10 Questions About Alcohol Brain Fog
So when I gave up drinking after a very serious illness and was given 48 hours to live I made it my purpose with this blog to champion an alcohol free lifestyle including drinks, health care and our well-being.
I am not an expert but I have been there and got the t-shirt. I am always amazed by what comes up as questions about drinking and one question that came up was about alcohol brain fog, what is it and how do you get it?
So here are my top ten questions most asked.
What does alcohol brain fog feel like?
Alcohol Brain fog is simple really and yet we look for reasons outside what is right in front of us very often. Think of it as your “thinking level”.
You go from having a real focused level of thinking to not really having one at all. You might feel a bit
- Not yourself and a bit down or that phrase “I just don’t feel myself!”
- Can’t see the woods for the trees
- Lose a sense of what to do next
- Walk into somewhere and forget why you went
- Stop half-way through a conversation and say “what was it I am saying again?”
- Find it difficult to focus on simple tasks.
Now before I go on, remember medical issues can cause all symptoms so please get checked, however these are classic examples of alcohol brain fog.
Does alcohol give you brain fog?
It certainly can and we know that heavy alcohol use can cause amongst other things liver damage and high blood pressure.
As just a social drinker and no more than many of my mates I can tell you firsthand it can have a massive effect on our health and sometimes you get ill least when you expect it.
Especially if you have other complications like me including stress and a stomach issue.
Let me be honest, I think drinking can be a killer and even small excessive use of alcohol is not good for our brain, never mind our liver. So yes alcohol is not good for the brain. In fact even if you think of yourself as a moderate drinker like I did before knocking it on the head. alcohol can lead to :
- Mental fog
- Mood changes.
- An all or nothing mentality
- Withdrawal for social activity
Can addiction change the brain? Is that why you get brain fog?
We know from research that addiction to so-called high level alcoholism can result in brain changes. If you think about you for a moment, imagine your brain as hundreds, thousands, millions of neurons in the brain spark off each other every second. Wow, its amazing really.
They are all functions and creating memory. They hold everything we have ever done and it’s like our own internal computer.
So imagine a data / circuit board gets damaged, the computer does not operate properly. That is our equivalent of brain fog. Have you ever had a blank screen no matter which button you press?
Providing there is no long term damage which of course can happen, the alcohol brain fog can begin to clear in time. We all know what it is like after a hangover clears after a good sleep you begin to think more clearly. Do avoid a hair of the dog though!
Does brain fog mean you have memory loss?
So when I studied neuro science as part of my coaching qualification I learned about the hippocampus region in the brain.
You have probably heard about the term but never really understood it. Now neuro science is a big subject and I am not an expert but what I do know is that the hippocampus is responsible for our memories.
This part of the brain is very affected by alcohol and that is why we have blackouts. You know the kind when you wake up to friends and you are in the wrong room, sofa or even someone else’s bed!
It can lead to you not knowing if you have been under the influence, are risky or have been risky or frisky!
So to use a bit of a sci-fi term you are talking “brain cell death” I know it’s scary.
Here is the very worrying bit, if you keep on having these moments of blackouts in the brain you can get some kind of permanent damage and therefore you find it increasingly difficult to remember things that happen in the future and so our past becomes a bit more depleted!
Is alcohol brain fog permanent and how does alcohol affect me?
So we have all seen the drunken soul walking down the street. Their eyes slightly crossed and we cannot walk properly, our eyesight goes so we say hello to strangers thinking that they are our friends. Many of us have been there even at a basic level.
Imagine this for a moment, in normal circumstances if I chuck something at you you would normally catch it without thinking.
It’s like an automatic response.
However, when you have been drinking even small amounts your reaction times get slower and slower, so now over time your reaction may become less quick. If you have been constantly having blackouts you could be heading for permanent damage if you are not careful
Does alcoholism cause dementia?
There is no evidence for this and brain damage that is alcohol related is just what it says on the tin with blackouts and memory loss and this can get worse over the years. There are other conditions like dementia that may share the same symptoms which is why it is important to find out the root cause and not what I did which was just presumed! Go and see a doctor !
Does brain fog affect my looks?
Yes it is the simple answer because alcohol dehydrates the body. Any good dermatologist will tell you that if you have dry skin it is prone to more wrinkles.
The water loss caused by alcohol can also mean we lose vital vitamins and the good calories as opposed to the empty ones. Vitamin A comes to mind but if you are struggling with liver function it can also mean Vitamin B absorption can become an issue.
Is there a pill I can take for alcohol brain fog?
No sorry. I am afraid it is down to maybe switching away to non alcohol drinks when you are out. I review my favorite alcohol free beers here. They have really improved and as someone who does not drink alcohol after a serious illness it’s a great help when you are out and about socially. They even do alcohol free fizz now!
Proper food, sleep and managing your stress levels can all really help alcohol brain fog but ultimately its drinking plenty of water and staying off the booze for your brain’s sake let alone your liver.
Could my alcohol brain fog just be anxiety ?
Anxiety can be caused by excessive drinking so if you are not drinking more than you should then maybe anxiety is coming from other sources. However, the symptoms can sometimes be linked such as:
- Heart pounding
- Feeling out of control
- Erratic breathing
- All nothing attitude or a manic mood swings
So anxiety is a common form of panic attack so you can see why they would be related however one does not always link to the other. However, if you are having alcohol brain fog, memory black out and anxiety then they could all be linked as opposed to just having a bad boss at work for example.
However, be aware that anxiety can mean that you begin to drink more so that a few after work to help with the stress and bingo before you know it alcohol is a bigger part of the problem than the stress.
Sometimes things are more linked than we might imagine so whereas taking a holistic approach to excessive drinking sounds a bit left field it is probably what you should do.
Does alcohol brain fog mean I will get belly fat?
Now it has been said that alcohol in particular beer can cause an increase in fat around the belly. Beer belly anyone?
Yes get a medical check up but if you are worried about starting an addiction and that can include sugar then one of my key coaching trainers Mark Tyrrell has a great course on addiction which is worth its weight in gold.
For clarity if it is a very serious addiction get urgent help but Mark’s online course is great and you can use on a tablet and includes downloads. It is well worth it. Just click the banner below.
I do get a small referral free but you don’t pay any extra at all. Please tell me how you get on with it if you decide to give it a try.
Please tell me your thoughts on alcohol brain fog and also if you have any other questions. I always do my best to help. I love hearing your stories as they get other people talking and adding thoughts. It’s a key part of the blog. I get back to comments as soon as I can. Stay safe!