For some, brain fog is what happens when you drink too much cough medicine or stay up late at night. For others, people with vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, or fibromyalgia, brain fog is part of everyday life. In fact, many people who experience brain fog have had it all their lives, and don’t remember a time when they didn’t have trouble remembering numbers, responding with clever banter, or finding their way out of a parking lot…
This is Part I of Brain Fog, which focuses on causes and symptoms. Part II is Brain Fog: 20 ways to deal
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is a lot easier to describe than it is to define, since scientists are not sure exactly what causes it, and most doctors don’t recognize it as a medical condition, but rather a symptom of other illnesses.
Here are some terms people use to describe their brain fog:
- Mental fuzziness or confusion that is caused by a primary illness, condition, or other stimuli like food, drugs, or lifestyle habit
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Fibro haze
- Brain drain
- Brain farts
- Space case
- Stupid- This is wrong! Having brain fog does not mean that you are less intelligent than others are. It only means that you have a real disorder with real symptoms, and brain fog is one of them.
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
Most people who suffer brain fog say that they feel tired all the time, even after getting a good night’s rest. But there are lots of other seemingly unrelated symptoms that indicate brain fog besides feeling like you always have a dark cloud over your head.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of brain fog:
- Short-term memory loss- forgetting recent reminders, shopping lists, things you talked about a few days ago
- Difficulty with math- adding in your head, sequencing, remembering numbers
- Forgetting what you were going to say in conversation
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing while reading
- Difficulty recalling words that should be on the tip of your tongue
- Low attention span
- Easily confused
- Getting lost easily, even in familiar places
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Difficulty with multitasking
- Difficulty solving problems
- Low spatial awareness- stepping on others’ feet, for example
- Low learning curve
- Difficulty learning new skills
- Low energy
- Loss of creativity
What causes brain fog?
Since brain fog is not really a medical or psychiatric term, we likewise don’t have a specific answer as to what causes it. Brain fog is linked with lack of sleep, dementia, chronic pain, brain disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and unusual blood flow to the brain.
Here are 20 conditions and illnesses that correlate with brain fog:
- Fibromyalgia (FMS)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Pernicious anemia
- Meniere’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Graves’ disease-hyperthyroidism
- Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease)- hypothyroidism
- Adrenal fatigue
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Medical reaction
- Lyme disease
Please tell us…
Do you have anything to add to this article? We would love to know!
Read more about vitamin B12 and your brain: