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Have you ever felt your brain going blank, you stop in the middle of a sentence and the words don't come out? Or sometimes you enter a room and forget the purpose. All of us have experienced something like this at least once. This situation is referred to as brain fog. This article will discuss what causes brain fog and how to treat it.
What Is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a symptom that is very subjective. It can be an indication of a medical condition or due to lifestyle factors. Brain fog can affect different brain functions which include memory, calculation abilities, visual and spatial skills, executive functioning abilities, information processing, and the ability to use and understand language.
What Causes Brain Fog?
1. Lack of sleep
One of the causes of brain fog is the lack of enough sleep. According to researchers, sleep deprivation disrupts the working of the brain cells to communicate with each other, leading to temporary mental lapses that affect the memory. Sleeping for fewer hours can lead to cloudy thoughts and poor concentration, so get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Is your body getting enough of vitamin B12? If not, start including vitamin B12 foods in your diet, because vitamin B12 supports healthy brain function and a deficiency of this vitamin could cause brain fog. Also, too much sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and caffeine overdose can impact brain function.
3. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes can also cause brain fog. Hormonal changes affect brain functioning, especially during pregnancy or menopause. A study has shown that hormonal changes during the menopausal transition made it difficult for women to take in new information and remember it.
Chronic stress is another cause which makes it harder for you to think because stress puts a lot of pressure on the brain, making it exhausted. This further makes it difficult to think, reason and focus.
Medications can also affect the functioning of your brain. Chemotherapy drugs can affect a person's memory and concentration, sleeping pills and antidepressants have an impact on short-term memory and can create mental confusion.
6. Medical conditions
Several medical conditions can cause brain fog too which includes fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anaemia, depression, diabetes, migraine, Alzheimer's disease, hypothyroidism, dehydration, and autoimmune diseases like arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
How Long Does A Brain Fog Last?
Generally, brain fog may last a few hours up to several days or weeks. How long your brain fog lasts depends totally on the factors that you have under control, especially the lifestyle factors. If your brain fog is caused due to medications, your brain becomes clear once you stop taking them.
Symptoms Of Brain Fog
- Low energy or experiencing fatigue
- Trouble in concentrating
- Low motivation or feeling hopeless
- Difficulty in sleeping and exercising
Diagnosis Of Brain Fog
If you have a persistent lack of clarity that doesn't improve, check with your doctor immediately. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about your mental health, diet, intake of current medications and physical activity.
A blood test can also identify the cause of brain fog by detecting the abnormal glucose levels, nutritional deficiencies, infections, inflammatory diseases and poor liver, kidney and thyroid function.
How To Treat Brain Fog?
Treatment for brain fog depends on the cause. For example, if a person is anaemic, treatment by the doctor is required or if a person is experiencing stress and depression, a doctor may do a cognitive behavioural therapy or an exercise suited for it.
If you have an autoimmune disease, the doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid or other medications to reduce inflammation.
In addition, you could try these home remedies to treat brain fog.
- Engage yourself in hobbies so that your mind is occupied into something worthwhile.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and remove mental fatigue.
- Increasing the intake of proteins, healthy fats, coloured fruits and vegetables like red, orange, blue, green and white.
- Sleep at least for 8 to 9 hours per night.