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11-13-2014, 03:21 AM   #1
dontmesswithmrwest
 
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Brain Fog is Scaring Me

I used to be a very intelligent man (I'm not bragging, just stating the truth).

But right now I feel...well... dumb.

I find myself with severe brain fog that is seriously disturbing me. My father keeps bringing up things I said that I completely forgot. I ordered a leather jacket on Amazon and have no memory of the event (granted, I think I ordered it on pred. but still).

I just feel completely out of it. I sleep much of the day then I spent the rest of it in a fog. Time passes quickly. Focusing is hard.

Again, not trying to e-brag, but I've read hundreds of the greatest books ever written. For instance, I finished War and Peace my freshman year of HS and now I struggle to comprehend simple books (like the one I'm reading on Crohns). My reading speed is at least half what it used to be and sometimes I wonder if I even remember much of what I read.

I get that this terrible condition can make me feel tired, lose weight, stay in my room, and put me in pain, but it making me lose my mental edge? - that's enough to make me curl up in a fetile position and cry.

I'm a very skilled writer especially for my age. That's how I made my living before this flare has made working nearly impossible. Writing (especially fiction) is my mission in life, and if I'm too mentally reduced to produce great work I feel like my life has lost a lot of value.

As of right now I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast so writing a great novel seems abjectly far off.

I thread on people witnessing similar things:
http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=15900
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11-13-2014, 08:27 AM   #2
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Are you currently in a flair, on pred, experiencing depression?

Any and all of those things can contribute to brain fog. I've had that a lot lately.
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11-13-2014, 08:46 AM   #3
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I don't know if the 'brain fog' is the result of any particular drug, or a combo of them, or if it is the nature of the disease itself. I have experienced it, and I haven't found a method to combat it. I used to be as tarp as a shack. Not exactly Mensa IQ, but close. I've noticed my memory is shot, my focus is almost non-existent, and I can lose my train of thought in a heartbeat. I was an executive, my background was computer science, electronic engineering, and business. That career, and the mental faculties it took to be successful at it... disappeared with the onset and treatment of this disease. I don't like it, my 'new' limitations... but I've come to accept it... and life does indeed, go on. You may be able to... reclaim.. what you lost... mental exercises, cross word puzzles, other things of that sort. Me? I've learned that just dealing with the physical side of IBD is all I can do.
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11-13-2014, 09:15 AM   #4
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Was never tarp as a shack but could manage to do some programing on my pc now it takes all my concentration just to turn the thing on after that the most I can manage is game walk through vids on you tube and windows media player
11-13-2014, 09:16 AM   #5
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Malnutrition, stress and exhaustion will lead us to brain fog. I have fibromyalgia so we call it fibro fog but it's probably all for the same reasons. I don't think it's any physical permanent damage and once you are in remission and feel better it should begin to stabilize.
11-13-2014, 10:03 AM   #6
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I concur with what NGNG said - for me, it seems to mainly be fatigue-induced. Today I'm coming down with a cold and as a result my brain fog is pretty awful right now. But on days when I'm feeling relatively well, I'm still pretty mentally sharp. As NGNG said, it shouldn't actually be causing permanent damage - brain fog is not brain damage. It's just another symptom.

Personally, I try to do a Sudoku puzzle every day - I do them on my Kindle and the puzzles are timed. I feel like it helps me at least focus a bit better, and it also gives me a good baseline for what my mental capabilities are going to be that day. If my time for solving the puzzle is really slow (or if I fail to solve it) then I know I've got to give myself a bit extra time that day to complete tasks, and I need to double check things like work projects to make sure I've done them correctly, etc.
11-13-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
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I entirely sympathise with you. I started a new job in a new field for me - accounting - a few months after I was diagnosed. I was on 40mg of Pred for 6 months along with 150g of Azathioprine, had 4 colonoscopies with sedation and then eventually the resection with general anaesthetic. I reckon it's been a combination of the meds and the disease that led to the brain fog and my now shocking memory.
Definitely not the best time to be learning new tasks and I started studying for a qualification too. I have completely lost confidence in my ability to do this. My colleagues can't believe that I don't remember conversations we have apparently had or things they have asked me to do. It is most unsettling to say the least :-(
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11-15-2014, 06:25 AM   #8
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As mentioned above, Crohn's can cause fatigue which can certainly affect your concentration. I think sometimes, you just have to accept that having an illness does alter you, and usually not in ways you want. People's intelligence is influenced by their genes, their education and other aspects of their upbringing, and may be affected later on by illness and all sorts of other traumatic events - I.e. many factors besides the work they put into learning and putting that learning to use, factors that are outside of their control. Maybe you've had quite a lot of advantages in other areas? A good education? Access to lots of books? A natural ability? Sometimes it may help to think of the things that have had positive effects on you, the things that have helped you, which were not all within your control either.

