Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
February 18, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

Have you been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and lately, you feel like you’re living in a fog? Are you having trouble concentrating and making decisions? If so, you may be experiencing bipolar brain fog.

In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of bipolar fog. We will also provide tips for how to manage this condition.

So, if you’re looking to learn more about bipolar and brain fog, and how to achieve an ideal brain function, you’ve come to the right place!

What exactly is bipolar fog?

Bipolar fog is a common manifestation of a mental illness, bipolar disorder, and how it feels will vary from person to person. But bipolar mental fog typically refers to a lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or trouble thinking clearly.

Sometimes the bipolar fog can also be described as a feeling of “brain fatigue” or an inability to access memories. 

The symptoms of bipolar mental fog can come on gradually or suddenly. Some people may experience bipolar fog only some of the time, while others may have it all the time.

What are the causes of bipolar brain fog?

There is no one fixed answer to this question, as there are many possible causes of bipolar fog. Some of the most common causes of this mental illness include:

Medications

Many medications used to treat bipolar disorder can cause bipolar fog. These include antipsychotics and bipolar mood stabilizers like lithium

Sleep Issues

If you have bipolar disorder, sleeping problems are common. And sleep deprivation has been shown to affect brain function, which can lead to brain fog.

Note that some bipolar medications may affect sleep quality or make it harder for you to get the recommended eight hours per night. If that is the case, talk to your doctor about bipolar medications that won’t impact your sleep.

Anxiety and Depression

Heightened anxiety and frequent depressive episodes are common in bipolar disorder, and they too have been associated with bipolar mental fog. 

How bipolar mental fog affects concentration and memory will depend on the individual. But when you are feeling anxious or dealing with severe depression, it can be difficult to focus on tasks or recall information.

Seek treatment for bipolar depression and bipolar anxiety if they are affecting your daily life. Sometimes psychotherapy is all that is needed, but medication may also help.

Thyroid Problems

Having an overactive thyroid gland is common in bipolar disorder, and it can also lead to brain fog bipolar. An underactive thyroid gland can cause bipolar mental fog as well.

If you suspect your bipolar symptoms may be related to a thyroid problem, talk to your doctor about getting tested for this condition.

Poor Diet or Dehydration

It goes without saying that a healthy diet is essential for a healthy mind. If you’re not eating properly or drinking enough water, this could also lead to different mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder. 

Lack of Exercise

Not getting enough exercise is another common cause of bipolar fog. When you’re inactive, your body and mind don’t function as well as they should.

So, make sure to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. 

Stress

If you are stressed out or anxious, bipolar fog can be a side effect of this. 

Some bipolar medications can make it hard to deal with stress, so talk to your doctor about your bipolar medication side effects.

What are the symptoms of brain fog bipolar?

As mentioned earlier, brain fog is a common symptom of bipolar disorder, and it can impact your life in many ways. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

Inability to Concentrate

This is one of the most common cognitive deficits caused by bipolar fog. You may find it hard to focus on tasks, follow conversations, or remember things. 

When bipolar mental fog makes it hard to concentrate, you may find that you don’t enjoy things that used to interest you.

Forgetfulness

Another one of the most common cognitive difficulties of dealing with bipolar fog is forgetfulness.

You may forget what you were just talking about in mid-sentence, or where you put your keys or the name of someone you’ve met a few times already.

Trouble Thinking Clearly

Brain fog bipolar can also cause you to have trouble thinking clearly. This may make it difficult to make decisions or solve problems. 

Feeling Confused

You may feel confused and not know what is going on around you. This can be very disorienting and scary. 

Trouble Expressing Your Thoughts

With bipolar fog, you might find it hard to express your thoughts and feelings. You may also have trouble finding the words to say what you want to say.

Lack of Motivation or Energy

Bipolar fog can make it hard for you to feel motivated about anything, which can lead to bipolar fatigue.

