Brain fog is a term used to describe the feeling of being mentally fuzzy or sluggish. Having brain fog can affect your ability to focus and you’ll likely find it difficult to think clearly or with clarity. Mental impairment, mental fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, feeling scatter-brained… however you describe brain fog, it’s you, or rather your brain, just not at its best.
What causes brain fog?
Brain fog isn’t a medical condition in itself, but rather a symptom of another health condition or something else you’re having to contend with.
The term crops up a lot where it’s used to capture cognitive difficulties described by people with chronic fatigue syndrome, patients undergoing chemotherapy (so-called ‘chemobrain’), women during pregnancy (pregnancy brain), and women approaching and going through menopause.
And of course you don’t have to fall into one of these groups. Brain fog can also be caused by stress, poor diet or nutrient deficiency, lack of sleep, and in some instances, can occur when on medication, in which case you would need to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional or doctor.
Brain fog and COVID-19
There is also some speculation that brain fog can be caused by COVID-19, especially long COVID, and scientists point to both a physical and a psychological link. Whilst the Coronavirus can cause inflammation in the brain, affecting the ability of neurons to communicate with each other, the stress, anxiety and isolation of the pandemic can also contribute to symptoms of brain fog.
Treating brain fog
The good news? Once you’ve established why your brain is feeling foggy, you can start to address the underlying problem or problems - there are often several factors at play, and work to fix the fog: