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Brain Fog: Causes, How It Feels, Managing It

alcohol brain fog

Alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is an umbrella term used to describe the damage that can happen to the brain as a result of long-term heavy drinking. There are a number of different symptoms of alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) but with the right support and treatment many of these can improve. Similarly, cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant can also cause brain fog. This is called “chemo brain.”22 Cancer treatments may lead to complications such as fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and sleep problems, which as I discussed earlier, affects brain function. It’s probably no surprise that some medications can be a cause of brain fog symptoms. A little bit of stress is natural and can come from internal or external factors, including our physical environment, jobs, relationships, traffic, and unexpected events.

When To Call the Doctor

Alcohol-induced brain fog, a common yet overlooked symptom of alcohol withdrawal, can last up to an impressive 26 weeks after you make the decision to quit drinking. However, the duration varies from person speedball drug what is speedballing and how dangerous is it? to person and is influenced by several factors like the severity of alcohol abuse, mental health, and lifestyle habits. The duration of alcohol-related brain fog can vary depending on several factors.

  1. This book by Mike Dow, bestselling author and psychotherapist, focuses on how to get your brain in shape so your life shapes up, too.
  2. Dopamine plays an essential role in mood and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  3. Even if there may be benefits for some people, there are also risks ― especially if you take certain medications or have other conditions that can make drinking alcohol dangerous.
  4. Often, it sneaks up on you during alcohol withdrawal and recovery, causing difficulty in concentrating, memory problems, and a feeling of being mentally sluggish.
  5. Once you discover the root causes of brain fog, you can begin to eliminate it.

The Providence Projects — a Tool for Prevention and Recovery

They should continue to seek counseling and move into a sober living facility. If they relapse, they can always return to inpatient care or try a new sobriety strategy out. Brain fog from alcohol typically lasts for 8 to 24 hours after drinking. However, the time frame can be longer for people who regularly consume heavy amounts of alcohol and then stop drinking.

[Podcast] Episode 8: Harm Reduction in Alcohol Health with Expert Dr. Andrew Tatarsky

Brain fog can be caused by various factors, such as lack of sleep, stress, malnutrition, medication, neuroinflammation, and the use of certain substances, such as alcohol. Evidence for human consumption of alcohol dates back over 10,000 years. Consumption of alcohol has and continues to serve major roles in religious and cultural ceremonies around the world.

alcohol brain fog

Eat (and drink) to feel good

Additional tips include listening to music, practicing mindfulness exercises, and focusing on the positive as much as possible. Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology.

Once alcohol is eliminated and alcohol withdrawal symptoms subside, people recovering from an AUD will feel more like themselves again. This change can initiate them to become more motivated to maintain sobriety. Motivation plays a major role in addiction recovery, considering the rates of relapse.

alcohol brain fog

Getting rid of brain fog after drinking alcohol can help you focus on recovery. NeuroLive™ is one of my physician formulated supplements for brain fog that includes 11 brain supporting micronutrients to maintain healthy memory, focus, and cognitive function. If you are experiencing brain fog there is a good chance your diet is the cause of your brain fog. As I said earlier, fast foods, refined adult children of alcoholics carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and alcohol have all been linked to brain fog. I recommend following an autoimmune diet, or AIP diet, to eliminate toxic and inflammatory foods and replace them with foods rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin B12. People with severe addictions or a long history of alcohol misuse may suffer serious withdrawal symptoms when quitting.

alcohol brain fog

Alcohol increases the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), for example. This causes sluggish movement, slurred speech, and slow reaction time when you are drunk. Alcohol also decreases the effects of glutamate, which regulates dopamine in your brain’s reward center.

Alcohol abuse also leads to a poor diet which can also contribute to brain fog symptoms. It should be treated as a medical emergency and can be effectively treated with large doses of thiamine, if caught early. People with Wernicke’s Encephalopathy often appear drunk, even if they’ve had very little to drink.

This may be due to inflammation in the brain that affects how brain cells behave, according to NIH-supported research. Separately, researchers have found that more people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), as opposed to those without, may develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to the National Institute on Aging. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of people 65 and older with MCI develop dementia over a yearlong period, however, studies underway aim to understand why some people with MCI progress to dementia and others don’t. In addition, food allergies and sensitivities may also change your cognitive capabilities, Wilhour notes. According to Beyond Celiac, 95 percent of people in its research with nonceliac gluten sensitivity report having brain fog.

Basically, dopamine is what teaches your brain that alcohol equals reward, making you naturally want more alcohol. Especially if you’re feeling low and have learned that alcohol can numb or remove that pain, even if temporary, you’re more likely to go for it. The brain gets focused on the reward and stops caring about the drawbacks. These daily cognitive needs and memory are so sensitive to alcohol – just imagine party binge drinkers in movies; when they have too much they can’t even remember the night before. A little too much is going to have an impact on your average workday, too. So when you’re managing stress or anything to do with your mood, you can be sure that dopamine is involved.

You could feel mentally exhausted even when you haven’t been doing a lot of thinking. It might be challenging to think clearly, and you could feel confused or need help making decisions. Your thoughts might seem disorganised or “cloudy,” making expressing your ideas or solving problems challenging.

If you’re trying to cope with drinking too much, talk with your healthcare professional. You might have heard people comparing your brain to a computer, but the truth is a lot more complicated than that. In fact, a 2021 study found that 7 percent of people with long-haul COVID-19 reported brain fog. We are an organisation with a history of providing effective treatment and support for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction and its complications. Our team of dedicated professionals is committed to helping people overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives.

According to the study results, participants who drank 15 grams of red wine each day for 4 weeks experienced decreased pain, tenderness, and anxiety levels. In addition, the red wine group also reported experiencing improvements in sadness, depression, and overall quality of life. The journey to recovery involves managing withdrawal symptoms, making healthier lifestyle choices, and exploring various treatment options including therapy, counseling, medication, and detox programs.

For instance, try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand for a week, read a book that’s not your go-to genre, or take a different route to work. Think of it as retraining a muscle group for a specific type of physical exercise. Here are 5 simple 3 ways to pass a urine drug test and practical ways to get your brain back on track during recovery. One of the best things about getting sober is that there’s a newfound clarity of thought. Irrational thoughts that lead to impulsive behavior are replaced by more reasonable ones.

The number one stress hormone is cortisol, commonly called “the stress hormone.” Think of cortisol like a chemical messenger. When you’re in a stressful situation, cortisol tells your immune system to gear up for a challenge. Your immune system responds by producing inflammation, and then cortisol signals your immune system to calm down when the danger has passed. Perhaps the most significant psychological effect, however, is addiction. Over time, people who consume large quantities of alcohol develop a tolerance to the drug.

Basically, dopamine is involved in almost every area of your thought and reward system. So the healthier your brain is, the better it can use dopamine effectively and communicate messages between nerve cells and the rest of your body. That means you can go after your goals much more easily, without losing motivation. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that works with the reward center of your brain, making you feel pleased, satisfied, and motivated.

Alcohol-induced brain fog is a state of confusion, lack of focus and mental obscurity that can occur after drinking alcohol and during withdrawal. Therapy and counseling can help tackle the root causes of alcohol addiction and brain fog. It can provide invaluable support by addressing underlying mental health issues and developing coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.

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