How to Treat Brain Fog
Brain fog is not known to be a medical condition on its own. Rather, it is usually caused by another health condition and is a term that is used to refer to a lack of mental clarity and the feeling of mental haziness. If you are experiencing brain fog then you may often find yourself feeling confused and unorganized about certain things. If you have been struggling with brain fog as of late, and are not sure how to make it go away, then you may want to see a pain management doctor who can accurately diagnose the cause and determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Living With Brain Fog
Living with brain fog can be very complicated and frustrating. People often describe cognitive dysfunctions such as memory problems, the inability to concentrate, a lack of focus on tasks they are performing, and a type of mental fatigue. With brain fog, it can be easy to forget simple things like appointments, words, what you were about to do next, responding to a text message, or errands that you needed to run that day/chores around the house. Constant confusion or forgetfulness can not only be aggravating it can seriously derail a person’s life, as their job performance may suffer as a result or they may miss an event that is very important, and many other aspects can be affected. Not to mention the embarrassment that can come with forgetting things and knowing that it may be holding them back from achieving their goals. Brain fog does not have to be a life sentence, though, and there are several treatment options that a pain management doctor can offer.
Main Causes of Brain Fog
There are several health conditions that may lead someone to have brain fog. The conditions are those such as:
- Depression: Brain fog can be a symptom of depression, as it is associated with memory issues and memory loss. Depression can severely affect a person’s ability to function, to the point where they may even struggle just to get out of bed, and cognitive functioning can also decline. Depression is linked to an impairment in reaction times, the ability to think clearly, and other mental changes. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.8% of the global population is affected with depression, including 5% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years. It is believed that approximately 280 million people of all ages struggle with depression. Doctors often relate neural disruptions caused by depression to the negative changes in cognitive abilities that are typically seen.
- Multiple Sclerosis: This is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Unknown causes trigger the body and its immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord by eating away at the protective layer covering the nerves. This causes disruptions in signals going to and from the brain and can create several symptoms, including brain fog. It is actually estimated that about 50% of those affected by multiple sclerosis deal with some degree of brain fog or cognitive fog. Studies show a correlation between the level of damage to the protective layer (myelin) and the level of cognitive dysfunction. MS can also indirectly cause brain fog, as people can develop depression, stress, and fatigue, which are also known to cause brain fog.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: This condition is characterized by extreme fatigue that has been present for at least six months and has no clear cause. It is a serious, long-term illness that affects several systems in the body. Chronic fatigue syndrome typically prevents or significantly hinders people from completing their daily activities because they are too tired, but rest does not improve their levels of energy. People can even struggle to simply get out of bed. Confusion and the inability to focus are known symptoms of CFS and many describe feeling like they are stuck in a fog. Studies have shown a reduction in cerebral blood flow in many regions of the brain, which may be related to brain fog.
- Lupus: Another autoimmune disorder, lupus causes the body and the immune system to attack its own tissue and organs. Areas that can be affected include the skin, kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs. Studies show that about half of those who are diagnosed with lupus struggle with issues with memory and trouble concentrating. Brain fog in those with lupus can also manifest as sleeplessness, rushed speech, not being able to find the right word, having a hard time finding their way around, an inability to remember little details, and other impairments in cognition.
Other health issues that may cause brain fog can be thyroid disorders, medications, pregnancy, cancer, menopause, diet, dehydration, and nutrient deficiencies. It is also possible that brain fog has no clear, identifiable cause.
How to Combat Brain Fog
There are some treatments that may help improve chronic brain fog, depending on what is causing it. Your doctor may recommend some of the following treatment methods:
Making changes in your everyday routines and lifestyle can help with brain fog. These adjustments might be to get enough sleep, take more breaks, eat a balanced diet, meditate, exercise regularly, engage in social activities, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Also try some memory and focus strengthening exercises or try completing puzzles or auditing a class. Anything that can keep your mind stimulated can help reduce the effects of brain fog.
IV Therapies (Offered at Shakthi!)
This is a complementary medicine approach that is used to treat the symptoms of different types of health conditions, such as asthma, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and immune disorders. IV means intravenous and is a way of delivering medications and fluids through the veins. The IV delivers a concoction of several vitamins to help support the immune system and overall health. IV therapy can aid in improving memory retention and concentration by boosting cellular health. If your brain fog is caused by factors like stress, insomnia, poor diet, and lack of exercise then IV therapy can definitely make a difference.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement (Offered at Shakthi!)
Hormones regulate many of the basic bodily functions and hormonal conditions may be the cause of brain fog. Bioidentical hormone replacement is a natural solution to hormone issues and can treat the symptoms of menopause and treat thyroid disorders. This form of treatment utilizes manmade hormones, which are produced from plant estrogens. The hormones are chemically similar to those found in the human body (i.e. estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and can be easily absorbed into the body.
Pharmacological solutions include the use of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Both are a classification of antidepressants that have been shown to be highly effective at treating major depressive disorder. Antidepressants work by boosting the chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) are known for affecting mood and emotions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Depression is one of the major causes of brain fog and there are multiple treatment options that may help you overcome your depression, which in turn may help relieve brain fog. This therapy is the combination of cognitive therapy (thoughts) and behavioral therapy (actions). The focus of this form of therapy is identifying and altering negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to a person’s depression. Therapy should also help strengthen overall cognitive functioning, as some of the exercises are centered on focus and other techniques that stretch the mind. CBT will help teach you better life and coping skills that can be also be directed towards brain fog. Check out our partners at Gemini Health to learn more!
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation:
Cases where first-line treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, do not work are referred to as treatment resistant depression. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that is specifically for treatment resistant depression. It involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. By stimulating specific areas of the brain that are associated with controlling mood patients can see significant improvement in their depression. Check out our partners at Gemini TMS to learn more
Don’t Forget to Check Us Out
If you are interested in integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine and holistic therapies, and healthcare that focuses on your individual needs call Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! Dr. Jyothi Rao is a highly skilled and experienced physician who can effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call us today and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today.