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Understanding and Treating Brain Fog

We hear these little words constantly from friends, family, peers, and coworkers. “I have brain fog.” We can assume they mean that they are tired, overworked, or not thinking clearly. Perhaps they didn’t drink enough coffee this morning, or maybe they just took a huge exam and are mentally drained. Brain fog is thought of as a euphemism, or a figure of speech. We don’t tend to view it as an actual medical condition. But what if there is a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of “brain fog?” What if our mental health is neatly intertwined with our inability to think clearly at times? Understanding and treating brain fog is critical to be a better worker, partner, listener, and friend. Here’s what we know.

What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog relates to memory and attention span. Those with ADHD or other attention problems are said to suffer from brain fog. In actuality, the concept of brain fog varies depending on who it affects, and the situation creating it. Those without a mental health condition may experience brain fog from time to time when they are stressed, burned out, bored, or tired. Those with a mental health condition may

experience brain fog due to the disorder they suffer from, or as an additional symptom of an existing anxiety or depressive disorder.

Because brain fog evolves from day to day, it is hard to study and treat. Our moods can affect our brain fog or lack thereof. Whether or not a subject matter interests us can impact our ability to pay attention and focus on a task. Just like an addict who grows fixated on acquiring a drug, our attention span can drastically improve if we see a valuable reward for paying attention. It’s incredible how much our desires and perceptions of situations can impact our concentration levels.

Treating Brain Fog

Brain fog is debilitating if constant and if left untreated. It can make work, relationships, school, and friendships strained and problematic. People may mistake us for “unintelligent” when we simply are unable to concentrate. The fact is that we must treat brain fog before it impacts us in a negative way.

Luckily, there are various resources and tools available to improve our memory and concentration so we can handle the requirements of daily life. Here are a few top suggestions:

Get Tested for ADHD – Many adults suffer from ADHD and do not realize it. They were not

diagnosed as children and have simply used various coping strategies to survive. The good news is that there are many medications and therapies available to treat ADHD. Visit a doctor who can diagnose and treat you properly.

Get More Sleep - Lack of sleep impacts everything from concentration levels to mood to agitation. Getting more sleep will do wonders to minimize brain fog. Create a sleep schedule and minimize technology close to bedtime.

Slow Down-What was the lesson we learned from the Tortoise and the Hare? "Slow and steady wins the race." When we rush frantically, we forget what is going on in the present moment. We stop listening. We are in our heads. Start slowing down and focus on one task at a time. This will decrease brain fog.

Ask for Help - If brain fog is accompanied by anxiety or depression, or if it continues, it may be time to ask for help. Find a qualified therapist who can help you use skills to minimize the impact of brain fog.

Do you struggle from brain fog, anxiety, or depression? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.

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