Why Your Brain Fog Might Be More Serious Than You Think

Brain fog might not be an actual medical issue itself, but if you've ever experienced the real mental fatigue that comes with feeling constantly spaced out, it might seem problematic and worrisome. In reality, brain fog is a sign that other medical conditions may be at play, according to Healthline.

Brain fog hinders your cognitive functioning, making you feel sluggish or hazy (via Verywell Mind). You might struggle to focus on a thought or recall things, have trouble multitasking or following conversations, and have difficulty paying attention and concentrating. Symptoms can also include headaches and just feeling mentally exhausted. Not only can brain fog feel mentally taxing, but it can also affect your sense of self. 

"Ultimately, brain fog can impact the way you feel about yourself," Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, a professor and clinical psychologist, tells Verywell Mind. "Individuals often do not feel like themselves as the loss of mental sharpness feels foreign to them." In severe cases, brain fog may cause you to miss days of work or school.

Brain fog can be due to serious medical conditions

Brain fog itself isn't a medical condition, but it could be a symptom of other things going on with your health. COVID-19 infections are common causes of feeling mentally fuzzy since they can create inflammation in the brain and cause neurons to communicate less effectively (via Verywell Mind). In women, the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause can contribute to those mentally fuzzy feelings. Also, common life stressors like a lack of sleep and nutritional deficiencies, like vitamin B12, can also be a cause. And side effects of certain medications may make it harder to think clearly and maintain focus.

In some cases, brain fog might be attributed to more serious medical conditions. Depression is a common but serious cause, along with chronic fatigue syndrome (via Healthline). It can also be caused by anemia, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Often, brain fog results from more than one condition, as many can go hand-in-hand, according to Verywell Mind. For example, depression and increased stress can lead to a lack of sleep and vice versa. If you're experiencing brain fog, talk to your doctor about your symptoms to figure out how to alleviate them and get your sharp mind back in shape.