18 Symptoms of Brain Fog

iStock_000000053566XSmallOne of the most common complaints for those with adrenal fatigue is brain fog. Even as a very common complaint, it is not a recognized illness in traditional medicine.  In addition to adrenal fatigue, brain fog is often associated with hypothyroidism, or menopause.

Brain fog is described as confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. Often you may just not feel right, or you may feel a bit spacey. Sometimes people will call this having a temporary “senior moment” where you can’t seem to remember certain things.  For instance at dinner you might start to say “please pass the ….” and then you forget either the name of what it is you want or you simply can’t remember what it was that you wanted.

Some of the other symptoms of brain fog include:

1) Horrible short term memory
2) Difficulty with word finding and word substitution
3) Disorientation lasting 30-60 seconds ( You might be driving somewhere and you forget where you are and where you are going)
4) Loss of mental acuity
5) Forgetfulness
6) In ability to think clearly
7) A feeling that you’re in a fog or a dark cloud is over your head
8) Decreased attention span
9) Mild depression or anxiety
10) Lack of spatial awareness
11) Difficulty concentrating
12) Lack of focus
13) Confusion
14) Spaciness or Absentmindedness
15) Trouble learning new tasks
16) Trouble solving problems
17) Decrease in creativity
18) Decreased mental stamina

All natural diet recommendations:

1) Look for foods high in protein.  You may consider supplementing with whey protein to insure adequate amounts of protein daily.

2) Eat lots of green leafy vegetables (the darker green the better).

3) Eat brown rice or winter squash.

4) Eat foods high in omega-3 essential fatty acids i.e. oily cold water fish (albacore tuna, salmon, herring, mackereel, anchovies, sardines), flax seed, walnuts, and eggs.

5) As always, make sure to always have adequate hydration

 

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44 Comments »

  1. How do you treat over active thyroid? My doctor recommends burrning it and pills for the rest of my life

    Comment by Barbara — April 20, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  2. [...] Original post: 18 Symptoms of Brain Fog [...]

    Pingback by 18 Symptoms of Brain Fog | Adrenal Diet Weight Loss — May 5, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  3. I would recommend that for people with true adrenal exhaustion, fish oil be used cautiously, particularly with the high dosages available. Most know by now that fish oil has the effect of lowering cortisol which sounds like a good thing for anyone with high stress and healthy adrenals. Those with adrenal exhaustion, however, suffer the symptoms of low cortisol to begin with and lowering it further should be expected to excacerbate symptoms of this illness. One may be fooled into believing high dose fish oil is beneficial because, as the oil is metabolized, there is a bounceback effect on ACTH and, in turn, cortisol such that these hormones are secreted above baseline enabling one to temporarily feel better. The net effect is further depletion of the adrenals. I’ve experienced this firsthand & recommend, rather, the B complex vitamins. These increase adrenal hormones without the depletion effect. Perhaps a very low dose fish oil regimen is prudent along with these vitamins.

    Comment by Steven Heward — May 29, 2010 @ 1:18 am

  4. can adrenal fatigue get a lot worse every month after having your period? this is when i have the symptoms the most.

    Comment by melody — June 10, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  5. Steven – that is exactly the information I was looking for! I knew they were not helping! They just blunted my brain to the point where I thought everything was fine and now six months later I realise I don’t actually like this feeling at all, it stops me from doing things! Thank you!

    Comment by TR — September 10, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  6. i also get adrenal fatigue symptoms after my period. aniety, panic, mood swings. feeling slightly better after ovulating. i am 45 yrs . can anyone help melody and i ? 6/10/2010

    Comment by sara — October 5, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  7. I have been told I have adrenal fatigue. I have tried every treatment recomended. Nothing has helped. I have severe brain fog and fatigue. Anyone have any suggestions. Yes I do have hypo thyroid and am on armour. T3 and T4 great tsh stinks. Help!!

    Comment by Deb — October 20, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  8. Hello…I was wondering why I am having brain fog problems when I do have hypothyroidism but, my doctor says that my thyroid level is now to high so she lowered my dose from .175 to .150 of synthroid? I went to get a blood test for it thinking it was too low…I am 37 and returning to school. I am having problems concentrating and my recall is awful…If my thyroid level has been too high from taking synthroid can it cause brain fog also and will lowering the dose help? Please let me know if there are any other supplements out there that can help?

    Comment by Katherine — November 14, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  9. I am always stuck in a brain fog where I cannot focus very well on anything as if my brain is being ate up by something and I feel like I am walking in a dark cloud. :(

    I believe this brain fog may be also attracting negative energy due to my low-health but that’s another subject.

