Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
April 17, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

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

Do you feel like you’ve been dealing with brain fog for years and don’t know why? If so, you’re not alone.

Mental fog can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that lasts for months or even years.

This article will discuss 15 possible reasons why brain fog might be hanging around and how to treat it.

We’ll also provide some resources and tips for improving your brain health. So, if a foggy brain has been making your life difficult, read on!

What exactly is brain fog?

Brain fog or mental fog is a term used to describe feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and mental fatigue.

If you are dealing with a foggy brain, you may have difficulty focusing, remembering things, or even thinking clearly.

For some people, brain fog is a temporary mild cognitive impairment that lasts for a few days or weeks, but for other people, it could be a chronic condition that lasts for years. 

15 Common Reasons Why You’re Dealing With Brain Fog For Years

There are many potential causes of mental fog, and it can be tricky to identify the root cause of your symptoms.

Here are 15 common reasons why your brain fogginess might be hanging around:

Hormonal changes and mental fuzziness

Hormonal changes and mental fuzziness go hand-in-hand, especially for many women during and after pregnancy. 

During pregnancy, brain fog can be caused by the increased levels of hormones like progesterone and estrogen.

After giving birth, mental fog can persist due to fluctuations in hormone levels.

Women may also experience lingering symptoms of mental fog during perimenopause and menopause, which both cause significant changes in hormones.

If you think your foggy brain might be related to hormones, talk to your doctor about hormonal testing and treatment options.

Impaired sleep quality

Poor sleep quality is one of the most common causes of brain fog.

If you’re not getting enough sleep or if you have insomnia, you may find yourself feeling constantly tired and struggling to focus during the day.

To improve your sleep quality, practice good sleep hygiene habits and make sure to create a calm and relaxing environment in your bedroom.

You may also want to talk to your doctor about sleep medications or other treatment options if you’re struggling with insomnia or a different type of sleep disorder.

Anxiety and stress

Anxiety and chronic stress can also lead to brain fog. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, it’s challenging to focus on anything else.

If anxiety and stress are making it hard for you to think clearly, consider talking to a therapist or counselor.

They can help you manage your anxiety and stress in a variety of healthy ways and help you restore your mental clarity.

Diet deficiencies and food sensitivities

If you’re not getting enough nutrients from your diet, you may start to experience brain fog, and unless you improve your diet, the symptoms will linger for a long time.

Certain vitamins and minerals are essential for brain health, so make sure you’re eating a balanced diet.

You may also want to consider eliminating potential food sensitivities or allergens from your diet if you think they might be contributing to your mental fog.

Dehydration

Dehydration is another common cause of brain fog. When you’re dehydrated, your body and brain don’t function as well as they should.

To stay properly hydrated, make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and avoid diuretics like coffee and alcohol. 

You may also want to consider drinking electrolyte-rich beverages, such as sports drinks, especially if you’re prone to excessive sweating or vomiting.

Medication side effects 

Certain medications can cause mental fog as a side effect.

So, suppose you’ve been taking a few maintenance medications and are also dealing with brain fog for years.

In that case, you may want to talk to your doctor about the type of medication that’s more suitable for you as well as the dosage and other alternatives. 

If you start taking a new medication and suddenly find yourself feeling more forgetful or confused, a foggy brain may be to blame.

Talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of any medications you’re taking and see if there might be another option that doesn’t trigger brain fog.

Underactive thyroid

An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a common cause of a foggy brain.

The symptoms of an underactive thyroid can vary from person to person, but many people report constantly feeling tired and having difficulty concentrating when they have this condition.

If you think your brain fog might be caused by an underactive thyroid, talk to your doctor about getting a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels.

Depression

Depression is another condition that’s often associated with a foggy brain.

When you’re depressed, it’s challenging to focus on anything else, and you may start forgetting things or have trouble concentrating.

If you think your brain fog might be related to depression or other mental health conditions, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

There are a variety of effective treatments for depression, so there’s no need to suffer from the condition.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is another condition that can cause brain fogginess.

CFS is a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis.

It’s a baffling illness that usually lasts for a minimum of six months and lingers for years—making CFS difficult to attribute to any kind of ailment.

