What Does ADHD Brain Fog Feel Like and How do I Reduce it?

What Does ADHD Brain Fog Feel Like and How do I Reduce it?

"It’s like your brain has gone offline even though you’re awake."

If you have ADHD, you may find it difficult to focus, get things done, or stay organized on even your good days. But such symptoms may feel even more intense if you’re struggling with ADHD brain fog, which is sometimes referred to in research as “sluggish cognitive tempo.”1

Though many people have experienced brain fog due to stress, poor sleep, allergies, or certain health conditions, ADHD brain fog happens more often and can exacerbate other ADHD symptoms like indecision or lack of focus.  

Explore symptoms of brain fog, how it differs in people with ADHD, and how to get help.

What is ADHD Brain Fog & What Does it Feel Like?

ADHD brain fog refers to a sense of mental fatigue or slowed thinking related to having ADHD. It can make everyday functions like reading or having a conversation feel impossible. You might read the same sentence over and over without understanding it or not be able to follow what someone is saying to you. It’s like your brain has gone offline even though you’re awake. 

Symptoms of ADHD brain fog include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • A sense of confusion or disorientation
  • Slow, sluggish movement
  • Jumbled thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Inability to make articulate how you’re feeling
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Loss of motivation
  • Prone to careless mistakes
  • Feeling disconnected from those around you

Differentiating ADHD Brain Fog from “Normal” Brain Fog

While ADHD brain fog and “normal” brain fog share the same symptoms, ADHD brain fog happens more frequently due to differences in the brain. Some experts believe brain fog and ADHD are related to inflammation in the brain or nervous system.2 

There also seems to be a cyclical relationship between brain fog and ADHD. Having ADHD can make a person more prone to experiencing brain fog, which further exacerbates other ADHD symptoms. ADHD can also cause a person to neglect important lifestyle habits like getting adequate sleep and following a healthy diet, which can then trigger brain fog.

Safely reduce anxiety, impulsivity and lack of focus in children, teens and adults.

How Does it Develop?

There are a number of theories about how ADHD brain fog develops. Like “normal” brain fog, it can be triggered by lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress. But, as mentioned above, it can also be the result of neuroinflammation. 

There is also evidence that some ADHD medications cause side effects that can feel like brain fog, such as fatigue, daytime drowsiness, and the feeling of being sedated.3 You may also experience insomnia, which would trigger fatigue-related brain fog the next day.

Some other potential causes of ADHD brain fog include:

How to Manage Brain Fog Symptoms

Making healthy lifestyle changes can lower the risk of having a brain fog episode. This includes following a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and controlling your screen time. It’s also helpful to learn some stress management skills. There is evidence that practicing mindfulness can improve your cognitive performance and lower stress, especially if you struggle with ADHD.11 

If you’re experiencing brain fog, try the following to help defuse the fog:

  • Take mental breaks instead of trying to power through activities that may be making you feel drained
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing exercises
  • If possible, power down your electronic devices 
  • Go for a brisk walk in nature, or even around the block
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough water, as dehydration is known to worsen brain fog symptoms12
  • Hit the gym or sign up for an exercise class

ADHD Supplements that Help

If you are taking a prescription ADHD medication that you fear may be causing your brain fog, discuss this symptom with your doctor to see if they have any guidance on switching medications or changing your dose. 

You might also want to make sure that you’re not missing anything important in your diet. Some studies indicate a connection between iron deficiency and ADHD, which could be leading to more fatigue.13 While it’s best to obtain iron through food sources, nuts, legumes, and dark, leafy vegetables, you may need to take a supplement if your levels are significantly low. Other important vitamins and minerals which may improve symptoms through supplementation include omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium.14 

If you need more support, consider trying Brillia, a homeopathic, non-prescription medication which reduces ADHD symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, and restlessness without causing brain fog or any other harmful symptoms. Brillia’s active ingredient consists of antibodies to the S100B protein, which plays a crucial role in various intracellular and extracellular brain processes, including mood stabilization. By regulating the activity of the S100B protein, Brillia efficiently normalizes the level of monoamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin) in different parts of the brain without causing any off-target side effects. This means less fogginess and more clarity without masking the personality in any way. 

Brillia comes in two formulations: Brillia for Children & Teens 5-18 and Brillia for Adults. Learn more about how the active ingredients work and explore our holistic approach, which combines neuroscience and behavioral science to maximize results.

brillia logoA whole bunch of support right in your inbox.

References: 1https://www.verywellmind.com/adhd-symptom-spotlight-brain-fog-5323144, 2https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd-brain-fog#neuroinflammation, 3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20033109/, 4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6945516/, 5https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-adhd-make-you-tired#adhd-and-brain-fog, 6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683828/, 7https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP4869, 8https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/can-screen-time-cause-health-issues, 9https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7844661/, 10https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320637#symptoms, 11https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.702796/full, 12https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603652/, 13https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-mineral-iron-supplement, 14https://www.additudemag.com/vitamins-minerals-adhd-treatment-plan/
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