“Brain fog” isn’t a medical condition, but it is a symptom of one (or several). In essence, brain fog is a descriptive term for various forms of cognitive dysfunction that can include anything from the inability to focus on tasks to short-term memory problems.
Sufferers often equate brain fog to a sort of “mental cloudiness,” that just makes it hard to think and get anything done.
How does brain fog add to impairments?
Sufferers often report that they have trouble completing their work, making decisions, and remembering detailed instructions.
It can even be difficult to communicate clearly with others because brain fog can make articulating your thoughts more complicated. Even simple decision-making can become overwhelming because the cognitive overload can make it harder for you to weigh out the pros and cons of each choice.
Finally, brain fog can lead to anxiety and depression. Feeling constantly confused, frustrated and out of step with the rest of the people around you can easily create an emotional spiral.
Brain fog is strongly associated with some of the following medical conditions:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): Individuals with CFS often experience extreme fatigue and cognitive difficulties.
- Fibromyalgia: This chronic pain condition can also cause cognitive impairment, including difficulties with memory and concentration.
- Autoimmune diseases: Conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis are known to cause brain fog as part of their symptomatology.
- Thyroid disorders: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can lead to brain fog due to changes in hormone levels affecting cognitive function.
- Sleep disorders: Conditions like sleep apnea or insomnia can lead to sleep deprivation, which can contribute to cognitive issues.
- Medication side effects: Some medications, especially those that affect the central nervous system, can cause brain fog as a side effect.
If you’re filing for Social Security Disability benefits and brain fog is an issue, make sure that you mention the issue to your doctors. That way, its presence can be documented and its impact on your life can be explored when your claim is decided.