As we get older we all seem to get more forgetful. Walking into a room and not remembering why you went there in the first place, or trying to put your car keys in the fridge. Maybe you find it harder to concentrate or remember things?
Do you find that doing a task will take longer and you get far more distracted.? You are not alone! Millions of people, both men and women suffer from “brain fog”. This is a term which is generally used about people who have a hard time thinking clearly and making quick decisions.
Our parents probably used the term “scatterbrain” but brain fog is a real issue for many people and can have a profound effect on their daily lives and the ability to function normally. Even though brain fog and dementia may have similar symptoms they are entirely different.
Dementia is a condition that makes day to day living extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, whereas as annoying and frustrating as brain fog is you can still function and live life normally. To diagnose brain fog is quite difficult as it effects different people in many different ways and for many different reasons. There are many different reasons why you could be experiencing brain fog here are some of them.
1.Pregnant woman can experience brain fog as their bodies change due to the baby they are carrying.
2. People who suffer from multiple sclerosis might experience brain fog as the disease essentially rewires the body.
3. Certain drugs such as chemotherapy can cause brain fog in some people
4. Menopause is a huge cause of brain fog and many woman struggle with the symptoms
5. People who are depressed can often find clear thinking difficult as they are consumed by negative thoughts.
6.If you are struggling to sleep well, this can also cause brain fog.
7. People suffering from post- traumatic stress might find themselves dealing with brain fog.
These are just some of the causes of brain fog, but don’t worry all is not lost, let’s talk about some simple steps you can take to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.
The first step is recognising something is wrong. You are listening to me talking about this problem so chances are either you or someone you know or love could be suffering from brain fog so, well done! you are trying to make changes. So after admitting there could be a problem you need to make a conscious effect to get better. How can you do this?
1.Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Poor sleep patterns can have a major effect on your day to day life and the ability to function fully. If you don’t get enough sleep you become a “bear with a sore head” which can lead to brain fog .
2. Something as simple as drinking enough water can help. Stay hydrated and you won’t feel tired, if you’re not tired you can function on all cylinders and therefore prevent brain fog.
3. Take up a hobby or do things that stimulate your brain and make it work. The brain needs a workout just as our bodies do. Read a book, do a jigsaw or crossword anything that makes you exercise your “little grey cells”.
4. Talking of exercise, it’s another way to help your mind and keep it active. For instance if you run it helps to release ardrenaline into the bloodstream and this in turn is sent to the brain which has a positive impact on your memory.
5. “You are what you eat” this can be very true. Fruits, vegetables, especially the green ones have many health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C and Folic acid are also great for you and you can get these through eating citrus fruits, kiwis and dark leafy vegetables. A balanced diet is a great for anyone but as you get older your body becomes more high maintenance as does your mental health so make sure you so treat it well and you will get more miles on the clock.
If you feel that this is a problem you can’t deal with on your own I’m here to help. We can talk through ways of helping you and how to deal with your version of brain fog
Jimi D Katsis is a Bristol based consultant psychotherapist at jimikatsis.com specialising in recovery from trauma, depression, and anxiety