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Brain Fog Symptoms

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Do you suffer from brain fog?

Do you suffer from brain fog?

Brain Fog Definition

According to physician Georg Greiner, brain fog is a term that denotes the clouding of consciousness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has historically used the term in its definition of delirium.” The DSM-IV changed the definition to a “disturbance of consciousness.” In layman's terms, brain fog may make you feel like you are sleepwalking. Feeling tired, having a difficult time focusing, having a hazy thought process and forgetfulness are all symptoms of brain fog.

Mayo Clinic defines brain fog as a mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is a stage between an expected cognitive decline as part of the normal aging process and the decline of dementia. Memory, thinking, language, and judgment may become impaired with this decline. You or your family may notice some loss of memory but that loss typically does not interfere with daily activities. There is a higher risk of dementia when you have brain fog but many never get worse.

Brain Fog Symptoms

There are several possible symptoms of brain fog and some of those include:

  • Memory problems
  • Forgetting important appointments or social events
  • Visual and spatial skills may be diminished
  • Difficulty in focusing or concentrating
  • Losing your train of thought or the thread of a conversation or while watching a movie
  • You may have trouble finding your way around a familiar environment
  • You may be overwhelmed when making an important decision
  • Having a hard time calculating
  • It may be difficult to plan a way to accomplish a task
  • You may become more impulsive or use poor judgment
  • Family and friends may notice these changes

Possible Causes of Brain Fog

Determining the cause of your brain fog is the first step in managing this disorder. There are some common causes, such as:

  • Side effects of medications
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Low Vitamin B level
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Possible food sensitivity - aspartame, MSG, peanuts, milk
  • Multiple sclerosis as it affects your central nervous system
  • Other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy also causes memory issues
  • Chemotherapy uses strong drugs that can cause some memory problems

Managing Brain Fog

An appointment at the doctor’s office will probably include an assessment of:

  • Current medications or supplements
  • Diet
  • Mental health
  • Level of physical activity

The doctor will order lab work to look for diseases or any disorders. The physician will also do a physical examination. The physician will order any other medical testing that fits your symptoms. When women reach menopause at about age fifty they can become more forgetful, but hormones may help. As there is no cure for brain fog, the cause needs to be determined in order for the symptoms to be lessened.

When you have brain fog you may also become depressed, irritable, anxious, or even experience apathy.


Home Remedies for Brain Fog

It is important to get enough sleep, so seven to nine hours a night is important. Do not drink caffeine or alcohol at bedtime. If you understand your limitations you can manage stress more easily.

Other suggestions include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Strengthen your brain power by solving puzzles or maybe volunteering
  • Participate in activities you enjoy
  • Change your diet by eating more protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, strawberries or blueberries are particularly good for the brain
  • Vitamins that may help, include: Fish oils supplements, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea
  • Spirituality, taking time each day to meditate

Many Causes, Simple Remedies

Brain fog is a common problem, especially for seniors. Brain fog has numerous causes and there is no one solution. However, there are lifestyle changes that depend on the cause. There are many healthy lifestyle choices that may help reduce or even eliminate the symptoms. Getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, and exercising will help anyone feel healthier.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Ms Dora,

I am glad you found this information useful. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Shauna,

Somehow I missed your post until just now. I think what you are experiencing is so common to many of us. It sounds like you are making healthy choices. I think as we age manmptoms. y of us suffer from some of those symptoms. Thank you so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Adreienna,

I had to laugh at your comment as I have thought the same thing about autocorrect. It is been a blessing but maybe a curse in some ways.

Thank you so much for your comments as they are always appreciated.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Pam, I usually use that term to describe a situation far less severe. Thanks for the information.

Adrienne Farricelli on October 29, 2020:

So many causes for brain fog! Makes me wonder we may all suffer from it at some point. Crossword puzzles truly seem to help. I get brain fog at times when I am spelling words when writing and this is fairly new. Suddenly not sure how to spell a word I used to be familiar with I think the autocorrect function is spoiling my brain making it lazy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Linda,

That is a common problem. Hypothyroidism is so treatable and I am glad you have a doctor to keep your thyroid at a normal level. I appreciate your comments, Linda.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on October 29, 2020:

I did have the brain fog several years ago from the hypothyroidism. My endocrinologist helped the health. I'm much better!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Igin,

You are like most people as being tired then getting a foggy brain is so common. Taking a map is a good idea. Thank you for your comments.

Işın Tuzcular from Istanbul on October 29, 2020:

Very detailed, good article, My brain gets foggy when I am very tired, I ussally try to take a small nap, in that condition.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Sp,

Aging is a cause of these symptoms but living a healthy lifestyle may avoid any of these symptoms. It seems depressing to age if we go downhill but that may not be the case. Thank you for your comments.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 29, 2020:

I've never heard of this before. But at least there is a diagnoises for people who end up feeling like this.

It seems like as soon as we start aging we are prone to getting all these conditions that we might never have heard of before then.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

What you said is so true. I have been hearing more and more about good health when we eat berries every day. One video mentions this and I have read it before. That is just one healthy tip however. Thank you so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Carolyn,

It is amazing what even a 20 minute nap can do for you. When we are on the computer too long we can easily get some brain fog symptoms. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Linda,

Chemo is certainly a possible cause of brain fog. I thought this was an important topic also. It is good for anyone at any age to know and understand brain fog. Thank you for your nice comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

The symptoms listed are so common in the elderly population. I am not surprised you noticed those symptoms in your father. Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

I think getting enough rest is one of the most important things anyone can do to be healthy. I have seen a lot about brain fog lately also. I appreciate your very nice comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Liz,

You sure may be right about stress being a factor. I have hear more about brain fog lately is why I decided to write this article. I am glad you found this article useful. Thank you so much for your nice comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2020:

We can do nothing about aging, but it is helpful to know that there are ways to postpone brain fog by leading a healthy life and doing other things you listed in this article.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 29, 2020:

This is valuable information, Pamela. Lately, I've noticed a few slips in my acuity. I think it's a combination of age and burn-out. I am making a conscious effort to eat healthier, incorporate berries into my diet, and increase movement for other reasons, mainly weight loss. Now I see the changes I'm working on will not only benefit my body, but my brain as well.

Thank you for addressing this, Pamela. I think this is something we can all relate to on some level.

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on October 29, 2020:

Great article and references. My brain fog occurs mainly when I get tired. If I've been writing and concentrating for too long, I start to get "punchy." A quick 20-minute nap often helps.

Thanks for keeping up with your good writing.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 29, 2020:

I don't think I'm foggy, but I know that chemo-brain is a real thing. This is an important topic; people who don't understand can get irritated and upset with those who are experiencing MCI. Thanks for another great article.

Lorna Lamon on October 29, 2020:

I noticed a lot of these symptoms in my Dad at least two years before he was diagnosed with Dementia. This is certainly one to watch out for and your article gives a detailed account of this condition. Thank you for sharing Pamela.

manatita44 from london on October 29, 2020:

A subject that is written about a lot lately. Gingko and yes, radiola is supposed to help, as well as exercise, sleep and diet. I get a bit of brain fog myself and just needs a little rest when it happens. Well presented article with symptoms, causes and suggested vitamins and life-style blended in.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 29, 2020:

This is a very helpful and interesting article. The term 'brain fog' is one which I am hearing more in recent times. Maybe thos is partly due to the pressure and stress that we are all living with. I found your list of causes was especially useful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I remember when I was working some double shifts as an RN and I didn't really have these symptoms but I fel like I had to be more careful when making decisions at work. I am glad you are doing well. Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi John,

I am glad to hear you have no symptoms. I thought it was good to write this article so people are aware of the symptoms and maybe they will make healthy choices now. I appreciate your comments, as always.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 29, 2020:

Interesting, Pam. I am surprised at all of the possible causes but most of them make sense. I have not yet experienced this, except perhaps when I lose sleep and am overtired. Good information to know. Have a great day.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 29, 2020:

Interesting article, Pamela. I am quite sure I don’t suffer brain mind gets plenty of exercise and I don’t think I have any of the symptoms. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I am glad your brain is not fully functional. Haha! I am a little more forgetful, mostly with names I don't hear often. I don't want brain fog so I keep my brain busy. I appreciate your comments, my friend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

I don't think I have brain fog but I work hard so that I don't get it. I am a little more forgetful since I turned 70, but its not too bad. Thanks for your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 29, 2020:

Not since I sobered up fourteen years ago :) I'm happy to say I haven't experienced any of those symptoms yet, but it's always interesting to read your articles, Pamela. Thank you for the information, and be well today.

Rosina S Khan on October 29, 2020:

This article is good in that it shows what seniors may be going through when they have a brain fog. Although there is no cure, healthy lifestyle choices may help to eliminate the symptoms. A helpful article that updates our knowledge in this area. Thanks for sharing, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

Hi Devika,

I think you are right about those early symptoms. If just aging is the cause, then eating healthy and exercising your brain with puzzles or anything else should help. Thank you for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 29, 2020:

I understand that with a healthy diet plan Brain fog can be kept at bay. Important and interesting facts about this health issue. Sometimes, as one ages mentally they become more forgetful and a lack of concentration is one of the first signs noticed.