    I wish there was a treatment 4 this.

    Comment by Kyle — December 5, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  10. dear sir,

    i feel sense less or sometimes burning sensation and cloudy fog in the temple, nape and parietal ridge area of head.is this a brain fog???if so why it makes me sense less in those area if touched and sometimes a severge burning sensation…let me imform u i usually suffers from constipation and i m a gilbert’s syndrome patient.. please help me sir …u can send reply to my e mail
    thank you alot sir

    Comment by chuppe limbu — January 30, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

  11. What can be done to help improve ACTH levels? My endocrinologist has told me my adrenals are low. As a fitness instructor I am stunned and don’t know the first thing to do. I am tired all day, have energy in the evening and feel dizzy, Foggy, have mild hypoglycemia, have low potassium, low progesterone and low testosterone. The doctor told me he may try steroids but doesn’t want to. Wants to make this a last resort. Please help. I have two busy children, a full-time job, a husband and I love my life. I need energy and a clear head to live it. Are there any safe supplements you can suggest? Please help me. I feel like I’m dying.

    Comment by Saundra — March 19, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  12. I may represent the brain as hardware of the computer , files in C are infected with virus so this will lead to slow loading, Try to use E hard ware which is not infected by directing the images and balance to it by using base in prism then the fog will disappear .
    the god who is the designer does not want us to find the solution till now he want this like it is till forgiveness…

    Comment by walid — May 13, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  13. I have to say the one thing that I did and stuck too was a detox and it was an awesome experience. I feel so much better after 3 years of suffering and two of which I did not have a clue what was wrong with me. Go to dherbs.com and yes its a radical website but I am tired of dishing out copays for NOTHING. All you can do is try and see what happens. What do you have to lose but brain fog and much more.

    Comment by Kay — May 24, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  14. For hypothyroid, I took Kelp and or Dulse. This apparently has helped my levels be normal again, for what its worth.

    Comment by Uma — August 10, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  15. I Can’t Believe This Is All ( Everything In The List )I’m Going Through. In Addition I’m Experiencing Some Major Brain Farts, Irritating Mentle Fatigue, Disorientation Lasting For About A Minute Or Two While Walking!I Sometome Feel That I Have Some Personality Disorder I Feel Like I’m A Sociopath You Know. I Often Procatinate A Lot Than You May Think This Is Usually Early In The Morning Instead Of Doing Some Constructive Task, I Tend To Dismiss It By Listening To Music Sometimes For Some Strange Reason Unfortunately My Number One Bands Don’t Do Any Good Either So All I Can Do Is Meet With My Friends Or My Girlfriend This Usually Helps When They Are Around. I Don’t Do Any Drugs. I’m Fit And I’m A Very Talented Soccer Player But I Have Very Low Energy! Atleast That Is What I Believe, And I’m Terribly Stressed, i Can’t Help It But To Be Taken Down By The “Silent assasin” Thanks A Bunch Please Help I Read Somewhere That Oils And Fats Trigger Brain Fog So Why Is Fish Oil Exceptional And Recommended “I Love Fish”

    Comment by Zafir Yaman — August 11, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  16. [...] This list is courtesy of MyAdrenalFatigue.com. [...]

    Pingback by Brain Fog Symptoms | The Health Matters Show With Cinda Crawford — August 11, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  17. I couldn’t see the picture, please fix the page.

    Comment by cmc — September 5, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  18. I get it some times for weeks on end, and then nothing for a while.

    I suspect it may be sleep related.

    I’ve been taking Magnesium at night to help me sleep and I’ve seen a significant drop in symptom regularity.

    Biggest problem in finding a real cure is the un-specific nature of symptoms, and all the white noise caused by snake oil sellers.

    Comment by Simon — October 3, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  19. im 15 years old and get these symptoms and its horrible. :(

    Comment by Lewis — October 24, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  20. I am a gorgeous 40 yr old female. Looking at me you would never know that I constantly suffer from brainfog, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, appetite loss, it hits hard . It has come and gone with seemingly no precursors. It is almost disableing and I often wonder how I completed a days work. It feels like I am constantly “stoned” but it feels awful. No one knows but me. How can anyone else understand..:(

    Comment by Brandy Lampman — November 22, 2011 @ 3:14 am

  21. Steven, are you a doctor? I don’t think you have anything to back up your claims. In fact there’s much more evidence against what you are saying.

