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Blowing away the brain clouds; Disengaged, overwhelmed and exhausted? Dr Mike Dow believes brain fog is a 'new epidemic' - but there's a lot you can do about it, writes ABI JACKSON.

WE'VE come to accept tiredness and stress as part and parcel of our busy, modern lives. And sure, it would probably be unrealistic - and also not entirely necessary - to expect to never feel tired or stressed (they aren't exclusively 'bad' things, after all).

E'VE come to accept tiredness and stress as part and parcel of our busy, modern lives. And sure, it would probably be unrealistic - and also not entirely necessary - to expect to never feel tired or stressed (they aren't exclusively 'bad' things, after all).

But there is a limit as to how much we can manage, and for increasing numbers of us, they're symptoms of a wider problem: brain fog.

But there is a limit as to how much we can manage, and for increasing numbers of us, they're symptoms of a wider problem: brain fog.

As the term suggests, brain fog is, well, just that - a brain that feels foggy and clogged. Processing things and concentrating becomes more arduous and draining, there's a sense of being disengaged, slightly removed, and this often has a big impact on mood too, with low-level depression and a loss of joy and motivation.

As the term suggests, brain fog is, well, just that - a brain that feels foggy and clogged. Processing things and concentrating becomes more arduous and draining, there's a sense of being disengaged, slightly removed, and this often has a big impact on mood too, with low-level depression and a loss of joy and motivation.

Brain fog is not an entirely new concept, of course. It's long been recognised as a characteristic or repercussion of many long-term health conditions for instance, like MS, head injuries and post-traumatic stress, and also as a side-effect experienced by people on long-term medication, particularly long-term pain relief.

Brain fog is not an entirely new concept, of course. It's long been recognised as a characteristic or repercussion of many long-term health conditions for instance, like MS, head injuries and post-traumatic stress, and also as a side-effect experienced by people on long-term medication, particularly long-term pain relief.

But can it affect people as a standalone condition? But can it affect people as a standalone condition? Psychotherapist and author Dr Mike Dow believes so, and has even dubbed brain fog a "new epidemic". Its characteristics can be vague, he points out in his new book - Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory And Joy In Just 3 Weeks - and lots of people might not be aware that the 'symptoms' they're experiencing are linked.

Mike Dow believes so, and has even dubbed brain fog a "new epidemic". Its characteristics can be vague, he points out in his new book - Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory And Joy In Just 3 Weeks - and lots of people might not be aware that the 'symptoms' they're experiencing are linked.

Dr Dow had noticed similar patterns among a number of his clients and acquaintances. A sense of being "in a slump", a bit detached from life. Feeling mentally overwhelmed, unable to really focus and in a permanent state of exhaustion - yet not being able to get a good night's sleep.

Dr Dow had noticed similar patterns among a number of his clients and acquaintances. A sense of being "in a slump", a bit detached from life. Feeling mentally overwhelmed, unable to really focus and in a permanent state of exhaustion - yet not being able to get a good night's sleep.

Life's just dragging on and, while it might look as though you're functioning well and doing a fine job of juggling all those balls, inside you feel as though you're wading (but Life's just dragging on and, while it might look as though you're functioning well and doing a fine job of juggling all those balls, inside you feel as though you're wading (but you're not entirely sure you have the energy to really care).

you're not entirely sure you have the energy to really care).

"Some people simply say they just don't feel like themselves - and haven't for a long time," he states.

"Some people simply say they just don't feel like themselves - and haven't for a long time," he states.

It's easy to dismiss things like this as being just a normal and inevitable part of getting older (brain fog is sometimes described as a middleaged condition), but in his book, Dr Dow is keen to highlight that there's a lot that can be done to both prevent and address brain fog.

It's easy to dismiss things like this as being just a normal and inevitable part of getting older (brain fog is sometimes described as a middleaged condition), but in his book, Dr Dow is keen to highlight that there's a lot that can be done to both prevent and address brain fog.

While a lot of brain fog feels emotional - and indeed, psychological and emotional factors could have contributed to its onset, like a period of high stress or emotional trauma - he points out that it's a physiological issue too.

and emotional factors could have contributed to its onset, like a period of high stress or emotional trauma - he points out that it's a physiological issue too.

