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Do you ever walk to the kitchen and somehow forget what brought you there? Do you find it tough to concentrate on things? It could be a lecture, a simple conversation, a movie, or a song, and you find yourself lost in another world. Has zoning out from your present and residing into what they call, “your dreamland”, become a routine to you?
If your answer to the above questions is yes, you might need help. All the above situations are symptoms of a condition known as “Brain Fog”. There is nothing to worry about since it is not a mental disorder or a disease, but one must not ignore its symptoms since brain fog itself is a symptom of several big and small disorders.
One might wonder what exactly “Brain Fog” is and what could be the possible causes for it. Before we jump to what causes “Brain Fog”, we must try to understand it in detail.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a condition that causes cognitive dysfunction. A person is not able to focus or concentrate on their work or academics. It holds them from getting involved mentally in conversations and performances. They often find themselves zoned out and when the condition worsens, it can interfere with their potential to perform the simplest of tasks.
What are the causes of brain fog?
Everybody faces a normal amount of work pressure but not everybody tends to handle it very well. There are several people who tend to take stress more than their threshold which starts to affect their mental health. The brain becomes worked up and most of its functions are disturbed. Some of the factors that lead to brain fog are-
Adequate sleep is a basic requirement for a healthy functioning mind. People who tend to lose their sleep because of excessive stress or work pressure end up deteriorating their mental health, acquiring brain fog, and even their performance is affected.
Hormonal changes can be a major cause of brain fog, especially in women. The hormonal changes could be a sign of PCOS, or be due to pregnancy. The onset of menopause is another primary factor that leads to a lot of hormonal changes in the body that affect a woman’s mental health.
Researchers suggest that brain fog is also caused due to the consumption of some food items like MSG, aspartame, peanuts, dairy, etc. These food items trigger the condition of brain fog. Also, a meal should be efficient in fulfilling the body’s requirement for vitamin B12, which is necessary for a healthy brain. The deficiency of vitamin B12 also causes Brain fog.
Very often certain doses tend to be too heavy for our body and might cause severe effects. Medication given to a person to treat a particular disease might give rise to another. Overuse of tranquilizers and sedatives may also cause brain fog.
- Patients suffering from cancer are treated with chemotherapy. This chemotherapy often leads to the condition of brain fog. It weakens the memory of the patient. They are not able to remember the slightest details about a thing and often tend to forget some regular things one does on a routine.
- There are several other diseases that become a cause of brain fog. Medical conditions like anemia, depression, diabetes, Sjögren syndrome, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases like lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, dehydration, etc often affect the mental health of the patient and lead to brain fog.
A major concern with brain fog is that if the patient does not seek help at the right time, it can deteriorate their mental health and make them insufficient for themselves. Also, very often the patient can cause a lot of harm to themselves and the people around them. There have been instances when people suffering from brain fog forgot to turn off the gas knob and ended up causing a fire in the apartment. When the condition worsens, such patients cannot be left alone and need someone to assist them throughout the day and in most of the tasks.
How to get help?
If you find yourself forgetting things or unable to concentrate on things and instead of improving, the condition is either stagnant or worsens, do not delay, rather get to a doctor. Tell them about what issues you’re facing.
There is not a single test to diagnose brain fog but there are several symptoms and signs that hint towards it. Therefore, your doctor shall ask you about your routine, your mental health, the aspect of it affecting you, your medical history, and almost everything that may affect your mental or physical health.
The course of questions shall primarily revolve around aspects like your mental health, your diet, what all you eat in a day and a week, level of physical activity which means how often you work out, and how much of your routine requires you to work physically, your current medications or supplements or the doses suggested to you by your doctor that you could be following or missing out on.
After the questions, you might be asked to get a blood test done. The blood test does not directly conclude in a brain fog but it can tell us about one’s health. For example, the blood reports of a person could tell us if they are suffering from abnormal glucose levels, thyroid dysfunction, poor liver, kidney, nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12, infections, or any kinds of inflammatory diseases. These conditions can have a role to play in one’s brain fog.
How to treat brain fog?
There is no single course of treatment that cures brain fog. The treatment completely depends upon the cause. If it is due to anemia, we shall need to treat the patient for anemia and bring them back to normal hemoglobin levels. If it is due to some other disease like hyperthyroidism, then the doctor shall give a treatment to cure hyperthyroidism which will, in turn, affect the brain fog and improve it.
Brain fog is a condition when a person fails to concentrate or remember things. A major cause of it could be changing hormones, menopause, poor diet, or another disease. One should visit a doctor and cooperate with them to diagnose the cause of brain fog. There is no specific treatment for it. The treatment completely depends upon the cause of brain fog.