    Comment by Someone in the know — November 22, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  22. By lowering your cortisol with fish oil, you are allowing your adrenals to REST, which in the LONG term, helps with adrenal fatigue: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12909818

    Comment by Someone in the know — November 22, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  23. [...] new tasks 16) Trouble solving problems 17) Decrease in creativity 18) Decreased mental stamina 18 Symptoms of Brain Fog It feels like there's something preventing me from willing myself to think necessary thoughts, [...]

    Pingback by [INFP] What Happens When You Lose Yourself? — December 27, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  24. my son is 15 and has brain fog and has had for 6 months he is getting very frustrated and we are going to see a neurologist pls can you help me and him to get rid of this, he has had blood tests and they are fine

    Comment by michelle — January 9, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  25. I was just tested to see if I might be suffering from a Adrenal tumor. The symptoms I gave my doctor are the following: swelled neck, tingling lower facial area, sleepliness, memory loss, difficulty swallowing at times, abdomial swelling and a sharp pain in my right side just under my rib cage that comes & goes throughout the day or night.My gallbladder has been removed. I recently had a endoscopy and it came back normal.I am seeing an endocrologist for my diabetes which normally runs on th elow side. Anytime I have to fast for a procedure my blood sugar drops really low & leaves me with a migrane headache for hours. Hoping my endocrologist puts this puzzle together soon.

    Comment by 50 year old Women — January 15, 2012 @ 4:50 am

  26. [...] It’s only since starting the synthroid treatment, and feeling much better for a while and then feeling worse again, that I’ve realized that I’ve probably been hypothyroid for longer than half a year, and it probably is Hashimoto’s, because I recognize the swing of a particular symptom coming and going: brain fog. [...]

    Pingback by Symptoms – Gillianic Tendencies — January 17, 2012 @ 12:43 am

  27. I have these same symptoms! HELP! i am suffering from scleroderma, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, raynaud’s syndrome, arthritis, you name it. i get these bouts of shaking and trembling inside. i feel like my blood is racing. i can’t think straight and i get confused and disoriented. my pulse races. i am on bp medicine as well, b12, calcium/mag/zinc, vit c, cymbalta, armour thyroid, xanax, estrodiol, lasix, it keeps going. right now i feel i am in danger of losing my job because i get confused and disoriented and i’m not even the person i know! my Rh and Md don’t seem to make any changes that help so i’m on my own trying to figure this out. pls someone point me in the right direction…

    Comment by Traci — January 21, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  28. To Michelle in the above comment,

    Has your son been tested for DHEA levels? I too was very frustrated about the brain fog for months, until I went to a functional medicine doctor who tested my DHEA levels. It showed that I was in the dangerously low range, 71 as compared to the normal 300-400 for a male my age. My doctor is convinced that it’s the low DHEA that’ts contributing to the imbalance of hormones, which is causing the cognitive dysfunction, or ‘brain fog.” I do not live in the United States so the treatment method may be different, but she has prescribed me with natural supplements (Asian medicine tries to stay natural) and puts me on a nutritional IV once a week to help my adrenal fatigue. Again, I’m not sure how your health care provider will treat this, but depending where you are, I really do recommend going to a functional medicine practitioner, as I have. I have heard great things about one doctor in America, his name is Dr. Mark Hyman. I read a book he wrote but have not had any first hand experience with him, only from a family friend. This is his website- http://www.drhyman.com. He lives in Lenox, MA, and I seriously considered taking a trip to see him, even from halfway around the world. To anyone who may be reading this, take a look at the website I’ve provided. He has been known to treat all kinds of diseases from autism to alzheimer’s. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with! You can email me at villageidiotii@hotmail.com

    – Patrick

    Comment by Patrick — January 24, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  29. i have total brain fog,feel tired a lot of the time and do forget the silliest of things when having a conversation, i have been told i have to have my thyroid levels checked as they have been dropping since 2006, but keep being told that they are normal or lower end of normal. I have noticed this brain fog now for some time and havent felt “quite right”. Could this be due to a thyroid problem do you think?

