods rich in adequate amounts of protein, calories, vitamins, etc. can help sharpen memory. Regularly eating fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, fats can provide sufficient minerals for treating brain fog. Drink plenty of water or fluids to correct dehydration.

The bottom line

It is extremely important to take brain fog seriously. Brain fog is not just a symptom of fatigue; it can drastically change your work and daily lifestyle, leading to severe depression and low self-esteem. We recommend leading a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, doing regular exercise, and reducing stress. Your brain, too, needs rest to function adequately, so have regular, sound sleep as well.

Verified By Dr Kaushal Ippili
Consultant Neurosurgeon,
Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
8000+ Top doctors Associated and Apollo Hospitals is continuosly ranked as No1 Multispecialty Hospitals in India with best in class treatments for Cancer, Knee replacements, Liver Transplant, Heart, Diabetes, Kidney.

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