Have you ever walked into a room and immediately forgotten we you entered it in the first place? Or maybe you’re familiar with the feeling of going out to dinner with family or friends or going to the grocery store only to realize you’ve forgotten your wallet? Unfortunately, what we’re describing isn’t too uncommon among many people. But what if this “forgetfulness” feels like a fog or a veil over your daily life? What if this happens to you more than occasionally, well into your addiction treatment journey?
Navigating “brain fog” moments can be overwhelming, frustrating, and sometimes downright scary. Although feeling scatterbrained can result from several neurological issues, when it begins post alcohol or drug use, that memory loss is almost always associated with that substance use.
How is Brain Fog Connected to Substance Abuse?
Drug use and the abuse of alcohol are often linked to varying levels of brain damage. The stress and damage substances place on our brain can lead to:
- Memory loss
- Cognitive deficits
- Other neurological risks
Brain fog is much like it sounds, and is often described as a general feeling of forgetfulness, slowed thinking, slowed reactions, a lack of concentration, or a mental haze. But how does this cognitive disarray leave you feeling?
Common Feelings You Have During Brain Fog
People who experience brain fog can feel it in varying degrees, and although it may not affect you severally, it can still lead to less desirable feelings. Feelings like:
- General frustration. If you’re having a hard time focusing, doing mundane tasks, or getting work done, it can cause significant mental and emotional stress.
- Depression. Brain fog often brings with it feelings of depression. Feeling unmotivated, sluggish, or unaware of your surroundings can cause you to feel “down.”
- Irritability. It’s common for brain fog to make people irritable. After all, your brain is trying to make sense of itself through cognitive confusion. It’s tasking on our brains and can lead to unstable emotions.
- Anxiety. Same with depression and irritability, forgetting whether or not you’ve locked the door, unplugged the iron, or remembered an important meeting can cause major anxiety. We often see that those who have felt brain fog previously are far more anxious and hyperaware after the fact, knowing that brain fog might happen again.
- Chronic fatigue. The brain that’s overworking will grow tired. Brain fog is emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically draining.
- Fear. You’re not alone if you’ve felt fear during and after a bout of brain fog. It can lead to fearful thoughts like, “Am I losing my memory?” and “Is this a sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia?”.
What Can I Do About Brain Fog?
Firstly, remember to have patience with yourself during episodes of brain fog. If you’re actively in recovery or still struggling with substance abuse, your brain will need help in many different forms to help reverse the damage that harmful substances may have caused.
It’s helpful to know that brain fog isn’t always permanent. Studies and medical research show that there are ways to reverse brain fog that’s caused by prior substance abuse. Let’s look at a few options that might work for you.
- Psychoneuroplasticity - PNP is an evidence-based practice used to reestablish connections with your brain cells. Sometimes referred to as “brain plasticity,” this practice, combined with detoxification and therapy, has been used successfully to recalibrate the way the brain functions.
- Diet and Supplements - Yes, what you put into your body affects how your brain will function. Alongside therapy, rehabilitation, and neuroplasticity treatments, feeding your brain the right foods and supplements can help all of the above be more effective.
- Stay Persistent - Be patient with yourself! Remember that mastering any skill takes time; the same can be said for sticking with any program that helps reverse brain fog.
- Utilize Brain and Body Exercises - Playing word games, participating in sports like swimming, and even playing a quick memory game can all help to rebuild how your brain functions with your muscles. Enhancing your mental and physical health will only benefit you.
Are You Ready?
If you’ve been experiencing brain fog, are currently looking for substance abuse treatment, or are looking to find alternative options to help you in your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Ready to learn more about Solbriety and how our team can help? Learn more here.