Brain Fog: Everything You Need to Know
Do you occasionally have difficulty remembering something you were just thinking about or focusing throughout the day? Have you ever felt spaced out or like your brain is in a fog? These experiences are commonly called “brain fog”. Brain fog can make it difficult to complete daily tasks and retain information.
What Can Cause Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a term used to describe general feelings of lacking focus, memory problems, poor concentration, and the overwhelming feeling of haziness. When suffering from brain fog, your fuzzy and disorganized state of mind may make it difficult to remember things and to think clearly.
Brain fog is a common symptom of many illnesses, such as:
Memory, concentration, and focus can all be negatively affected by major depressive disorder, or MDD. While research is still being conducted on the links between MDD and brain fog, it is believed that brain fog happens when MDD interferes with the health and function of nerves in the brain, particularly in areas that control attention and memory.
With regards to treatment, you may still experience some brain fog or other symptoms when being treated for major depressive disorder. Not only do antidepressants not adequately treat depression in about 1/3 of people who take them, but they may also exacerbate brain fog. Some cause sleepiness which interferes with attention. Fortunately, there are other treatment options for depression, like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
Grief is often confused with depression because they do share many common symptoms, including brain fog. However, because grief is a response to a particular event or trauma. In most cases, with some time and proper support, the symptoms of grief will decrease over time. There are some cases called ‘complicated grief’ in which symptoms last much longer or permanently.
Inflammation and Allergies
Brain fog is a common symptom of celiac disease, lupus, diabetes, and other autoimmune disorders. Allergies can cause the inflammation of nasal passages and sinuses, which may lead to runny nose, itchy eyes and skin, and sneezing. Allergies may also cause sleep disturbance, and fatigue and fogginess.
Neurological conditions, like Parkinson’s disease or those associated with head injuries, can cause damage to nerves in your brain and potentially cause brain fog. Certain vitamin deficiencies can also impact the health of nerves in the brain. There are numerous other neurological diseases that can give a sense of brain fog, which is why a medical evaluation is crucial in trying to understand the cause of your brain fog.
Some medications can affect the way your brain functions or cause brain fog. As previously mentioned, antidepressants are intended to help with brain fog but some actually cause brain fog as a side effect, depending on the medication and your individual response to it. Sedatives, pain medicine, bladder control medicine and antihistamines are some of the other types of medications that can often lead to brain fog.
Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that can result in poor sleep and low oxygen intake. Changes in oxygen levels interfere with the necessary stages of sleep and lessens the restorative sleep that is vital to the refreshment of our brains. This can lead to brain fog, resulting in difficulty with focus, concentration, and memory,
Other possible causes of brain fog include but are not limited to:
- Poor diet
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Lack of exercise
Treating Brain Fog
It is important to note that brain fog is not currently a “distinct medical condition or psychiatric disorder”. This means that brain fog is not diagnosable and it is not treatable on its own. Rather, receiving a diagnosis and then treating one of the many underlying medical conditions can help ease brain fog symptoms.
If your brain fog does not stem from a prior or known medical condition, it may be worth making some lifestyle changes. Making seemingly small adjustments to your sleep schedule, diet, and exercise can affect your stress levels, brain chemistry, and mood.
Mid City TMS Can Help Relieve Your Brain Fog
Suffering with brain fog can make life feel exhausting and frustrating. There are many possible causes of brain fog, and thus, many possible treatments. There have been many instances where patients have reported being cleared of brain fog after undergoing TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS is an FDA-approved depression treatment that is often a great option for treating depression, a common cause of brain fog. Over two-thirds of our patients have achieved a substantial response, with half of those achieving full remission from all of their depression symptoms.
At Mid City TMS, our treatment team provides not just TMS, but also a comprehensive treatment plan for depression, including addressing ways to increase your energy and focus, improve your mood, and provide with information on how to improve your daily habits to lessen the effect of brain fog.
Contact us today to learn more about TMS and to determine if it’s the right treatment for you.