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Medication Fog?

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Brain fog is defined as a lack of mental clarity, difficulty focusing, or poor concentration. If the onset of brain fog is sudden and uncharacteristic for your child there are some common causes to consider.

It is important to address concerns with brain fog in children and not use a ‘wait and see’ approach. An interesting psychological aspect of difficulty with concentration and focus is that children can develop a belief that they are incapable because they cannot think clearly. Removing obstacles to health, ruling out more serious conditions, and supporting the bodies of children with healthy, wholesome food can address the causes of brain fog before negative programming makes a lasting impression on self-esteem.

What Is Medication Fog?

Many common medications have an anticholinergic effect on the brain, meaning that they reduce or interfere with the way our nerves function. When we’re young, our nerve cells are capable of compensating for those effects, and so we don’t feel like our brain is essentially “slowing down”, but with age, we notice the effect of medication on our cognitive health more and more.

Several of these medications, even those we could previously take, can manifest themselves in the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness.

These side effects together create the medication fog.

Unfortunately, with age, one’s risk of dementia also increases, and many cases of medication side effects end up being misdiagnosed as dementia. Note that some of these medications can also worsen dementia symptoms in those who do suffer from the condition.

It is difficult to track the side effects of medications.

Still, there are ways you and your doctor will be able to distinguish medication fog from dementia. To do so, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Did you start feeling worse once you started a new prescription medication or increased the dose of a medication you’re used to taking?

2. Are your symptoms more pronounced shortly after you’ve taken an over-the-counter medicine, such as a painkiller or allergy medication?

3. Does a specific combination of medications you take on a specific day make you feel worse than usual? 

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, medications may be the cause of your cognitive symptoms. Consider discussing a specific medication or a combination of medications (even if they’re over-the-counter) with your doctor. They will be able to help you replace the medication in question or adjust the dosage to make you feel better.

Which Medications Are Capable of Causing Medication Fog?

Anticholinergic drugs (those that treat an overactive bladder, lung issues, excessive sweating, etc.) are the main culprit behind medication fog, according to the recently updated list of such medications by the American Geriatrics Society, but many other meds, even those available over-the-counter and nutritional supplements can cause this side effect. These medications include:

  • Painkillers
  • Sleep medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines and allergy medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Stomach acid treatments, and others.

To access a certain drug’s capacity to affect your cognitive health, you can look at the listed side effects of the medication on the leaflet that comes with the medicine or search for the information on medical apps and websites. You can also discuss the question with your doctor: simply compile a list of the meds you’re currently taking (including OTC medications and supplements) and tell your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Chances are that adjusting the dosage or replacing some medication could improve your cognitive health and decrease the symptoms of medication fog.

Brain-Fog in Kids

Inadequate sleep or poor sleep quality interferes with how the brain functions. If there is a chronic low-level sleep disturbance a child may be misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder when physical and mental fatigue is the culprit.

Acute and chronic stress increases blood pressure, weakens the immune system and can trigger anxiety and depression. Many parents are not totally aware of the level of stress (self-imposed or otherwise) that their children feel. Stress causes mental fatigue over time.

Hormonal surges that cause puberty greatly influence cognition and brain chemistry. Supporting the body with a healthy diet is the best way to ensure that the transition through puberty goes smoothly. Additionally, low thyroid function and adrenal insufficiency can cause symptoms of brain fog. It is important to get a blood test to closely look at hormone levels and rule out any imbalances.

Iron is needed for the formation and binding of the neurotransmitter Dopamine which is needed for focus. If you are low in iron, it is more difficult for the body to keep dopamine levels consistent. Other important nutrients which can cause decreased mental clarity are B12, folate, and vitamin D.

If your child experiences symptoms of brain fog, headache, or digestive disturbances after eating certain foods he or she may have a food sensitivity. A food sensitivity or allergy causes the body to produce antibodies when the offending food is ingested.

Certain medications like anti-depressants and stimulants can lead to brain fog. If your child regularly takes medication and has complained of brain fog it may be helpful to discuss different treatment protocols with his/her medical provider.

Source: Internet, CDC, FDA, Medical News & Others

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.

Author: TxNaturalPediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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