Fibrofog and Fibromyalgia
Fibrofog is a mental condition related to individuals suffering from Fibromyalgia describing a mental state of fogginess. As a result, such individuals experience difficulties with focus, concentration and memory, especially short-term memory. These cognitive impairments can be very debilitating and discouraging for individuals already experiencing many other symptoms, on a physical and emotional level.
Indirectly, such cognitive impairments can also aggravate general symptoms since Fibrofog is usually followed by a high level of frustration that elevates stress levels, which in turn can intensify symptoms of pain as well as causing low mood and depression.
Most patients will describe Fibrofog as a state of fogginess or haze that prevents them from being able to think clearly and focus attentively. They forget not only where they placed things but even worse, they forget names and numbers that they regularly used most of their lives.
Other problems could include confusion, not being able to express their thoughts clearly, language-related difficulties as well as problems with executive functions such as prioritizing, decision making and organizing.
Causes of Fibrofog
Fibrofog is associated with depression related to the pain, as well as with sleep deprivation common to Fibromyalgia patients.
Studies of brain activity have shown that individuals with Fibromyalgia experience excessive amount of slow brain activity. As a result, their frontal lobes which are responsible for many of the cognitive processes including executive functions, are not fully activated, which result in the cognitive impairment. This can be tested by measuring blood flow levels to the frontal lobes. Individuals with Fibromyalgia have shown decreased blood flow in the frontal region of the brain.
In addition, reduced levels of neuro-transmitters, such as serotonin, can also contribute to a compromised memory capacity.
Neurofeedback has show good results in improving brain wave activity as a result of improved frontal lobe activation, which usually results in improved cognitive function.
There are also a number of software-based programs that offer neuro-cognitive treatments both in clinic as well as at home, and have proven to be effective in reducing Fibrofog resulting in improved focus, concentration and memory.
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