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Old 10-10-17, 01:04 AM
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Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

So the question is mostly in the topic.

Is there a way to separate these 2 things?

It's been troubling for me to notice, mostly in the last year or so, frequent periods of something that feels like either a "disconnect from mind or environment" or some kind of cognitive impairment. It could be--hopefully it IS--just a worsening of the brain fog I've had for years, and which seems to be part and parcel of this kind of ADD... inattentive. I would call my ADD "extremely inattentive."

I'm in my 30s, for reference. Is it possible for someone to get Mild Cognitive Impairment in their 30s?

The best way I can find to describe the feeling of it is like I'm "not fully present in my environment" like whatever my normal cognitive state really is, it's like I'm functioning at 50% capacity during these times.

It happens less often with proper sleep patterns. Sometimes it lasts most of the day; other days I don't notice it at all. It's almost like "every other day" I notice this unnerving mental state which is an alarming progression. Exercise doesn't help as much as it used to... another concern.

I have some other thoughts on this, but will refrain for now to keep the post from getting longwinded.

Anyone experience this?
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Old 10-10-17, 01:23 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

There are some progressive diseases that can have early onset (though 30 is pretty early even for most of those). My speculation would be that your brain fog is not due to one of those, but I'm not a medical doctor.

Have you ever had a sleep study done or been evaluated for sleep apnea? Sleep disorders of a variety of kinds can cause symptoms like you describe. So can depression and anxiety. And a slew of other conditions.

I wouldn't describe my experience as "brain fog", necessarily, but I definitely have periods where I'm more -- or less -- "with it" in terms of mindfulness, executive function, ability to initiate action, etc. Some of the variability is attributable to sleep and other factors, but a lot of it I can't explain. (And indeed, I can't really explain my sleep patterns, either.)

After describing some experience that demonstrated extreme forgetfulness/poor working memory, my then-psychiatrist (who was not the world's best listener, nor the world's best psychiatrist) gave me a look that said, "Come on, you can't really be that forgetful!" and exlaimed, "You don't have dementia!" to which I replied, "Sometimes it feels like it." This was a psychiatrist who, despite having diagnosed me with "severe ADHD", insisted that my extreme difficulties with working memory and initiation must represent "self-sabotage" of one sort or another. (In my opinion, that's sometimes a cop-out on the part of a psychiatrist who can't or won't admit to not knowing how to help.) Needless to say, I'm glad to have moved on from that psychiatrist! ...But I'm still struggling with the working memory and executive function.

Incidentally, have you ever visited the website ProjectLEARNet (http://www.projectlearnet.org/tutorials.html)? It's a site run by a nonprofit organization, and geared towards parents and teachers of kids with traumatic brain injuries. But I have found that their advice and tutorials can be applied by those of us with executive function impairments stemming from other causes. You may be able to translate some of their advice into something you can implement yourself.
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Old 10-10-17, 01:50 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

What you're experiencing is something that I'm worried about, because I have the inattentive type of ADHD too...

But there are just so many factors at play, and like namazu says, it's best to see a really good doctor for help with this.

You could see a good nutritionist at the same time if you suspect that your diet might have something to do with your brain fog.

Do you eat gluten? That's sometimes the culprit. There's apparently a significant connection between ADHD and gluten sensitivities...
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Old 10-11-17, 12:05 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

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Originally Posted by kkristin17 View Post
What you're experiencing is something that I'm worried about, because I have the inattentive type of ADHD too...

But there are just so many factors at play, and like namazu says, it's best to see a really good doctor for help with this.

You could see a good nutritionist at the same time if you suspect that your diet might have something to do with your brain fog.

Do you eat gluten? That's sometimes the culprit. There's apparently a significant connection between ADHD and gluten sensitivities...
Guilty. I have always been a wheat-eater, in all its forms. I suspect that COULD be a part of it. Yes, my diet is very high in carbohydrates.

It may also be worth mentioning I have severe gut problems, extreme constipation, and all manner of distress and discomfort in the gut area, very frequently. That appears to be linked with the brain fog.

