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If you have ever experienced a moment where you lose mental clarity and find yourself struggling to focus, you may face mental fog, also known as brain fog.

So what is this condition, and what can you do to stop it from happening? Read on to find out.

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What is mental fog?

You can get mental fog as a part of other problems. It usually comprises problems with memory, a lack of mental clarity, a poor ability to concentrate, and struggling to focus. It can feel like a kind of mental fatigue. It can be a small problem, but it can just as easily occur more seriously and interrupt your daily life. Even if it gets worse, there are ways to ease this problem and even eliminate it entirely.

What causes mental fog?

A range of causes can explain the onset of your brain fog, and working out what has triggered it for you is the first and most important step in helping to get rid of it. To work out the root of the problem, here are six of the most common causes of brain fog.

1. Stress

One potential cause of mental fog is extreme stress. This can result in heightened blood pressure and a weaker immune system. It can also lead to depression. Alongside all of this, chronic stress can result in mental fatigue. Since your brain is struggling and tired, you may find it harder to keep thinking, reasoning, and focusing.

2. Not enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep or only getting poor quality sleep can cause problems when it comes to how your brain works. The recommended amount of sleep each night is around eight hours; if you aren’t getting this much, it can become difficult for you to concentrate or think straight. The more often you struggle to sleep or don’t get enough sleep consecutively, the worse your brain fog is likely to become.

3. Hormonal changes

If you are experiencing hormonal changes, your brain fog could be attributed to this. One of the most common reasons why you might be experiencing these sorts of hormonal changes is due to pregnancy, when your levels of progesterone, as well as estrogen, temporarily increase. These differences in hormones can alter how good your memory is and lead to cognitive impairment for a short time. Another typical time that you may experience changes in hormones is during menopause. In this case, you will experience a fall in estrogen levels, resulting in a tendency towards forgetfulness, lack of concentration, and cloudy thinking.

4. Diet

What you eat can be a key factor in how your brain functions. It would help if you had the correct nutrients and vitamins to stay strong and healthy, which also applies to your cognitive function. Vitamin B12 is the most important vitamin as it is necessary for keeping your brain healthy, and a lack of this vitamin can result in brain fog.

Another way your diet can influence you is that allergies to food items can lead to brain fog. If you have allergies, this may happen after consuming foods such as peanuts, dairy, or aspartame. You could try eliminating these elements from your diet if you are struggling with brain fog.

5. Medication

If you take any medication, you may find that this is the cause of your brain fog. You must talk to your doctor if you suspect this is the cause. Some medications list brain fog as a side effect, but it is important to raise the concern with your doctor whether it is listed or not. They may be able to recommend that you take a lower dosage or give you an alternative medication to take that does not result in the problem. If you have or have had cancer treatments, this could also be the root of your brain fog and is sometimes talked about by chemo brain.

6. Medical conditions

There are a lot of medical conditions that could be related to having mental fog. These include inflammation, changes in blood glucose levels, general fatigue, depression, anemia, diabetes, dehydration, or migraines. If you suffer from any of these conditions, you are more likely to experience brain fog.

How is mental fog diagnosed?

If your mental fog is a continuous problem and the effects get worse or do not improve over time, then you should go to a doctor who can help diagnose you. Since brain fog is usually a symptom of broader problems, you will likely be asked to go through a range of tests and answer questions about your mental health, what you usually eat, how much physical activity you do and if you are on any medications already.

When you visit the doctor, you must inform them of your symptoms in detail, so they have all the information. You might need to point out issues like hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, or other details to help a doctor diagnose a problem like hypothyroidism.

Physical tests like blood tests can also help determine if you have a problem like an infection, deficiency, inflammatory disease, or poor kidney or liver function. The doctor may need to administer further tests based on the results to determine the cause of your brain fog.

How is mental fog treated?

The treatment for your problem will largely depend on what the cause of your brain fog is. Once a doctor has worked out the root of the issue, they can recommend the correct treatment for the more significant issue you are dealing with. However, there are some simple home remedies you could try first, including making sure that you get enough sleep, avoiding stress and extra alcohol or caffeine, making sure to exercise and take part in hobbies you enjoy, and making sure to eat healthily to keep up your strength and intake of the right foods. If none works, listen to your doctor’s advice, and you should be free of your brain fog.