Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
May 5, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

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Prednisone is a prescription medication used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It’s a steroid that can have many side effects, one of which is prednisone brain fog

Brain fog can cause problems with memory, focus, and concentration. It can make it difficult to think clearly and can be very frustrating. If you’re taking prednisone and dealing with brain fog, there are some things you can do to help clear the fog and feel better.

This article is going to cover what can happen when you’re taking prednisone, some common “brain fog” symptoms, and 15 ways to clear the fog. 

What Exactly is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is a term used to describe a feeling of confusion or fuzzy thinking. It can make it difficult to focus, remember things, or think clearly. 

Brain fog can be caused by many different things, including prednisone. When you take prednisone, it can affect your brain chemistry and cause changes in your brain that lead to brain fog. 

What Exactly is Prednisone? 

Simply put, prednisone is a type of steroid. It’s used to treat a variety of conditions, including allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Prednisone can be taken in pill form, as an injection, or through inhalation. It’s a powerful medication that can have many side effects, one of which is the dreaded brain fog. 

Can Prednisone Cause Brain Fog? 

There’s no simple answer to this question. In some cases, prednisone can cause brain fog. In other cases, it may not be the prednisone that’s causing the problem. It could be a combination of factors. If you’re taking prednisone and dealing with brain fog, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out if prednisone is the cause of your brain fog and what, if anything, you can do about it. 

Brain Fog Prednisone: Common Symptoms 

Brain fog prednisone can manifest in a variety of different ways. Some of the most common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, increased forgetfulness, trouble remembering things, and problems with your short-term memory.

You may also find that you’re more forgetful than usual and have a hard time tracking conversations or following directions. If prednisone is the cause of your brain fog, you may also notice other side effects like fatigue, trouble sleeping, and irritability. 

How to Clear Your Brain Fog and Improve Overall Brain Health 

There are many things you can do to clear prednisone brain fog and improve your overall brain health. Some of these things include: 

1. Set reminders for yourself

When you’re dealing with prednisone brain fog, it can be difficult to remember things. You may find yourself forgetting what you were just talking about or forgetting to do important tasks. To help combat this, set reminders for yourself. Put reminders in your phone, write them down on a Post-It note, or use any other method that works for you. 

2. Set a sleep routine (and stick to it!)

Sleep is an important factor to overall brain health. When you’re not getting enough sleep, it can lead to problems with focus, concentration, and memory. If prednisone is causing you to have trouble sleeping, do your best to stick to a regular sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. 

3. Ask your doctor about switching medications

If prednisone is the cause of your brain fog, it’s worth talking to your doctor about possibly switching medications. There are many different options available and they may have fewer side effects than prednisone. 

4. Take a close look at your other prescriptions

Brain fog can also be caused by medications other than prednisone. This is why it’s important to take a close look at all of your prescriptions and talk to your doctor if you think any of them may be causing problems with brain fog or overall brain health. 

5. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can help you focus and be present in the moment. The key to mindfulness is being fully engaged in the moment and not letting your mind wander. Practicing mindfulness can be helpful whether or not prednisone is causing brain fog, as it can help you feel more focused and less forgetful overall. 

6. Take breaks throughout the day 

When you’re dealing with prednisone brain fog, it can be helpful to take breaks throughout the day. This will give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. You may find that stepping away from work for 10-15 minutes or going on a quick walk can help clear your head and boost your productivity. 

7. Schedule your workouts so that you don’t skip them

Prednisone can cause fatigue, which can make it hard to find the energy to workout. However, exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for your brain health. It increases blood flow to the brain, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients that are essential for brain health. So, even though it may be difficult, it’s important to make exercise a priority. Try scheduling your workouts in advance so that you’re less likely to skip them. 

8. Consider taking a yoga class

Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and improve brain function. It’s also a good option if you’re dealing with prednisone-induced fatigue, as it’s a low-impact form of exercise. 

9. Figure out your brain fog patterns

Do you notice that your brain fog is worse in the morning or afternoon? Does it get better after you’ve eaten? Or does it tend to be worse on days when you’re more active? Once you’ve identified patterns, you can start to figure out what triggers your brain fog and how to avoid it. 

10. Keep a journal 

Writing things down can help you remember them better. If prednisone is causing brain fog, keeping a journal can be helpful. You can use it to track your thoughts, activities, and how you’re feeling each day. This can help you identify patterns and figure out what’s triggering your brain fog. 

11. Eat healthy, brain-friendly meals 

Eating healthy, brain-friendly meals is important for overall brain health. But it can be especially helpful if you’re dealing with prednisone brain fog. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. And try to limit processed foods, sugar, and saturated fat. 

12. Keep rehydrating 

Dehydration can make prednisone brain fog worse, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, or more if you’re active or exercising. You may also want to consider drinking other fluids like coconut water and green tea, which can help boost brain health.

13. Play brain games you enjoy 

If prednisone brain fog is really affecting your quality of life, consider playing brain games that you enjoy. There are many different types of brain games, including crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and video games. Some research has shown that these types of activities can actually improve brain function and help reduce the effects of prednisone-induced cognitive impairment. 

14. Get some regular green time 

Spending time in nature, or even just looking out a window at some green space, can help clear your mind and reduce brain fog. Try to set aside some time each day to get outside and take in the natural world around you. This can be especially helpful if prednisone is causing allergies or other respiratory problems that are affecting your concentration. 

15. Remain socially connected 

It can be easy to withdraw socially when you’re dealing with prednisone brain fog. But remaining socially connected and interactive is actually important for brain health. So, even if you’re feeling tired or unmotivated, try to make an effort to connect with friends and family. You may find that socializing actually helps clear your head and improve concentration.

Can Brain Fog be Diagnosed? 

There is no single specific test or set of diagnostic criteria that can be used to diagnose prednisone brain fog. Instead, doctors typically use a combination of clinical assessments and other factors, such as patient medical history and symptoms, to make an accurate diagnosis. Some common diagnostic criteria for prednisone brain fog include difficulty thinking clearly, persistent feelings of fatigue, and impaired concentration or memory. 

Other Prednisone Side Effects 

In addition to brain fog, prednisone can also cause a number of other side effects, including:

  • weight gain
  • mood swings
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased appetite
  • bloating
  • dizziness
  • increased sweating
  • skin rash or irritation 

If you are experiencing any of these side effects due to prednisone and it’s affecting your daily life, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. They can work with you to find an effective treatment plan and help you manage your prednisone-related health concerns.

In Conclusion

Prednisone brain fog can be a frustrating and debilitating side effect of the medication. But there are things you can do to help clear the fog and improve your cognitive function. These include journaling, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, playing brain games, spending time in nature, and remaining socially connected. If prednisone brain fog is affecting your quality of life, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

To learn more about brain fog and general brain health, check out more articles and consider joining an online community for support and guidance

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