Brain Fog: Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Ways to Relieve It




Published on

December 6, 2023


Updated on

January 18, 2024

Medically Reviewed by

Ben Ahrens, HHP

Brain Fog

Brain fog, often characterized as a lack of focus, confusion, forgetfulness, and decreased mental clarity, can be an incredibly frustrating symptom that is brought on by several different illnesses and conditions. This mental dullness can drastically affect a person’s quality of life and their ability to go about their day-to-day lives as they would. Neuroplasticity, which is the ability that each person has to rewire and form new neural connections in the brain, may be a huge key factor when it comes to combating debilitating brain fog. Today we are going to cover what exactly brain fog is, how it develops, ways to combat it, and even some questions that are commonly asked regarding this symptom.

What is Brain Fog?

To put it very simply, brain fog is a symptom that causes a person to experience chronic fatigue, problems with their memory, trouble with focusing, and an overall absence of clarity in their mental state. Brain fog can be an indicator of several deep-seated issues going on in the body. More often than not it can be traced back to the brain having an overactive, persistent stress response which leads to the brain not functioning optimally. Brain fog can significantly affect the lives of those who are burdened with it, and the symptoms that are created can make it seem as though that there is no way to overcome it. Although, the first challenge for many individuals is recognizing that they are indeed suffering from brain fog due to the overall sense of just not feeling right, which can understandably be difficult to pinpoint.

Symptoms of Brain Fog

Brain fog might present itself differently in each individual, but in general, the most common symptoms associated with brain fog include:

  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Trouble with short and long-term memory
  • Low motivation
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Forgetfulness

Some people might experience all these symptoms to varying degrees, while some may only experience one or two of them. You can see how these symptoms tied to brain fog can worsen the larger concerns that are at play, which is exactly why it’s so vital to get to the source of the problem.

Take the Brain Fog Symptoms Quiz

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How often do you find yourself:

Feeling mentally or emotionally drained or exhausted (even after a full night’s sleep)*


Very Rarely





Causes and Risk Factors of Brain Fog

When it comes to brain fog, a number of different things can provoke or intensify it. Some of the most common causes of brain fog are poor nutrition, lack of sleep, chronic illnesses and stress, neurological disorders, and dysfunction within the limbic system. The limbic system can become overactive when someone is put through highly stressful circumstances. This is because the limbic system is the region of the brain that is responsible for keeping us safe and alert when presented with dangerous situations. After experiencing an intensely stressful situation, the limbic system can maladapt and get stuck in this highly alert state well after the event that caused it to activate is over. This “stuck in the on position” is what causes the negative symptoms such as brain fog can kick in.

How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

Taking the steps to finally gain some relief from the brain fog you’re experiencing can feel daunting, but it is important that you know that it’s entirely possible to overcome this condition and gain back the feeling of mental clarity and control. Since we know that brain fog is a symptom of something larger at play, the most effective way to bring brain fog to an end is to work on the core problem, and not mask it with other methods. Most of the ailments that are associated with brain fog can be linked back to an overworked limbic system, and fortunately this can be repaired through applying neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is an ability each person has that involves rewiring neural connections and creating stronger synaptic bonds. Engaging in a neuroplasticity brain training program, such as the one we offer at re-origin®, can guide you through the process of restructuring your neural connections and reversing the challenging side effects that come from an impaired limbic system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Brain Fog a Symptom of covid?

COVID-19 has affected millions of people around the world over the last couple of years, and we’re still finding out the different ways it might impact people after they’ve recovered from the virus itself. Brain fog has certainly been a predominant side effect of covid, with an estimated 20 to 30 percent of people having experienced some form of brain fog after having it[2]. A recent study showed that a fair amount of people that had covid experienced brain fog afterward, especially when it came to retaining new information and recalling memories[3]. While brain fog does happen to onset after covid in many cases, it is really a common symptom of any post-viral fatigue that occurs.

Is Brain Fog a Symptom of Depression?

Depression is an unfortunately common condition, affecting over 9% of the American population alone[4]. Brain fog is something that many people encounter when dealing with depression, and these two conditions can feed off one another and create a vicious cycle of maladaptive cognitive function. Depression can make it difficult to sleep or eat well, and both of these things can worsen brain fog.

Does Anxiety Cause Brain Fog?

Anxiety can be a large factor in why someone is experiencing brain fog, but the presence of anxiety is an indicator of a larger issue.. Impairment within the limbic system can trigger both anxiety and depression because when this system is acutely activated, the brain can become stuck in a cycle of panic and survival, even when the stimuli that caused this reaction is no longer present.

What Does Brain Fog Feel Like?

With any symptom or condition, each person affected might have a different experience or encounter varying degrees of severity. In general, though, brain fog tends to create an overall sense of feeling out of it, sluggishness, and confusion.

If you have never dealt with brain fog yourself, it is easy to see how it can affect an individual’s life and serve as a catalyst for other issues in the body. Fixing brain fog at the source is the most effective way to experience long-term results, and we’re firm believers that brain fog can many times be traced back to an overworked limbic system. The neuroplasticity training that we offer at re-origin® can be used to calm the limbic system, resulting in a nervous system that is not constantly in fight-or-flight mode.

Along with the brain training guidance and services you’ll find at re-origin®, we also provide an abundance of other resources to our members, such as group coaching calls, Q&A sessions, and community discussions to help you stay on track and get your health back to an optimal place. Everyone deserves to feel their absolute best all the time, and we hope to help as many people as possible achieve this very possible goal.

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