“Brain Fatigue”

Many people describe bipolar mental fog as a feeling of “brain fatigue.” It can be very draining and make it hard to do anything mentally or physically demanding. 

Slowed Thinking

Brain fog bipolar can also cause your thinking to slow down. This may make activities like reading or writing difficult. 

Severe Mood Swings

Severe mood swings that last for days or weeks are a symptom of bipolar disorder.

You may feel very depressed one day and then become manic the next day.

These mood episodes can make bipolar fog worse, so it’s important to seek treatment if you have severe bipolar symptoms. 

Can bipolar fog be diagnosed?

There is no bipolar fog test you can take to see if you have bipolar fog. However, your doctor may ask questions about your mental fog and fatigue when they are evaluating your bipolar disorder symptoms.

You may also be asked to do cognitive control tests, which use questionnaires to measure skills such as memory, attention, language, problem-solving, and overall cognitive function. 

How is bipolar fog treated?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the treatment for bipolar mental fog will vary from person to person.

However, some treatments that may help include: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that can help you learn how to manage the symptoms of different mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder.

It can be especially helpful for bipolar fog, as it can teach you strategies to improve your concentration and memory.

Medication

If medication is needed, there are many options available that may help treat bipolar mental fog. 

Your doctor will work with you to find the best medication and dosage for you.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changes to your lifestyle can also help improve bipolar fog. This may include things like getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress levels.

Self-Care Strategies

Finally, taking care of yourself is essential when it comes to bipolar fog. This may include things like getting enough sleep, taking breaks, and practicing relaxation techniques. 

How to cope with bipolar mental fog?

Bipolar fog can make it hard for you to enjoy your life, but there are some strategies that may help battle this mental illness. Some of these include: 

Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for bipolar fog and other bipolar symptoms. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep per night and avoid taking long naps during the day.

Set realistic goals

When bipolar fog makes it hard to concentrate, set small and achievable goals instead of trying to do too much at once. 

Break tasks into smaller parts

If bipolar fog makes it difficult to focus on a task, try breaking it down into smaller parts. This can make the job seem less daunting and more manageable.

Take breaks

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, take a break to clear your head. This may mean getting up and walking around or simply sitting back and relaxing.

Use a planner

Keeping track of bipolar fog symptoms can also be helpful. Try keeping a journal, so you know when your brain fog is likely to occur and what triggers it. This can help you plan accordingly, such as avoiding activities that require more concentration on those days.

Practice relaxation techniques

When bipolar fog makes you feel tense or stressed, try practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. 

Stay organized

This can help minimize forgetfulness and make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust about bipolar and brain fog can be helpful. This may be a friend, family member, or therapist. They can provide support and offer advice on how to cope with bipolar mental fog.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones and friends for support when a mental illness is affecting you. This can make a world of difference in helping improve a plethora of your brain fog symptoms.

Talk to your doctor

Bipolar disorder and its symptoms can be frustrating. If your bipolar fog is causing you distress, talk to your doctor about treatment options that may help.  

When bipolar fog treatment isn’t working, talk to your doctor about other options. There are many bipolar medications and therapies available that may help improve bipolar mental fog symptoms.

Final Thoughts

Brain fog is a common challenge with bipolar disorder. It can affect people in different ways and make it hard to concentrate, remember things, and focus.

There are many treatments available that may help bipolar fog symptoms. These include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. It’s important to find what works best for you and stick with it.

You’re not alone when it comes to bipolar mental fog. There are many people who experience bipolar fog, and there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.

If bipolar fog is impacting your quality of life, talk to your doctor about treatment options. They can help you find what works best for bipolar brain fog symptoms and improve how you feel on a day-to-day basis.  

If you want to learn more about brain fog and how to get rid of it effectively, feel free to read these helpful articles or join this online community of people dealing with different mental health conditions with brain health professionals helping them. 

Join The Mental Health Community You've Been Dreaming Of


This discord family is a safe place where we can all (anonymously if we choose) talk about and seek help for what is going on in our heads.

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