    Comment by Lorraine — February 4, 2012 @ 5:07 am

  30. Hello. I am a 22 year old female who has been dealing with severe brain fog for 2 years. I have been through every sort of test with my GP and of course, everything came back NORMAL. Although, I did not feel “normal”. I just wasn;t myself, couldn’t think at all, felt like I was in a dream all the time. Desperate to get better, I started trying everything. I decided to go to a naturopathic doctor. She tested my blood, just like my GP did. She told me I was vitamin b12 deficient, gave me an injection along with a complex b multi vitamin. She has also been doing accupunctire and chinese medicine on me. I have never had more energy and felt better in my life!!!! I urge anyone who is suffering from Brain Fog to please visit a naturopath, it will change your life. Good luck to all! :)

    Comment by Nikki McLaughlin — February 5, 2012 @ 6:18 am

  31. I was diagnosed with depression/other about 10 years ago and have had problems for about 16 years. I am now 38. I used to have hyperfocus and now I’m always tired. I could sleep forever and it’s hard to wake up. I’m very tired of being sick and tired. It makes me lazy and procrastinate or I pick a nap rather than being productive. In the last 4 years my brain has gotten increasingly foggier. Do I have add? My husband thinks so. I think so, my M.D. doesn’t. Antidepressents provide some relief, but at the expense of adding to drowsiness. My thyroid activity is borderline high. So, is it depression, stress, add, hormonal or sleep dysfunction. I just would like to function like everybody else. Life is full of responsibilities. I just want to be able to keep up without the added complications. Now, economy has made things financially difficult for us and I am on food stamps and don’t qualify for medical assistance. But I have no choic but to figure out a way to pay for testing. Our income is $19,000/yr. I’m going to pay out of pocket for add testing (about $2,000) because no doctors will help me with trying to find medicine that will work for me. God forbid they prescribe me a stimulant for add to see if it works for me. I feel like no one will help me. I’m in school and my doctor says to improve my study habits. How about when I sit at a computer and I’m distracted by everything else. Well, I guess it’s cause I’m irresponsible? Or lazy. And I’ve told my teacher about my difficulties and am behind in homework cause the fogginess makes it very difficult to do computer programming homework. I’m pretty smart when I can focus, but that’s becoming more and more rare. So, my teacher is unwilling to take late homework from me or to walk me thru things while I’m struggling until help arrives from some doctor. Will it ever arrive?

    Comment by Terri — February 5, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  32. Ihave this problem to when i take fish oil i burp it up . is there something else i can take .

    Comment by charlenaboyd — February 14, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  33. i also have this thing, all the symptoms and i dont know what to do..

    Comment by Ali — February 16, 2012 @ 7:14 am

  34. I’m reading all of these comments and I can’t believe there are so many people out there like me. I feel like I don’t even want to go to a doctor anymore because none of them even attempt to understand – they’ve given me supplements and antidepressants and told me to exercise and eat right (which I do, almost obsessively). Let me first say that I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism when I was about 16. I couldn’t stop eating (couldn’t feel full) and was sooo tired, falling asleep in class. It went into remission after a couple years according to the blood tests and I haven’t been on thyroid medication in 13 years, although I still have an enlarged thyroid. During this past 13 years, I’ve had good years and really bad ones. I remember when I was in my early 20’s needing to go home at lunch time to take a quick nap because I was so tired. I could barely get through the day. Now in my early 30’s not much has changed in that department. Most days I wake up not refreshed but feeling like a truck hit me. It takes a good 3-4 hours for me to feel awake and somewhat alert. I eat a very healthful lunch, salads, fish or chicken, etc. then an hour or two later I get this overwhelming feeling of fatigue and need to nap. If I do, I feel foggy the rest of the day. If I don’t, I feel tired the rest of the day. The mind fog is just a constant. I don’t feel motivated or feel the way I used to. I recently took myself off of Zoloft after 7 months and experienced feelings of the way I used to feel – REALLY great – for about 3 or 4 weeks (but had some major brain zap problems as well). I didn’t care about the negative, I was so happy to feel like my old self again, excited about life and optimistic and appreciative and motivated. But then almost at once, the old feelings came back. The mind fog covered me like a cloud. WHAT HAPPENED!!!??? Please, if someone knows what can help me, please email me at leighandrea1@gmail.com. I don’t want to live the rest of my life this way. I workout now regularly, have adopted the Paleo diet, I am not on any medications now and have had my hormones all tested and everything points to “normal” but I know something is still wrong.

    Comment by Leigh — February 23, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  35. Have you tried Ginko Bilboa? I was just reading about it and hope to give it a try. There are certain restrictions as far as mixing with other supplements or medications. Any things worth a try. I have it really bad as well as insomnia, which of course makes it worse. Migraines are intense. It is very difficult to function so I can certainly relate.

