Brain fog is a common problem, according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, a medical doctor and nutrition consultant who is also president of The Center for Development, of Prescott, Arizona. Brain fog symptoms are associated with several medical conditions like fibromyalgia, lupus and hepatitis C, and it is a common complaint for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. In general, it is not a recognized medical condition by the medical profession and brain fog, chemo brain and fibro brain are not considered real diagnoses. However, for those who suffer from it, and for many alternative health practitioners, brain fog is very real and it can contribute to problems at work or school and in relationships. The term brain fog generally describes symptoms that can be grouped into several categories and which have the net result of mental “fogginess” or a lack of mental clarity.
Brain fog can result in short-term memory problems, notes Mayo Clinic. This type of memory is important in remembering things like where a set of keys or wallet was left. Individuals with brain fog can also experience trouble with verbal memory, such as having trouble remembering a conversation, notes Mayo Clinic; finding the right word to describe something; or mixing up words, reports the Arthritis Today website. Visual memory can also be impaired, which can make remembering images or lists of words difficult. These memory problems can be embarrassing and cause some anxiety to individuals afflicted with brain fog, such as when they need to ask people to repeat themselves, explains the FOG Magazine website, or they unknowingly ask the same question which they have already been told the answer.
The inability to concentrate and having a very short attention span are two challenging symptoms of brain fog. A lack of concentration and trouble focusing makes learning new skills and multitasking difficult for those with brain fog, according to Mayo Clinic. Additionally, a lack of attention makes routine tasks take much longer to complete, often because the mind is unfocused and easily distracted. Barbara Keddy, Ph.D., a fibromyalgia specialist, notes in FOG Magazine that these brain fog lapses in concentration can also result in individuals losing their train of thought mid-sentence, having difficulty following conversations and feeling like nothing is registering or "sinking in" when people are talking. The Jigsaw Health website states that these symptoms include a feeling of spaciness and a persistent feeling of not being able to think clearly.
Confusion and Depression
Confusion can manifest itself in symptoms like mental fogginess or being unusually disorganized, notes Mayo Clinic. Keddy says in FOG Magazine that brain fog results in individuals being plagued with sensations of muddled or fuzzy thinking. This can result in individuals missing meetings or appointments or going on the wrong day or at the wrong time. Wilson notes that the mental confusions can cause people to feel detached, discouraged and depressed. Brain fog symptoms can cause a lot of unease for individuals who experience them, and depression and anxiety often occur concurrently with the symptoms of brain fog, notes Jigsaw Health.