Do you find yourself constantly feeling fatigued, distracted, moody, or just plain “off”? It might be likely that you’re dealing with some sort of “brain fog.” Clouding of consciousness, also known as brain fog or mental fog, is a term used in medicine denoting an abnormality in the regulation of the overall level of consciousness. It is considered mild and less severe than a delirium – or delirious state. Simply put, you feel like you are constantly straining to look though a foggy window. It starts with something you can brush off: the standard: Where did I park the car in this enormous parking lot? It could happen to anyone, no big deal, a brain fart. Until you realize it wasn’t just that time and there have been other occasions you felt the same “off” feeling.
“Brain fog is an inability to really punch through,” says Mady Hornig, MD, associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “It’s a vague sense of what you’re trying to retrieve, but you can’t focus in on it,” she says, “and the effort to harness the thought can be as draining as physical activity.”
Have you tried to push through a workday while fighting a head cold before? Brain fog is a lot like that, except it persists. A fog can stick around for several days, sometimes even weeks. Brain fog includes symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of focus and mental clarity. However, with the appropriate guidance, proper diagnosis and treatment plan it is avoidable and treatable. When you feel foggy, unfocused, and like you just can’t think, your brain is sending an important signal that there’s an imbalance in your life that needs to be addressed.
You can experience a subjective sensation of mental clouding best described as feeling “foggy.” Brain Fog causes generally fall into one of two main categories – either it’s lifestyle-related or a side effect of a medical condition or medication. In most cases it has become an unwanted side effect of our fast-paced, industrialized lifestyle. Unfortunately today, many of the convenient-but-processed foods and factory-farmed meats we eat and the various ways we spend our time do not support brain health.
There are many other conditions and diseases that list brain fog as a symptom including:
* Adrenal Fatigue
* Brain Injuries
* Candida Albicans
* Chronic Pain
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
* Heavy Metal Toxicity
* Hepatitis C
* Hormonal Imbalances
* Lyme Disease
* Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
* Neurodegenerative Disorders
* Neurotransmitter Imbalance
* Nutritional Deficiency
* Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
* Seasonal Allergies
* Substance Withdrawal
Nutrient deficiencies, sugar overload, a lack of sleep and high amounts of stress all deplete energy levels, which a high percentage of people suffer from. The brain relies on a steady stream of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and glucose from complex carbohydrates, in addition to getting enough rest and relaxation. Insufficient nutrients for proper brain health and function can cause you to experience brain fog and other like symptoms, but worrying about it won’t do you any good. Stressing over your brain fog won’t benefit you in any way, since worrying could be what got you here in the first place. It will only take away precious time from opportunities to be optimally productive and get things done. When life gives you lemons – you’re going through a divorce, you’ve lost a dear friend, you’ve lost your job – it will probably also give you confusion and forgetfulness, simply because of the mental energy it takes to crank out the lemonade. “Stress impairs performance, physically and mentally,” says rheumatologist Robert Lahita, MD, PhD, chairman of medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and professor of medicine at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Luckily, brain fog is considered a reparable condition. If you want to regain your sense of clear-headedness, daily productivity, focus and joy you should start an individualized brain health treatment plan specifically targeting the root cause(s) and primary deficit(s), which we develop and offer at our Scottsdale clinic. With the proper guidance and support you can also make major improvements in your diet, stress levels, sleep and level of physical and intellectual activity. Ask how our Brain Health Nutrition Plan, Brain Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines and Brain Healthy Stress Reduction Techniques can help improve your brain health and function today.
Until next time, keep in mind your mind. -Gina Cellucci