I have a very good memory. A couple of months ago I was rushed into surgery; I have days and days that I have no memory of at all. I also have some memories of things that apparently didn't actually happen (I always hallucinate when I have a fever). And this surgery wasn't an exception - that kind of thing is pretty routine for me. I think I can safely say that I'm not living up to my previous expectations, given my memory, intelligence, etc. But I know from experience it would not be good for me to dwell on this. You don't need to tell people you're intelligent, you're a good writer, etc. If you're struggling with an illness, they'll see that, and recognise you're doing the best you can in the circumstances you're in.

And it's unlikely Crohn's is actually affecting your intelligence in the way that some neurological conditions do. It's probably just affecting your ability to concentrate. If you're feeling depressed because of Crohn's, or having to deal with pain or other symptoms, it may be you're being easily distracted. These things are reversible.

But it's perfectly possible to find meaning in life without writing a great novel.

Last edited by UnXmas; 11-15-2014 at 06:51 AM.
11-15-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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Also I think you mentioned on another thread you use medical marijuana? Doesn't that cause memory problems and other neurological effects?

Also this one:http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=68408 I have no idea about this drug, but it seems a lot of its effects are unknown, so might not be the best idea to take it if you value your intelligence.
11-15-2014, 11:47 AM   #10
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I am going with the virus theory. Why else would I be sitting in a Deer stand in 10 degree F weather right now?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...d-9849920.html

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11-15-2014, 12:11 PM   #11
D Bergy
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Another more established cause of brain fog is Lyme disease. A pretty common symptom.

Dan
11-15-2014, 12:14 PM   #12
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Since being diagnosed over ten years ago, I have had some fog issues myself. Mostly I have the lack of focus. Concentrating is really difficult... a least difficult to maintain. At work, I have just started "going with it"... If I lose focus on what I was doing, I move onto something else and come back to the original task later. Some days this occurs numerous times, but I manage to get my work done, so i'm over it now. I work around it rather than let it upset me.
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11-15-2014, 04:54 PM   #13
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Are you currently in a flair, on pred, experiencing depression?

Any and all of those things can contribute to brain fog. I've had that a lot lately.
Hey, sorry about the delay in response. I'm new to this, but I assume I'm in a pretty bad flair right now (barely have enough energy to get out of bed).
11-15-2014, 05:02 PM   #14
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I don't know if the 'brain fog' is the result of any particular drug, or a combo of them, or if it is the nature of the disease itself. I have experienced it, and I haven't found a method to combat it. I used to be as tarp as a shack. Not exactly Mensa IQ, but close. I've noticed my memory is shot, my focus is almost non-existent, and I can lose my train of thought in a heartbeat. I was an executive, my background was computer science, electronic engineering, and business. That career, and the mental faculties it took to be successful at it... disappeared with the onset and treatment of this disease. I don't like it, my 'new' limitations... but I've come to accept it... and life does indeed, go on. You may be able to... reclaim.. what you lost... mental exercises, cross word puzzles, other things of that sort. Me? I've learned that just dealing with the physical side of IBD is all I can do.
Reading this was heartbreaking. I send you my best.
11-15-2014, 05:04 PM   #15
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I entirely sympathise with you. I started a new job in a new field for me - accounting - a few months after I was diagnosed. I was on 40mg of Pred for 6 months along with 150g of Azathioprine, had 4 colonoscopies with sedation and then eventually the resection with general anaesthetic. I reckon it's been a combination of the meds and the disease that led to the brain fog and my now shocking memory.
Definitely not the best time to be learning new tasks and I started studying for a qualification too. I have completely lost confidence in my ability to do this. My colleagues can't believe that I don't remember conversations we have apparently had or things they have asked me to do. It is most unsettling to say the least :-(
I'm sorry to hear that and hope that things work out for you.
11-15-2014, 05:25 PM   #16
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Also I think you mentioned on another thread you use medical marijuana? Doesn't that cause memory problems and other neurological effects?

Also this one:http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=68408 I have no idea about this drug, but it seems a lot of its effects are unknown, so might not be the best idea to take it if you value your intelligence.
I never said I was using MM. However, marijuana can cause issues with memory while you are under the influence of the substance.

Either I'm fairly immune to this effect or this side effect is greatly over exaggerated because I seem to remember just as much as usual and have many vivid memories from while I was high as a kite.

