Does Lexapro make your head foggy? (A troublesome side effect)

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about lexapro induced foggy head. Lexapro is an antidepressant which can cause multiple side effects in individuals. Some people have reported a clouded mind or something that we call ‘brain fog’. 

This blog will cover all there is to know about this effect and we will discuss some tips to help strengthen your cognitive functions. 

Does Lexapro make your head foggy? 

Yes, lexapro can make your head foggy. A few people have reported that they start feeling this way soon after taking their lexapro and feel as if their mind is in a fog and if they find it difficult to think straight and concentrate. 

What does research suggest? 

One study suggested that SSRIs are not as simple as they seem to be. These meds are capable of changing brain chemistry and can severely affect cognition of people who don’t tolerate these antidepressants well. 

The same study revealed that SSRIs, including lexapro, can actually start affecting your brain right away and it kind of remodels it. This is exactly why it can take up to 4-6 weeks to start producing its effects. 

However, further research is needed to further understand the impact of these antidepressants on brain chemistry. Another study indicated that it is extremely impossible to predict how an individual’s brain can respond to lexapro. 

The study conducted research and compared brain scans of people taking lexapro and those who were taking placebo, for the sake of this study. They concluded that people who have taken lexapro show different brain scans. 

This clearly indicates that the drug can affect people in multiple ways. Escitalopram is a highly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and it increases the amount of active serotonin which binds to its receptors throughout the body. 

The mechanism, however, is more complex than that. This increased serotonergic activity could be overwhelming for you and instead of improving your mood and anxiety symptoms, it can actually make you feel lost. 

Too much serotonin can cloud your mind and is capable of causing cognitive impairment. This effect, however, is variable in people. Some respond so well that these meds end up changing their lives. Treatment with antidepressants is more like a gamble. 

You’re never too sure how it’ll turn out. Make sure you try your level best to take your treatment seriously and do everything just as your doctor has advised. 

What does a foggy head feel like? 

Head fog, brain fog or mental fog is related to a wide range of psychological symptoms. It is not considered a disease and is often present as a symptom of some underlying mental health condition. People with brain fog usually suffer from following symptoms:

  • They can’t seem to remember names, numbers, words or addresses.
  • Their decision making ability is badly affected and they are never sure about anything.
  • They see simple tasks like a challenge. 
  • They can not seem to focus on one thing properly.
  • They find it difficult to learn a new skill.
  • They can not respond quickly and take some time to process the question. They don’t understand humour and get confused when they talk to someone.

It can also make people behave in an awkward way. Studies suggest that people with brain fog tend to take everything negatively and suffer from feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. 

They can result in isolation and suicidal behavior. Foggy head can cause serious complications in teenagers and young adults, as lexapro already comes with a black box warning of inducing suicidal thoughts and mood disturbance in people younger than 24 years of age. 

How to help relieve the fogginess of your head? 

The first thing to do is to inform your mental healthcare professional about your side effects. You can explain how this mental fogginess is affecting you and what symptoms you have experienced so far. 

This will help your doctor determine if your current lexapro dose is appropriate for you and if you can achieve therapeutic response from lexapro in the next few months without compromising your brain functions. 

It is important for you to look out for any trigger factor or monitor the usual timing at which your mind gets clouded the most. Avoid driving, operating heavy machinery or any other activity that requires your full mental alertness if you feel your mind getting foggy. 

Drink plenty of water. Try making detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it like oranges, apples, kiwi, berries etc. 

You also need to manage your stress which, at times, makes it difficult for you to think clearly and rationally. It releases cortisol, also known as ‘stress hormone’. 

It is also known to increase appetite and sugar cravings. Make sure you manage your stress levels. Some methods of managing stress include yoga, meditation, and relaxing exercises like stretches. 

You can also try engaging time in favourite activities like swimming, reading, gardening, walking etc. Make sure you sleep for about 7 to 8 hours, every night. 

Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests following tips to make your sleep quality better than it is now. These include:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every day, working days as well as weekends. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is always quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature to help you relax and make your sleep quality better.
  • Do not use electronic devices or gadgets before going to bed. They reduce your sleep quality. Make sure you remove such devices from your room or switch them off.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. They will only ruin your sleep quality.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help relax your muscles and make your sleep quality better.

Tips to help improve your cognitive functions

Following are a few tips to help improve your cognitive functions:

  • Make sure you don’t put pressure on your brain. Do half of your tasks now and save some for later.
  • Identify your trigger factors. If a certain type of activity, talking to someone specific, eating a certain kind of food or reading about something brings out an unusual reaction or confuses you, it’s best to avoid it. 
  • Stay close to people who support you, understand you, teach you and make you look at the brighter side.
  • Organise your things in such a way that you don’t find it difficult to locate them.
  • If you have something important coming up, set a reminder or mark your calendar to help you remember it. 
  • Engage in relaxing exercises like yoga and meditation.
  • Read your favourite books.
  • Play memory boosting games.

When to call your doctor 

Mild mental fogginess and confusion should begin to fade away in 3 to 4 weeks. Infact, sometimes it can take up to 2 months. But if your side effects persist, immediately reach out to your healthcare provider. 

You might need a lower dose. Even if it’s just been a week or two on lexapro, but you feel side effects which are severe and disabling, don’t wait for them to subside. Seek medical attention as soon as you can.

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have discussed lexapro induced foggy head. It might make you feel confused, alone, frustrated and disoriented. Brain fog can also affect your emotional well-being and your decision making ability. 

A few studies have also revealed that foggy head can cause serious complications in teenagers and young adults,  because of the frustration, hopelessness and worthlessness that can lead to suicidal behavior and is capable of causing serious harm. 

Make sure you talk it out with your healthcare professional. If your dose is too high, your doctor will tone it down and will monitor the effects of the lower dose. 

We have also discussed some home remedies that can help you enhance your cognitive behaviour and can help you get through your mind fogginess.

FAQs: lexapro foggy head 

Does Lexapro make your head foggy?

Yes, lexapro can make your head foggy. A few people have reported that they start feeling this way soon after taking their lexapro and feel as if their mind is in a fog and if they find it difficult to think straight and concentrate. 

Do antidepressants give you brain fog?

Yes, antidepressants are capable of giving you brain fog, especially when they’re used at higher doses. This side effect, however, can vary from person to person. 

Some people show little to no brain fog and tolerate antidepressants pretty well. Other people can have serious complications associated with severe brain fog which affects their overall brain functions. 

Do side effects of Lexapro go away?

Side effects associated with lexapro usually start to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. This time duration can vary from person to person. Some people recover earlier from the side effects as compared to others. 

How can I flush Lexapro out of my system?

Dose tapering can help flush lexapro out of your system. It has a half life of about 26-33 hours, which indicates that with this time period, the concentration of your lexapro reduces to half. 

This way, it could take up to several days to eliminate lexapro completely out of your system and it could only be done when your doctor suggests a proper taper schedule to flush lexapro out of your system within a few months.

Why does my head feel foggy all the time?

Certain health conditions can cause head fogs. Such conditions include:

  • Depression and anxiety: These conditions are well known for clouding your judgement.
  • Hormonal changes: hormonal changes in women lead to symptoms like mood wings, confusion, nervousness, forgetfulness etc. it is most common in post-menopausal women.
  • Hypothyroidism: experts believe that thyroid hormones have a huge impact on brain functions and deficiency of these hormones can result in brain fog.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune conditions, like lupus, celiac disease etc, are also known to cause mental fog.

Does Lexapro damage the brain?

Researchers have discovered that lexapro can alter your brain chemistry within hours of first dose administration. This altered brain chemistry can affect people in so many different ways. 

References 

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