The symptoms become more severe with mental activity and simple physical exertions, but they do not improve with sleep or any other form of rest.

If you think you might have CFS, talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting treatment.

While there’s no cure for CFS, there are treatments that can help eliminate your symptoms and improve your cognitive function and quality of life.

Brain inflammation

Brain inflammation is another potential cause of lingering brain fog symptoms.

When the brain is inflamed, it doesn’t function as well as it should.

This can lead to a variety of cognitive dysfunction symptoms, including brain fogginess.

If you think your cognitive fog might be caused by brain inflammation, talk to your doctor about treatment options. 

There are a few alternative methods to alleviate brain inflammation, so there’s no need to suffer from it.

Anemia

Anemia is another common cause of lingering mental fog symptoms.

When you have anemia, your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.

This can lead to a variety of cognitive impairment symptoms, including a foggy brain.

If you think your cognitive fog might be caused by anemia, talk to your doctor about treatment options. 

There are a number of different treatments for anemia, so there’s no need to live with it.

ADD or ADHD 

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are both conditions that can cause a foggy brain.

People with these conditions often have difficulty concentrating and may start forgetting things or have trouble paying attention.

If you think your brain fogginess might be related to ADD or ADHD, consult your doctor about management options.

There are a number of effective therapies for both conditions, so there’s no need to live with cognitive fog and attention deficiency. 

Heavy metal exposure

Heavy metal exposure is another potential cause of lingering cognitive fog.

When you’re exposed to heavy metals, they can accumulate in your brain and lead to a variety of cognitive impairment symptoms, including mental fog.

If you think your brain fogginess might be caused by heavy metal exposure, consult your doctor to get you tested. 

Exposure to toxic mold 

Exposure to toxic mold is another potential cause of cognitive fog.

Mold can release toxins into the air that can lead to a variety of cognitive dysfunction symptoms, including brain fogginess. 

If you think your cognitive fog might be caused by exposure to toxic mold, consult your doctor about getting tested and looking into treatment options that are suitable for you.

There are a number of ways to treat exposure to toxic mold, so there’s no need to live with a foggy brain.

Autoimmune disease 

Autoimmune disease is another potential cause of brain fogginess. 

When you have an autoimmune disease, your body attacks healthy cells by mistake, thereby weakening your central nervous system, especially your immune system.

This can lead to a variety of cognitive impairment symptoms, including brain fog.

If you think an autoimmune disease might cause your brain fog, consult your doctor to get tested.

There are a number of different treatments for autoimmune disease, so there’s no need to live with brain fog.

Can brain fog be diagnosed?

At this time, brain fog is not a diagnosable condition.

However, there are a number of conditions that can cause symptoms of brain fog.

If you’re experiencing brain fog, talk to your doctor about the possibility of underlying medical conditions.

They can order tests to rule out any potential causes and provide you with a diagnosis.

How to treat brain fog?

Brain fog treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

If an underlying medical condition causes your brain fog, treating the condition will often help improve your brain function and alleviate symptoms of brain fog.

For example, if your brain fog is caused by anxiety, treatment for anxiety can often help improve symptoms. 

If brain fog is caused by a lack of sleep, making sure to get enough sleep can often help improve symptoms of brain fog.

In some cases, brain fog may improve on its own without any treatment.

If brain fog is impacting your quality of life, talk to your doctor about potential treatment options.

And consider following these natural remedies:

  • Get regular aerobic exercise.
  • Improve your gut health.
  • Develop efficient sleeping habits.
  • Maintain a well-balanced, brain-friendly diet.
  • Exercise your brain regularly.
  • Keep rehydrating.
  • Make it a habit to spend time in nature.
  • Take breaks throughout the day.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Remain socially connected.
  • Practice mindfulness regularly.
  • Consider therapy.

The Bottom Line 

Brain fog can be a frustrating and debilitating condition.

If brain fog has been impacting your quality of life for years now, make sure to consult a medical professional about potential treatment options that are suitable for you. 

And consider following some of the natural remedies for brain fog that we listed in this article.

If you want to learn more about brain fog and how to clear it effectively, here are a few more educational blog posts to read, and feel free to join this online community of brain health enthusiasts.

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.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Insert About the Author
>