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November 23, 2022 7 min read

Do you find yourself struggling to focus or concentrate? Feeling like your thoughts are all over the place? Finding it hard to think clearly? You might be experiencing anxiety brain fog.

Yes, anxiety brain fog is a real thing - and it can be a frustrating and debilitating experience that is difficult to deal with.

But what exactly is anxiety brain fog? And what can you do about it? Read on to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of anxiety brain fog.

Brain fog: What is it?

Anxiety brain fog is a mental condition characterized by a feeling of confusion and disorientation. If you have anxiety brain fog, you may often feel like you are in a daze, and thoughts may seem difficult to grasp or hazy. You may have a lack of mental clarity, as well as difficulty concentrating, making decisions, thinking clearly, or remembering things. It can also cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or tired.

Moreover, you may have a lack of interest or motivation in the things you'd usually love to do. You may also find it challenging to complete tasks or carry on conversations. Therefore, it can interfere with work, school, and personal relationships.

Although it happens frequently, brain fog is not a disease in and of itself. But it might be a sign of other problems, such as stress, lack of sleep, or underlying physical or mental health conditions.What is the connection between anxiety and brain fog?

What is the connection between anxiety and brain fog?

There's no clear answer to whether anxiety causes brain fog. But there is evidence that the two are connected.

According to a study, anxiety may impair cognitive functions like reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Since your brain is too busy processing anxious thoughts, there isn't much room left to do other activities. This may lead to foggy brain function.

Moreover, when we are under sustained and extreme amounts of stress, the hormones adrenaline and cortisol can overpower or fatigue our minds. And it is precisely this sense of exhaustion that triggers the feedback loops that result in worried brain fog.

However, researchers have found that the connection between anxiety and brain fog can work both ways; when anxiety rises, so does brain fog - and vice versa.

What are the signs of anxiety brain fog?

Brain fog may impact the way you think and remember. You may experience the following signs:

  • having trouble concentrating or difficulty focusing

  • having trouble following conversations or losing your line of thought

  • lack of mental clarity due to exhaustion or mental fatigue

  • having trouble remembering words or memory problems

When you're experiencing brain fog, you may feel a sense of bewilderment present. You may have trouble remembering things and developing new ideas. Your thinking processes might be distorted and twisted. Numerous people have mentioned that they get an "ouch-headed feeling."

While everyone experiences brain fog from time to time, if you're finding that it's impacting your daily life, it's essential to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you figure out the cause and provide treatment options.


What causes brain fog?

There are a few different things that can contribute to brain fog. These include:


Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a medical condition that occurs when your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones.

According to a study, many hypothyroid patients are experiencing brain fog. The condition is commonly persistent after thyroid hormone levels are normalized and significantly affects their life. Brain fog in hypothyroidism is most frequently related to weariness, forgetfulness, and trouble with concentration.

Nutritional deficiency

Further research is required, but nutritional deficiency can potentially contribute to brain fog. When your body has an insufficient amount of vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin V, choline, and magnesium, you may experience brain fog.

Vitamin B12 is especially important for healthy cognitive function. Therefore, a lack of this vitamin can lead to brain fog.

Chronic stress

According to a 2017 research, chronic stress may increase your blood pressure, trigger depression, weaken your immune system, and lead to mental fatigue.

Your brain function might be impaired when exhausted, so it can be harder to think and focus.

Hyperstimulation due to anxiety

Even in extremely rare situations where a stress reaction occurs, your body can quickly recover from the physiological and psychological changes it causes.

However, it may be harder for your body to recover when stress response happens too frequently. This can cause your body to continue to be partially ready for a stress response. Since stress hormones are stimulants, this condition is often called "stress response hyperstimulation."

Even if a stress response has not been activated, hyperstimulation can nonetheless result in the alterations of an active stress response. And as hyperstimulation increases, the brain function may change. Changes in brain function can lead to chronic brain fog over time.

Sleep deprivation

Research reported that sleep deprivation can affect the way your brain functions.

Not getting enough sleep can hurt your energy levels and brain function, resulting in a "foggy brain."

