Updated: Dec 6, 2021
If you’ve been sick with COVID-19 and now find yourself fatigued, unable to concentrate or completely worn down, you’re experiencing common symptoms that many people are also now living with. Over the course of the pandemic, many individuals after recovering from COVID-19 have come forward with a new symptom known as brain fog. While not a medical diagnosis, it is a term used by individuals to describe the sluggish, unfocused, and overall dazed feeling that they are experiencing.
If you’re experiencing brain fog, it can be frustrating, and you might be worried about when you’ll recover completely. Here are some tips from the Colorado Spirit team on how you can combat brain fog.
What is Brain Fog and What Causes It?
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According to Healthline, brain fog is a form of cognitive dysfunction that is a symptom of other medical conditions. Cognitive dysfunction is when an individual has trouble with attention, learning, short-term memory, visual and auditory processing, problem solving, and motor functioning. Essentially brain fog is a form of mental fatigue that can affect all aspects of our lives.
There are several causes for brain fog including depression, anxiety/stress, medications, anemia, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, lack of sleep, illnesses such as the flu, etc. With so many possible causes it can be difficult to tell if the cause of brain fog in those who have hadCOVID-19 is caused by that or something else.
Brain Fog Caused By COVID-19
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Since 2020, there have been several studies conducted that have discovered the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain. COVID-19 has been shown to cause brain damage from serious effects such as patients becoming at risk for strokes or dementia, to more subtle effects such as impaired sustained attention spans.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, COVID-19’s long-term physical effects such as fatigue, muscle, sleep problems, dizziness when standing, and organ damage caused by COVID-19 can cause brain fog. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, report them to your doctor.
How Long Does It Last?
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With varying reports from individuals who have been sick, is hard to provide an exact timeline for how long brain fog could last. In a 2020 study on the persistent symptoms of COVID-19, the most persistent symptoms were fatigue at 55%, difficulty breathing at 42%, loss of memory at 34%, concentration issues at 28%, and sleep disorders at 30.8%. These symptoms continued for patients 100 days after their hospital admission.
Other individuals have reported that symptoms lingered weeks to months after their recovery from their respiratory symptoms. Based on these varying timelines it is difficult to know how long brain fog could last for individuals with COVID-19.
Tips For Combatting Brain Fog
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While it is unknown how long brain fog could last, there are a few proven ways to shorten it. Most importantly, the best way to overcome brain fog is to try living a healthier lifestyle. According to Healthline, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can all help reduce brain fog.
Harvard Health Publishing suggests pursuing cognitively stimulating activities such as playing games, making crafts, reading books, and participating in social gatherings can improve memory and reduce brain fog. Combining these activities with healthy diet, sleep, and lifestyle activities should all help in reducing your brain fog.
Remember if you or a loved one is suffering from the lingering cognitive effects of COVID-19, check in with your doctor. Symptoms such as brain fog could be caused by underlying health conditions. If you are feeling the effects of brain fog, the Jefferson Center’s Colorado Spirit team is here for you Offering free and confidential support, we can help you with counseling tips and strategies to cope successfully and referrals to additional mental health resources. Call us if you need to talk at 720-731-4689.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.