Brain Fog and Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: December 2020
Pain and joint inflammation are some of the most recognized symptoms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), but there are many other symptoms that also complicate life with the condition. One of those is brain fog, that fuzzy feeling of trying to drag the brain through molasses to remember dates, times, words, names, and things that ordinarily can be easily recalled.
Community thoughts: brain fog and psoriatic arthritis
To learn more about how community members manage brain fog, we reached out to followers on our Facebook page. We asked members to tell us: “Is anyone experiencing brain fog? How are you handling it?” Many of you responded, and here is what was shared.
Brain fog from PsA feels so frustrating
Being unable to find the right words or losing the thread of thought in the midst of a conversation is frustrating. Many of you expressed anger and embarrassment over how brain fog affects your ability to think and communicate.
"I hate it! I have always had a bad memory. It really bothers me when I cannot remember things and have trouble getting them out.”
“It is a constant in my life. I am not handling it. I become so frustrated and will cry at times because I want to scream.”
“I am in the middle of something I want to tell my husband or daughter, and just like that I do not know – I go blank.”
“Brain fog is the worst. You forget what you are thinking before you can complete your thought.”
Writing things down helps with PsA brain fog
One way many of you work around brain fog and forgetting details is to write things down and make lists of important things. Try keeping a journal or notepad handy so it is always available to jot down reminders and to-do lists during moments of clarity.
“I forget words, recipes, numbers, names, doctor appointments, meds. I just try to write everything down. It helps some, but not enough.”
“I write everything down.”
“I make checklists for pretty much everything to help.”
“I try not to get stressed about it. That makes it worse. I slow down and think of the next immediate thing I need to do. Making notes helps.”
Medicine may cause PsA brain fog
Many of you shared how certain drugs prescribed for treating PsA also made your brain fog worse. If you feel like brain fog is a side effect of your medicine, keep a log of your symptoms so you can share and discuss it with your doctor.
“Yes, I get brain fog. It is horrible. I think mine is from the methotrexate tab.”
“I was, my meds were the biggest problem with it! I was on methotrexate injectable, since being taken off of it I’m 100 percent better!”
“My brain fog and a few other symptoms are being caused by Otezla.”
“It seems right after I take my Humira I experience a few days of brain fog!”
Sleep and taking a break help with brain fog
Many of you shared that becoming overtired leads to brain fog symptoms. You also shared that getting some extra sleep, taking a nap, or taking a break can help to ease the symptoms. It is important to build downtime into your schedule before you feel exhausted – consider it an important part of your self-care.
“Whenever I get foggy I take a break. My workplace understands, and my family lets me sleep when I need to.”
“Yes, I am suffering brain fog frequently. Taking a break/nap is helping me quite well.”
“My brain fog seems to get worse when I overwork (I am a nurse), under sleep, and when my pain escalates. Rest to prevent a crash is the only thing that helps for me!"
“I get brain fog usually when I am not resting enough or letting stress and the illness get to me.”
Menstruation and menopause complicate brain fog
For women with PsA, monthly menstruation, or the hormone fluctuations caused by perimenopause and menopause can make brain fog feel even worse. During the time of monthly menstruation or when going through perimenopause, brain fog often feels even worse.
“Mine comes more often when I’m menstruating and I am typically feeling worn down anyway.”
“I definitely get it when I get a flare around my period, and it is like a fog. I cannot take in what I see and hear.”
“Add in menopause and my brain is, well, confused.”
“Being perimenopausal does not help either.”
The importance of sharing experiences
Fatigue and joint pain may be the most well-known symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, but brain fog can also cause difficulty for people with the condition.
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with brain fog. It is a very real and frustrating symptom of PsA. Hopefully, there is some measure of comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Do you have any questions about PsA?