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Last modified on August 25th, 2020
Brain fog is a problem for many people, and it can be the result of medical conditions, diet, and lifestyle factors. When you struggle with brain fog, it can be helpful to pinpoint the reason so that you can work to treat that underlying cause to alleviate the problem. One question people tend to have is does anxiety cause brain fog. The answer is yes, anxiety can cause brain fog, and we explore this in more detail below.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a general term that describes symptoms related to how you process information, think, understand, and remember. When you deal with brain fog, it can impact you in a wide variety of ways including:
- Your memory and ability to store and remember information
- The way you understand and use language
- Your ability to process information
- Your understanding of information
- Your visual and spatial skills
- Your execution functions which include problem-solving, planning and organizing
Brain fog is not itself a condition. Instead, it’s a sign or symptom of some other condition in most cases.
When you are in the midst of experiencing brain fog, you may feel very scattered or as if you can’t focus on any one thing. You might feel disorganized and disoriented as well.
You may have problems dealing with complex situations or solving problems, and you may feel like reacting to certain situations is difficult.
What Causes Brain Fog?
There are many possible causes of brain fog. Some of them are psychological, others are related to certain medicines or medical treatments and some reasons for brain fog are due to physical health conditions or diseases.
Some of the many possible causes of brain fog include:
- Side effects of chemotherapy and cancer treatments
- Using multiple medications at once that may adversely interact with one another
- Hormonal changes related to issues such as pregnancy, thyroid disorders and menopause
- Blood pressure medications
- Some sleep aids
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Low blood sugar
- Cognitive decline related to age
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Vitamin deficiencies and in particular vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiencies
- Lack of sleep
- Multiple sclerosis
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Hashimoto’s disease
Does Anxiety Cause Brain Fog?
The answer to “does anxiety cause brain fog” is that yes, anxiety can absolutely be a cause of brain fog.
Anxiety is a condition that makes our body think it’s in fight or flight mode, perhaps constantly or nearly constantly. When you are in fight or flight mode, your nervous system is in high gear. This means anxiety can cause you to experience overthinking, racing thoughts, restlessness and fear.
Brain fog is something we associate with symptoms that are just the opposite on the other hand. For example, symptoms of brain fog often include slowed thinking and process and a feeling of being off and not being able to remedy it.
It may not seem natural that brain fog and anxiety are linked to one another, but they are.
When you struggle with anxiety it physically and mentally exhausts you. Your brain is constantly overthinking and is in overdrive leading to mental fatigue. You may also struggle with physical symptoms such as insomnia, and those symptoms can contribute to brain fog as well.
Essentially, when you deal with untreated and unmanaged anxiety your brain is constantly flooded with stress hormones and that leads to mental exhaustion.
That mental exhaustion is often followed by brain fog.
How Can You Deal with Anxiety Caused By Brain Fog?
When you struggle with brain fog, it’s important to try and pinpoint the reason and then work on dealing with that.
With anxiety, seeking cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful in not only dealing with the symptoms of anxiety but also the symptoms of brain fog.
You want to eat a diet that’s going to serve your brain health well and include plant-based foods whenever possible. Omega-3 oils and vitamins including A, B, C and D can be especially helpful for brain health and mental clarity and focus.
Exercise can help alleviate symptoms of both anxiety and brain fog too.
If anxiety and brain fog are impacting your life in a significant way, you should speak with a medical professional who can also help you decide what steps to take next.