Other neurological effects of marijuana? Sure feeling good and an increased sense of humor (in my case - I don't experience negative effects).

"It might not be the best to take if you value your intelligence." That statement is ridiculous. Kratom has been used regularly by people for over 10,000 years and users don't complain about becoming dumb. Kratom is a natural plant that has little known side effects.

I highly doubt that it damages your brain anywhere near the level that alcohol does. The side effects of Kratom are literally nonexistant compared to the potential short-term and long-term effects of other treatments.

I find it funny you mention the two drugs that - by far - have the least amount of potential side effects.
11-16-2014, 06:33 AM   #17
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Other neurological effects of marijuana? Sure feeling good and an increased sense of humor (in my case - I don't experience negative effects)
Prednisone can also make you feel good - plenty of people get euphoric on prednisone.

I find it hard to understand why someone who is so concerned about preserving his exceptional intelligence would make himself "high as a kite". Why worry about the an illness making you too tired to concentrate, but not about taking an illegal drug - presumably the first time you took it you didn't know what effects it would have on you?

On your Kratom thread you said that a lot of the kratom being sold is poor quality, which is a problem that's always going to be there with substances that aren't regulated in the way that prescribed or over-the-counter medications are. There's always going to be the risk of not knowing what you're getting. And as it has effects on mood, cognition, etc., again, it doesn't sound like something you would want to risk taking if you care about your memory and intelligence to the extent that brain fog makes you greatly depressed.

I know having Crohn's is depressing. I know being exhausted and unable to concentrate is incredibly frustrating. My own state of health is terrible - this has made me very aware of how many people take health for granted. Crohn's may give you brain fog, but it's not going to have any devastating effects on your intelligence or memory. Don't take unnecessary risks with them. Some of the medications used to treat Crohn's can have serious mental health side effects, but at least you will be guided by a doctor, will know what you're getting, and can make choices about whether or not to take them based on assessment of the potential risks and benefits. And if you do get side effects, you can inform a doctor and try to sort the situation without the complications of having to admit it's something you procured yourself. (And if your doctor is giving you bad advice, see another one.)

If you've used kratom or whatever else long enough to feel confident that it's beneficial to you, then fair enough if you want to keep using it. I don't know its safety, risks, etc. It's more the fact that you're using unregulated substances in general - that's not something you can do without risks to your health, and with the ones you've reported trying, that includes risks involving your memory and mental health.

Last edited by UnXmas; 11-16-2014 at 11:31 AM.
11-16-2014, 10:28 AM   #18
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I would (if I could... authorities take a dim view of a commercial truck driver having it in his/her system... medical or otherwise) take medical marijuana for my disease. But it would have to be the medical variety... low in THC, high in CBD... so it 'should' improve my situation without making me high. (why one comes at the expense of the other you'd have to ask the plant). But taking anything that isn't regulated comes with high risk. And, this disease can be enough to deal with all on it's own... it isn't a forgiving disease.

Having said that... we each have to find our own way to cope. If that includes getting high, so be it. However, if driving didn't prevent me from using MM, I'd have a big legal battle on my hands... as the property management company where I live stipulates that the use of marijuana is grounds for eviction. Only thing worse than having this disease might be being homeless and having this disease. Unless I was too stoned to really care.
11-17-2014, 11:18 AM   #19
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I didn't think of this before, but Crohn's would not cause memory loss.

I find myself with severe brain fog that is seriously disturbing me. My father keeps bringing up things I said that I completely forgot. I ordered a leather jacket on Amazon and have no memory of the event (granted, I think I ordered it on pred. but still).
Having complete blanks in your short-term memory is very different from finding it hard to concentrate. If you really have absolutely no memory at all of having ordered a jacket, that's not a Crohn's symptom.

As I said in my first post on this thread, during my last hospital admission there were days and days of which I have only a few fragments of memory. I've since been told that people came to visit me, I apparently had conversations with them, but I have literally no memory of having even seen them, never mind what was said. This can be easily explained by the fact that I had enough general anaesthetic to keep me unconscious for several hours, and a ton of oxycodone and morphine (and many other medications as well). I take Amitriptyline, which has also caused me short-term memory loss at times, on a far far more minor scale.

If you are regularly experiencing this kind of complete blank in short-term memory, it's either due to a drug or medication, or you could have some mental or neurological problem. You said your father keeps bringing up things you said which you don't remember: it's normal to forget a few things, and since you're particularly tired at the moment, it's probably normal if you're forgetting small things more often than you used to. But if the things you're forgetting you said are significant enough that you really shouldn't have forgotten them - as significant as buying a jacket - and even when reminded of them no memories come back to you at all, that's not from Crohn's-related fatigue.

