Prescription medications. Many prescription medications affect cognitive abilities, even if you are not addicted to them. Some medications that reverse bad health and rebalance the brain can also cause brain fog, or worse. They may blur vision, increase fatigue, alter depth perception, make you see or hear things that aren't there, increase or decrease reaction time, and detract from focus and concentration. Common prescription drugs that affect thinking include medications that treat allergies, pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, ulcers, depression, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. Many of these are known to cause fatigue and daytime drowsiness. Tranquilizers, sedatives, and sleeping pills slow down the central nervous system, causing diminished reaction time, and impair your ability to concentrate. Antihistamines slow down reaction time and affect your overall coordination.
Compare the following list of drug types to your current prescriptions to see if what you are taking may be affecting your thinking, and then speak with your doctor to determine whether alternatives with fewer mental side effects are available:
- Alcohol-containing medications
- Antidiarrheal medications
- Antinausea medications
- Antiseizure medications
- Anxiety medications
- Blood pressure medications
- Blood sugar medications
- Caffeine-containing medications
- Pain medications
- Parkinson's disease medications
- Sleep medications
- Ulcer medications
Over-the-counter medications. Decongestants can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and dizziness. Cold and cough medicines, antihistamines, pain relievers, diuretics, and remedies that prevent heartburn, nausea, or motion sickness can cause drowsiness or dizziness. What's more, combining prescription medications with over-the-counter remedies can also cause cognitive problems. Speak with your local pharmacist to determine if any of these remedies is affecting your thinking.
Parasites, bacteria, and viral infections. Parasites and other microbes enter the body and often excrete toxins to increase their chance of survival. These toxins change blood acidity, allowing the parasite to multiply in a perfect host environment. At the same time, toxic excretions can cross the blood-brain barrier and create inflammation in the brain, affecting your concentration and comprehension and creating brain fog. These microorganisms are often diagnosed as intermittent or chronic infections, HIV, tuberculosis, Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, or cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Degenerative disorders. Serious illnesses associated with aging (including multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative illness, Huntington's disease, ALS, and Pick's disease), glaucoma, vascular diseases, stroke (the second leading cause of MCI), brain tumors, obesity, organ diseases (including endocrine, liver, and kidney), blood sugar imbalances, or hormonal loss can also affect your ability to think clearly. Anyone with a brain chemical imbalance will experience physical changes. Diseases of the body also affect brain function.