Do you ever get this feeling of things are somehow "less real" than usual? Do you ever get completely disoriented when going somewhere, thinking you're somewhere else? That's been happening to me more often lately, I always correct myself very quickly but it sucks.
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Old 10-11-17, 12:20 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

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Originally Posted by namazu View Post
Have you ever had a sleep study done or been evaluated for sleep apnea? Sleep disorders of a variety of kinds can cause symptoms like you describe. So can depression and anxiety. And a slew of other conditions.
Now that you mention it, that's an interesting thought. Every once in a while I will sometimes wake up from sleep suddenly, short of breath. This is not a regular occurrence. It's also interesting to note it only happens when sleeping on my back, but never when sleeping on my side. It's very disturbing and creeps me out, every time.

Apparently though, waking up short of breath is a classic sleep apnea sign.

Maybe indeed a lot of this "disorientation" is from having very poor quality sleep. Not to mention, sometimes even when I do get very good sleep--8 hours straight or so--I'm still ridiculously tired and foggy the next day.

This could turn out to be a big part of the answer... I wonder, if it turns out to be sleep apnea, what treatments are available for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by namazu View Post
Incidentally, have you ever visited the website ProjectLEARNet (http://www.projectlearnet.org/tutorials.html)? It's a site run by a nonprofit organization, and geared towards parents and teachers of kids with traumatic brain injuries. But I have found that their advice and tutorials can be applied by those of us with executive function impairments stemming from other causes. You may be able to translate some of their advice into something you can implement yourself.
Haven't seen that, although that's something to look into.

Another thing to note is that for several years I took a lot of vitamins/supplements every day--particularly B12 and B-complex. Mega high doses of B12, sublingual form, every single day. And a high quality B-complex, every day. I started that because of low energy and brain fog (basically a lesser form of what I have now.) And that took care of all the energy/brain fog issues, for the most part. These supplements worked great for a long time, even helping with attention and socializing.

But at a certain point I had to stop the B12 because I developed unpleasant reactions to it. I also had to stop the B-complex also because it kept throttling up my anxiety and irritability. Basically everything I relied on to keep my mind more focused and energized, I quit.

Is it possible the body could get adjusted to high doses of B-vitamins, B12 in particular, enough that the normal absorption through diet is not good enough? Could I have artificially created a deficiency through overuse?

Anyway, just tossing that one out there. I wish I could go on that regimen again, to see what happens to the brain fog/energy, if nothing else.
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Old 10-11-17, 02:56 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

Before my diagnosis, I was wondering if I had some kind of cognitive impairment or early Alzheimers or something.

The key difference, for me, is that if I get really excited or interested in something, I do great at it. The "brain fog" is pretty much gone, I am present and can focus amazingly.

Is it the same for you? If so, it likely is just ADHD, and stimulants will help a lot. If not, something else may be going on
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Old 10-11-17, 08:26 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batman55 View Post
Now that you mention it, that's an interesting thought. Every once in a while I will sometimes wake up from sleep suddenly, short of breath. This is not a regular occurrence. It's also interesting to note it only happens when sleeping on my back, but never when sleeping on my side.
Happens to me too. Definitely sleep apnea. It's when the back of your tongue falls back into the throat and blocks your airway. Only surgery can fix that.
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Old 10-11-17, 08:34 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

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Originally Posted by MickeMouseFan View Post
Happens to me too. Definitely sleep apnea. It's when the back of your tongue falls back into the throat and blocks your airway. Only surgery can fix that.
There are other treatments as well, which (for some people, depending on the nature and severity of the problem) may be sufficient. Two of my family members, for example, have managed sleep apnea with CPAP machines (and in one case, weight loss). Here's some info from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. (Obviously treating sleep apnea is only relevant if that turns out to be a culprit in Batman55's case.)
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Old 10-12-17, 01:13 AM
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Re: Extreme brain fog vs. cognitive impairment

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScatterBrainX View Post
Before my diagnosis, I was wondering if I had some kind of cognitive impairment or early Alzheimers or something.

The key difference, for me, is that if I get really excited or interested in something, I do great at it. The "brain fog" is pretty much gone, I am present and can focus amazingly.

Is it the same for you? If so, it likely is just ADHD, and stimulants will help a lot. If not, something else may be going on
While I have some elements of this, that's not how I would describe this particular thing, this is more like transient episodes of disorientation or a feeling of not knowing what to do in familiar situations. It corrects itself but is very unnerving nonetheless.
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