"Many of my patients had significant imbalances in their brain chemistry - imbalances that were seriously interfering with their ability to experience their power, joy, and purpose," he says. "For most, these imbalances didn't require prescription medication - only a handful of them would have been diagnosed with depression. Nor were most of these problems chronic; all of these patients could recall long periods of time when they had been able to think clearly and felt great.

"Many of my patients had significant imbalances in their brain chemistry - imbalances that were seriously interfering with their ability to experience their power, joy, and purpose," he says. "For most, these imbalances didn't require prescription medication - only a handful of them would have been diagnosed with depression. Nor were most of these problems chronic; all of these patients could recall long periods of time when they had been able to think clearly and felt great.

"Unfortunately, many of their diets, lifestyles, and circumstances were conspiring to destabilize their brain chemistry, leaving them "Unfortunately, many of their diets, lifestyles, and circumstances were conspiring to destabilize their brain chemistry, leaving them thinking badly and feeling worse."

thinking badly and feeling worse."

Beating brain fog therefore means identifying - and also addressing - the factors feeding into the problem, even if they seem insignificant or unlikely to make a make a massive difference. In this age of convenience foods, long working hours and 24-7 access to technology, it can be all too easy to fall into habits that contribute to brain fog.

Beating brain fog therefore means identifying - and also addressing - the factors feeding into the problem, even if they seem insignificant or unlikely to make a make a massive difference. In this age of convenience foods, long working hours and 24-7 access to technology, it can be all too easy to fall into habits that contribute to brain fog.

"The way we eat, sleep, work, and live is flooding, starving, clogging, and disrupting our brains by destabilizing the levels of three crucial brain chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, "The way we eat, sleep, work, and live is flooding, starving, clogging, and disrupting our brains by destabilizing the levels of three crucial brain chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol," says Dr Dow. "We experience these biological problems as brain fog, scatterbrain, memory loss, fatigue, anxiety, and the blues."

anxiety, and the blues."

Over time, these problems can become chronic and more severe, if nothing is done to address them, and short-term solutions - reaching for the caffeine or sugar, for example - can end up being part of the problem too.

Over time, these problems can become chronic and more severe, if nothing is done to address them, and short-term solutions - reaching for the caffeine or sugar, for example - can end up being part of the problem too.

In his book, Dr Dow explores brain fog causes and, most importantly, what can be done about them in close detail. Here's a quick look at the key things he believes we need to keep brain fog at bay: Proper nutrients, including the |right vitamins, essential amino acids, and healthy fats.

In his book, Dr Dow explores brain fog causes and, most importantly, what can be done about them in close detail. Here's a quick look at the key things he believes we need to keep brain fog at bay: Proper nutrients, including the |right vitamins, essential amino acids, and healthy fats.

Exercise. | Sufficient restful sleep. | Regular, healthy circadian |rhythms.

Exercise. | Sufficient restful sleep. | Regular, healthy circadian |rhythms.

Downtime for relaxation and |restoration.

Downtime for relaxation and |restoration.

Purpose and meaning. | Spiritual practice. | A connection to something larger |than yourself.

Purpose and meaning. | Spiritual practice. | A connection to something larger |than yourself.

The - Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory And Joy In Just 3 Weeks - by Dr Mike Dow is published by Hay House, priced PS12.99.

The - Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory And Joy In Just 3 Weeks - by Dr Mike Dow is published by Hay House, priced PS12.99.

CAPTION(S):

Eating a nutrient-rich diet can help clear brain |fog, and alleviate symptoms such as insomnia Eating a nutrient-rich diet can help clear brain |fog, and alleviate symptoms such as insomnia

| Dr Mike Dow believes that brain fog is |a new epidemic, and gives hints about how to deal with it in his new book, left | Dr Mike Dow believes that brain fog is |a new epidemic, and gives hints about how to deal with it in his new book, left

Brain fog can leave you tired, disengaged and can even lead to depression | Brain fog can leave you tired, disengaged and can even lead to depression |
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Oct 27, 2015
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