If you ordered the jacket whilst taking prednisone, that could be the cause. I think prednisone can cause problems with memory, though I'm pretty sure it's not a common side effect. If you're still having episodes of memory loss, you should probably start considering other causes rather than put it down to Crohn's.
11-17-2014, 11:36 AM   #20
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Just to add a couple of medical cents to this discussion.

Crohn's itself does not have any known or proven CNS effects including effects on cognition. For those with terminal ileal involvement, B12 deficiency can certainly cause Neuropsych effects, so that can be something to check.

ANY MEDICATION THAT CROSSES THE BLOOD BRAIN CARRIER CAN HAVE COGNTIIVE EFFECTS.

This is many legal and illegal substances. It includes antihistamines, LDN, and many other substances. Pot, Alcohol. Ambien, anti anxiety drugs, pain meds, steroids, all can have neuro effects.

In addition, the MOST underated causes of poor cognition, or brain fog are 1) fatigue- chronically. 2) Depresssion.

See you doctor. Have routine bloodwork- make sure you are not anemic, have normal liver and kidney function-poor toxin clearance from liver or renal dysfunction can also cause Neuropsych issues. In addition, get a thyroid stimulating hormone and b12 level checked. Lyme also should be ruled out.

After that get screened for depression, get a sleep study (sleep apnea can cause neuro effects.) Quit any alcohol and smoking


By the way- In terms of chronic cognitive dysfunction like dementia- the patient ususally thinks all is fine. 99/100 times it's a family member bringing in the patients. When the patient reports these isssues themselves, there is most often a secondary and often reversible cause (usually one of the above.)
11-17-2014, 04:14 PM   #21
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Interesting post.

I used to smoke the funny fags mostly at college and a while afterwards, but the reason I stopped is because of the brain fog. I was doing an intelligent job, and I just thought "why am I doing this to myself?". I wonder now if it was nothing to do with marijuana.

I've had periods where it was a problem, but I did become very concerned earlier this year when it seems I was going whole weeks feeling like my brain was full of mush. As a software engineer I'm basically paid to think and I was constantly putting off anything I knew would require me to be intelligent, or creative. I feared I was letting everybody (and myself) down and that that would be my life from now on.

But I've been doing much better since I learned about the B12 issue. This'll sound silly, but I discovered eating Mackerel would make me feel better the next day. Not necessarily more awake, but just better able to focus, think clearly and be more cheerful and talkative as well. Mackerel is high in B12. I'm not sure it would work any more, now I don't have a terminal ileum I need injections (and patches) but I haven't suffered from the brain mush at all of late.

It seems ludicrous that it could be that simple (and I'm not suggesting it is for anybody else). I can't help wondering now how much better my life would have been so far, and how much more I could have achieved if only I'd known.
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11-17-2014, 05:27 PM   #22
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A quick tip for improving retention of information and concentration would be to get some Bacopa supplements. I take one of the Paradise Herbs capsules a day, on an empty stomach. This is not some stimulant or more natural version of anything illegal, or anything. From what I understand is that it is an antioxidant that crosses the blood brain barrier, for your benefit.

Do a quick scholar.google.com search for Bacopa and memory, or something to that effect. Take good fats (avocado, eggs, coconut oil, fish oil) into your diet daily.

I take it daily before competing in sports or playing guitar, in order to play/sing/retain songs and concentrate for disc golf (yes, I just typed that) tournaments. It is a must for me to read books, with any sort of holistic enjoyment and retention of plot details and stylistic, or latent, information. I would add that continual MM use will, very likely, diminish the retention of much of life's latent details (not to mention short term memory and other proven frontal lobe effects). Though, I have not mixed it with many "other" substances--bacopa may or may not potentiate these in one way or another, not sure.
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07-07-2015, 07:37 AM   #23
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I know this is an older thread. But I wanted to put my 2 cents in for others. As crohns flares I do have more concentration and memory issues. Sometimes I just can't focus to read or write emails. I think the root cause may be inflammation and possibly infection. Even though Crohns is located in the gut lots of users are affected throughout their whole body especially during a flare e.j. Tightness in shoulders, headaches, smelling saline, neck and throat lymph nodes swelling, ulcers in cheeks of mouth, joint aches in arms, hands, knees, etc.; cramping or feeling of fallen arches in feet; etc. so, it does effect us from our head to our feet. It stands to reason that there could be some swelling or inflammation in our head that affects our thinking and ability to concentrate or remember.
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