What Are Some Ways to Handle Cognitive Fog?
There are different approaches to dealing with the mental haze that occurs in some people with MS.
Neurologist Lauren B. Krupp, M.D., director of NYU Langone’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center in New York City, breaks down different ways to handle cognitive fog that occurs with multiple sclerosis.
Cognitive fog is the problem that many people with MS feel when they're in the midst of a flare or MS attack. Some people can feel that even in between attacks and probably the best way of managing that is to: one, not get upset and stressed, because if you get upset about that problem, it's going to make the ability to think clearly even worse. And people vary in their ability to be calm.
One of the things that happens to people with MS is that it takes them longer sometimes to come up with the right answer or the right word that they're looking for. They will find it. They just need more time. So, the key there is just to take a break, give yourself a moment or two, and usually the word or name will come. And if it doesn't come, to try to be calm about it and work your way around it.
The other thing that's important in terms of cognitive functioning in MS is to use your mind. Exercise is very important. Exercise - physical exercise and mental exercise. Doing not just reading, but taking notes on what you're reading. There are certain challenging cognition training games that you can get on the computer. Taking on new challenges that are thinking challenges are good things to do.
In general, it turns out that if you try to give somebody computer games and you compare those to other games, the ones that work best are the ones that get harder, the better you do. Challenging yourself is really actually very helpful in the same way that in exercising, pushing yourself a little bit that much harder turns out, within reason to be a very helpful thing for your body and for your mind.