    Comment by Vicky — February 25, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  36. Hi Charlena – try Coromega squeeze packs – they are really tasty – I like the orange ones, not the chocolate orange so much. I do not know how they have managed to take the fishiness out, but they did. My kids even love them. I used to take Nordic Naturals, but have switched and am very happy.

    As for my story, I have a fairly debilitating brain fog and have been seeking a cure for the last 5 years… still searching. Now on 15mg slow release hydrocortisone, fish oil and high dose B complex. I was taking bioidentical thyroid but did not notice any improvements in cognition – I may go back on it because since stopping I do have some mood imbalance.

    Comment by Kate — March 2, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  37. I too suffer this strange spaced out brain fog / extreme tiredness and have searched for 9 years for a diagnosis or treatment. recently i discovered something called ‘ amalgam mercury toxicity’. you know those silver coloured fillings you get from dentists? they have mercury in them and the mercury can slowly poison you giving you symptoms of chronic fatigue, memory problems and so many other things. here’s a test for you all… look inside your mouth and see if you have these silver things on any of your teeth.. i’m willing to bet almost everyone of you have these mercury fillings and i also bet everyone of you have been for a series of tests for your symptoms but they found nothing wrong with you. check it out online NOW. ‘ amalgam poisoning ‘

    Comment by darren young — March 3, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  38. Dear all,

    I have been struggling with major depression and severe fatigue, brain fog, no memory function, extreme tiredness and 100 other sympoms. Perhaps at one point I though I should die. I lost so many jobs and divorce and long sad story.

    NOW, recently I have been told that it is all due to Candida overgrowth. I have started taking ACV Apple Cider Vinegar with Baking soda since a week and today I felt bit better. Please search for earthclinic.com and google it acv and baking soda for fatigue, brain fog, and it can help with 100 other things. IT IS A MIRACLE DRUG. Please search, read review and try, you have nothing to lose. you will tell me in two weeks time that it is a miracle. and again, believe me, it is only £ 3.00 !! Please email me at autocar93@yahoo.co.uk if you start feeling well as I am also on my second week of this treatment and your reviews will perhaps give me some more strength to live. God bless

    Comment by Nick — March 11, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  39. Some of these symptoms sound like Lyme disease possibly :/

    Comment by chris — March 12, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  40. I have had 24/7 Brain Fog for now almost 2years. Always feeling fatigued,and low on energy. Foggy head,Headaches. Anyone else on the same boat? I have tried Accutherapy and Naturotherapy, neither have shown any difference..

    Comment by Bonnie — March 16, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

  41. Lately it seems that I have about 90 to 100% of all these symptoms.. I am not sure my nurse practitioner will Dx this as brain fog, but rather as ADD… Is there more info on supplements and foods to diet on to improve? I saw a couple of links I need to visit… but I was wondering if there is more research pertinent to these symptoms…

    Comment by Ed — March 19, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  42. this brain fog i am getting is getting worse.
    it is hard to put in to words.
    but now i know im not alone it is not as bad.
    thankyou
    vix

    Comment by vix — April 6, 2012 @ 2:54 am

  43. I too have these symptoms – have had brain fog for about 2 years. I am pretty sure it began as a result of a time of high stress, when I experienced a strong fight or flight reaction a few times. Since then I have become depressed and burnt out. My depression lifted 2 months ago, but I am still exhausted and pressure in my sinus areas (initially I took antibiotics for the sinuses but nothing helped). Have tried Anti-Candida diet and determined that I have a gluten sensitivity. To all those who have trouble with constipation, I recommend giving up wheat/gluten for a few wks to see if that helps (I reduced my milk intake too, but giving up gluten has REALLY helped with my intestines… but the brain fog continues).

    I have recently read on another site where several people started to experience brain fog and dizziness after high stress experiences – is that you too?

    I have no solution yet, but just this week (as now am feeling weaker and have insomnia) I’ve decided to take strong action to reduce my stress (I do a lot of work and volunteering) – I am cutting out as much volunteering as possible, and will leave work at 5pm and take care of myself. I am hoping that a combo of stress reduction, healthy food, and starting vitamins will make a big difference. I will let you know if it works. The only time I have noticed the symptoms lessening was after 5 days off from all commitments (after Xmas), so I am hoping stress is the culprit.

    Hang in there and take care of yourselves.

    Comment by Rona — May 4, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  44. I found Citicoline helps with brain fog, found I health food stores only downfall it causes insomnia, I use neuro optimizer by Jarrow, it worked within 2-3 hours

    Comment by Cyndi — June 15, 2012 @ 1:03 am

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