Brain Fog Decoded: What Really Causes It?

f you notice that you have been confused and disoriented lately, experiencing decreased mental acuity and lack of focus, this could be something more serious like Brain Fog.
f you notice that you have been confused and disoriented lately, experiencing decreased mental acuity and lack of focus, this could be something more serious like Brain Fog.

You curse yourself as you suddenly remember you forgot to lock the car before leaving the parking lot, or forgot to turn off the hob while the milk boiled over. It’s all normal; stress and fatigue make even the best of us go through momentary lapses in memory.

What is Brain Fog?

A condition that strikes unexpectedly, brain fog is a cognitive dysfunction that can be overwhelming, especially because it affects your ability to function optimally both professionally and personally.

It is associated with difficulty in learning anything new, poor short term memory, poor concentration and focus, and difficulty in putting your thoughts in to words. Sometimes brain fog can even cause you to say one word when you are clearly thinking another.

Common Causes of Brain Fog

Whether it is insomnia, sleep apnea or work induced sleep deprivation, all of them will result in poor mental functioning.
Whether it is insomnia, sleep apnea or work induced sleep deprivation, all of them will result in poor mental functioning.

Sleep Deprivation

The most common cause for brain fog is lack of sleep, as quality sleep is important for optimal brain functioning.

Whether it is insomnia, sleep apnea or work induced sleep deprivation, all of them will result in poor mental functioning.
Whether it is insomnia, sleep apnea or work induced sleep deprivation, all of them will result in poor mental functioning.

Neurological Disorders

Some disorders like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue syndrome could also result in brain fog. Since most of these conditions impact sleeping patterns, the result is a hormonal imbalance that triggers stress and results in foggy brain functioning.

If you have put in all-nighters to meet with unrealistic deadlines, you are probably no stranger to stress-induced brain fogs.
If you have put in all-nighters to meet with unrealistic deadlines, you are probably no stranger to stress-induced brain fogs.

Stress

However, usually the symptoms of occasional brain fog induced by stress resolve themselves once the stressful event is over, and that is quite normal.

However, if you find that you still have confused thoughts and difficulty in sleeping even when work pressure has lessened, it may be time to visit your doctor.

For middle aged women who are experiencing the changes in their body that come with menopause, brain fog is a common complaint. Image via
For middle aged women who are experiencing the changes in their body that come with menopause, brain fog is a common complaint.
Image via

Menopause

It’s associated with the episodes of confusion, inability to focus and memory lapses, all of which can be quite frustrating.

The reason is fluctuating levels of hormones in the body, which interfere with adequate brain functioning. Treatments like hormone replacement therapy can help, especially if thinking clearly or recalling specific information is an important part of your job.

Some over the counter medications as well as prescription medications can cause brain fog.
Some over the counter medications as well as prescription medications can cause brain fog.

Side Effects Of Certain Medication

Top runners are medications used to alleviate allergies, pain management and drugs prescribed for those with high blood pressure. While your doctor will tell you that some loss of mental acuity is normal when you start taking the drug, this should resolve itself with time.

However, if you notice no change even after a couple of weeks, discontinue the medicine and discuss the same with your doctor.

Diabetes causes irregular blood glucose levels which can reduce optimal brain functioning.
Diabetes causes irregular blood glucose levels which can reduce optimal brain functioning.

Diabetes

Fluctuating glucose levels can result in loss of focus and memory because it interferes with the brain’s ability to process response and stimuli efficiently.

Believe it or not, but these sudden confused thoughts could be a result of a poor diet. Image via brooklynbeachshack.com
Believe it or not, but these sudden confused thoughts could be a result of a poor diet.
Image via brooklynbeachshack.com

Poor Diet

If your diet is lacking in vitamin B-12, magnesium and amino acids, that could very well be the reason for compromised brain functioning.

Make sure you drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to fuel you brain with nutrients and oxygen.

Keep in mind that brain fog may sound harmless, but can have some serious repercussions. You expose yourself to a lot of potential dangers by being forgetful, and also because your ability to think and react fast is compromised.

It is highly recommended to avoid driving and operating machinery until your problem has been resolved.

Also Read: Headaches: Are You Aware of the Silent Triggers?

6 Comments

      1. fkampf

        That’s so interesting!! I got a degree in nutrition while trying to figure out what was wrong because all I knew for sure was how big of an impact diet seemed to have! I’m on a gf/casein free diet and I TRY keeping processed foods at a minimum. What do you do?

        Like

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