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Brain fog may also be present in those with lengthy COVID. Anxiety and brain fog can both be brought on by chronic fatigue syndrome, which can make one feel constantly weary.

Hormonal changes

Fluctuating hormones can also trigger brain fog. For example, pregnancy may increase the levels of hormones progesterone and estrogen, which may lead to short-term cognitive impairment and impact your memory.

Another example is during menopause, when your estrogen levels drop. This can result in a lack of focus and brain fog.

Autoimmune diseases

Brain fog may be caused by autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and lupus.

It's predicted that more than half of multiple sclerosis patients will experience problems with cognitive function like brain fog.

What are the treatment and prevention for brain fog?

If you're dealing with brain fog, you may feel like you can't do anything right. But don't worry. There are things you can do to treat and prevent it.

The treatment of brain fog depends on its underlying causes. Besides medication, changes to your way of life may also be beneficial.

Here's how you can treat and prevent brain fog:

Treat the underlying cause

Knowing the root causes of brain fog will help you develop more efficient solutions. If you're diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, for example, your doctor may recommend medication to suppress your immune system or to reduce inflammation.

If your brain fog is caused by anxiety, it might be a good idea to talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you explore the causes of your mental health condition and develop the best treatment plan.

Get out of the house and exercise

Maintaining an active lifestyle, including participation in social activities, hobbies, and physical activity, has been shown to affect the brain positively. So get out of the house and start moving about as soon as possible.

Exercise is a great way to improve your brain function. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), exercise has been found to stimulate your brain's ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones. Thus, physical activity is associated with a better-functioning brain.

Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated

Be sure to eat properly balanced meals instead of fast food. It's crucial that you eat healthy foods that are rich in nutrients. Brain-healthy foods include omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and B vitamins.

It's also important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated since dehydration may cause foggy brain.

Get a restful night's sleep

If you regularly don't get enough sleep, it's probably time to try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. However, for the optimal function of the brain, it's recommended to sleep up to 9 hours.

If you have difficulties sleeping or staying asleep, try the to do the following:

  • Keep your bedroom cold and dark.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, and eat large meals close to bedtime.

  • Develop a bedtime routine that'll help you wind down and relax before bed, such as soaking in a warm bath, meditating, or reading your favorite book.

  • Maintain a schedule. Every day, even on weekends, you should try to go to bed and wake up at the same hour.

Create a stress management plan

Everyone experiences stress every now and then, but too much stress is not good for your health. Chronic stress can take a toll on your brain health. While managing stress is not an easy thing to do, it's essential that you create a plan to reduce stress.

You can try journaling about your emotions, practice breathing exercises, try yoga and meditation, and set boundaries to protect time for self-care.

Take supplements

There is some evidence that certain supplements may help improve brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are thought to support cognitive health by reducing inflammation and protecting nerve cells. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E may also help by scavenging harmful toxins that can damage brain cells.

You may also consider taking vitamin B-12 since it may help improve your cognitive function. Moreover, Gamma Oryzanol has been proven to increase neurotransmitter levels in the central nervous system.

But it's important to remember that supplements are not a cure-all for brain fog. They should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of physical activity and a nutritious diet. Talk to your doctor about the best supplements for your brain fog if you have a specific illness.

Anxiety brain fog: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Other simple lifestyle changes

You can do the following things to help ease your foggy brain:

  • Reduce your computer and mobile phone time, and force yourself to step away from the screen often.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, and drinking coffee in the afternoon.

  • Discover enjoyable activities, such as gardening, playing a video game, yoga, or spending quality time with the people you love.

Remember to see a doctor when having the relevant signs and have your brain fog medically reviewed regularly.

How do I treat brain fog caused by hypothyroidism?

If you have hypothyroidism, the best way to treat brain fog is to take medication to treat your thyroid hormone back up to normal. Most doctors will prescribe levothyroxine (synthetic T4). However, many hypothyroid patients feel better when they add liothyronine (synthetic T3) to their treatment regimen.

You may also consider taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) supplements like VitaliThy and Real Thyroid. Like Armour Thyroid, these supplements contain the natural forms of both T4 and T3. Thus, they can effectively ease symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as brain fog.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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