alt=a man tries to break through brain fog with various distractions.

The Distractions of RA Brain Fog

Last updated: July 2022

As we continue to deal with direness of our present condition, I've noticed that the brain fog I've written about in the past is not only still here, but seems to be getting worse.

I know that my body is in some flux right now (mostly due to getting accustomed to taking Humira biweekly again), but it's really distressing and starting to affect my ability to work, finish schoolwork, and live a "normal" life. I wanted to share my experience again as an update, but also as an ask from the community to see if you all are experiencing a similar situation and what sort of actions/remedies you have found useful.

My brain fog routine

The typical manifestation of my brain fog goes like this: I wake up in the morning feeling okay, but sometimes a little groggy. Then, after getting ready for the day and heading to work, I usually have my peak productivity hours (also fueled by lots of cold brew) in the early morning around 9-11am. After lunch, though, is a different story. Nearly every day after I eat lunch, I feel terrible. I start to feel groggy; my head starts to throb, I get confused, tired, and overwhelmed which sort of colors the rest of the day.

Once I get home, I usually feel the same way for about an hour or two. By this point, it’s close to 7-7:30pm so the day is almost done. I'll usually get a tiny burst of energy until 9pm to do everything else I need to for the day, including school work, house chores, and more. Then, the brain fog returns until I go to bed--and the cycle continues.

Experimenting with solutions

It's exhausting because I really could use that afternoon time to be more productive or even to just relax more. I've tried the following remedies to alleviate this:

  1. Drinking more water throughout the day. This seemed to help for a little bit, but it could have been psychosomatic because the brain fog returned after a week or so.
  2. Drinking more coffee in the afternoon. This also seemed to help for a bit, but then turned to the not-so-helpful side, as it increased my feelings of anxiety (and physical manifestations too, like eye twitches). This was definitely not a long-term or particularly beneficial solution.
  3. Stretching and moving more throughout the latter part of the day when the brain fog got particularly difficult. This has definitely helped reduce some of the severity, but it doesn't seem to be a cure-all (otherwise, I wouldn't still be experiencing the brain fog). Stretching and moving more has also had additional benefits for my body beyond the brain fog, but that's ancillary for right now.

With that, I'm curious what you all have done to alleviate your brain fog and what that looks like for you. I’m open to trying really anything at this point because I have yet to find a viable solution for helping me feel better. I do plan on discussing this with my rheumatologist, but I’m not sure how fruitful that conversation will be.

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