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    Fuzzy Brain and Unarticulated Speec
    bleuorleans1212 posted:

    For the past two years, I have been on a wild ride in terms of my neurological health. It began, again roughly two years ago, as what I thought was a stutter. I have never stuttered in my life and have always been very articulate when I speak. It wouldn't be every word. It would be some words, at some moments.

    It slowly progressed until I felt my mental status change. I went from thinking very clearly to what I describe as 'fuzzy brain.' I googled fuzzy brain one time and was astounded to find out its an actual symptom. The fuzzy brain has been around for about a year and a half and has done a number on my self-esteem. I'm afraid to talk now because of my speech. I would almost prefer a stutter because stuttered speech actually makes sense. I have picked up the phone before when my boss was calling and literally let out a five second string of unintelligible nonsense. I was so embarrassed that I had to hang up on him and call him back later to apologize.

    The fuzzy brain status isn't constant. The unarticulated speech patterns seem to persist, although are worse at certain times. The craziest thing is when I'm out drinking with friends and get a little intoxicated I have no problems with my speech. It's when I'm sober that the problems persist. The fuzzy brain, on the other hand, changes as I go from room to room, as the temperature changes, and a number of other factors.

    The fuzzy brain that I experience isn't a scatter-brainness. My mind just feels fuzzy and my thoughts aren't sharp. It's almost as though there is a numbness to my conscious mind.

    I went to the doctor with the issue and he told me I have social anxiety disorder so he gave me Lexapro. I was on Lexapro for six months and took myself off because it wasn't fixing the problem. I wasn't having fuzzy brain and speech problems because I was afraid of people. To the contrary, I am afraid of people because I have this problem with my speech and ability to think clearly.

    I was describing it to a friend of mine and he told me it sounded like what he felt before he got on adderol; he has ADHD. I don't know the symptoms of ADHD but I wouldn't call myself hyper. One of the biggest things that I've noticed is that I've lost the ability to change the octives of my voice. I've become very monotonous when I speak because then it's easier to hide the random moments when my words sound poorly executed.

    Now, I know you can't diagnose me. But, I want to hear some people, preferably doctors, give me some idea of what this could be and how to turn it around. I've tried changing my diet; I've tried colon cleansing; I've tried Lexapro; I've tried vitamins; I've tried living hollistically. Nothing has worked.

    For the record, and I'm not sure if this matters, I have chronic Hepatitis B but almost no symptoms other than a little discomfort on my right side. I've never been jaundiced. I'm going to post this on the ADHD board as well, so they can add some insight to my friend's suggestion.

    Thanks in advance.
    1cherokeedeb responded:
    Hi, I'm NOT a Doctor, so I don't have a clue what could be wrong, but I do think it sounds like you should see a Neurologist. Maybe then you could find out what is causing your problem & start getting better. I wish you wellness. God Bless
    RedBear2005 responded:
    I've supported WebMD for a couple of years now, and I can't recall having seen a posting by a doctor in this forum. That being said, my instinct as a reasonably well informed layman is to (figuratively) put a load of bird shot in your tail to get your attention. You appear to have spent a couple of years self-medicating with quack remedies, for the most part. And the doctor you consulted (how long ago?) seems to have been rather less than aggressive in insisting that you be better evaluated and diagnosed. Social anxiety disorder and ADHD both seem to be very unlikely explanations for patterns of blurred speech and cognition. Something else is likely going on.

    You need to be seen as quickly as possible by a neurologist for a thorough work-up, including referral for a full skull series MRI at maximum resolution. Some of the symptoms you report are also seen in certain types of brain tumor, hydrocephalus, arterio-venous malformation, or stroke. If you are on medication to manage Hepatitis, some drugs can also produce side effects that impact speech and cognition. All of these things should be checked and positively eliminated by someone qualified to do so. Very few general practitioners have the training needed.

    I do hope you will soon take decisive action to be seen and advised by a professional with appropriate qualifications. Self-medication in the face of these symptoms is very unwise and potentially self-damaging.
    SAINTS07 responded:
    I have never heard my cognitive symptoms described as succinctly as you described fuzzy brain. I feel exactly the same way. In fact, I am now using your description to describe that symptom. I am posting the rest of my symptoms for you to check for similarities.

    37 year old female whose symptoms began gradually on January 31st, 2008. (Same symptoms were experienced from August 2003 ? March 2004.The only time symptoms were not experienced was during 2 different periods of time (last week of September 2003 and last week of October 2003) when I had a cold with congestion. Also, during this time I never had a migraine, which is a normal occurrence for me.)

    Symptoms: 1) Cognitive Dysfunction - disoriented, not crisp, not functioning at full capacity. I want to do something but can't get to level of full awareness to perform at normal ability. It isn't a scatter-brainness. My mind just feels fuzzy and my thoughts aren't sharp. It's almost as though there is a numbness to my conscious mind. Everything I do in this stage is just going through the motions. This symptom is sometimes accompanied by nausea and dizziness. I sometimes feel like I might pass out but never have. 2) Neck tightness ? I cannot stand for anything to be on my neck. I had to quit wearing turtlenecks. 3) Tongue numbness 4) Lip numbness 5) Feet and hand numbness or tingling 6) Occasional weakness in forearms and legs 7) Burning sensation in forearms - sometimes experience the burning sensation all the way to my shoulders

    When I experienced these same symptoms from August 2003 through March 2004, I had extensive bloodwork, MRI of the brain (at the very beginning), thyroid scan, EEG, nerve conduction test, glucose tolerance test, etc. Everything was normal except the thyroid scan. I had a hot nodule removed and symptoms seemed to subside soon after. However, this time around my thyroid scan and extensive bloodwork is all normal. I am scheduled for a MRI of the brain and neck on Thursday, April 17th.

    I am so hopeful for answers! Any input would be greatly appreciated!
    erinrobertson responded:
    Hello. First off, please let me just tell you that I was so emotional reading this because I have been having this problem for almost 2 years and I have yet to be able to describe it to someone else without them saying I'm suffering from depression. I don't believe this is from depression. I don't doubt I am depressed, after feeling so mentally fatigued/lazy lately - It really beats me up. My Dr. said I had anxiety and depression and gave me Lexapro as well. I am NOT taking it anymore. I tried lifestyle changes, I have even changed jobs & moved. Sometimes I feel like I am in a constant daydream, and it's very difficult to communicate. I don't stutter much - But I find myself doing it here and there. I can't pinpoint the factors that make me this way. I'm usually pretty sharp. I am in sales and this is seriously affecting my job, my relationships, etc. I switched physicians, and the new one isn't buying it either. I tried telling him about this, and how fatigued I am otherwise and he actually put me on a weight loss drug? He said it would give me energy. ?!?!?!?!Do you find yourself to be extremely fatigued often? I apologize that I have no advice. I don't even have myself figured out yet It was a relief to see I'm not the only "Fuzzy brained" person out there. Good luck.
    bkid64 responded:
    I have suffered the same symptoms for the past two years as well. I went to a neurologist and he did several tests but wasn't able to diagnose me. I've tried different diets, have you gotten anywhere or had any luck at all. Thanks Bil... [email protected]
    bkid64 responded:
    For all of us that suffer these same fuzzy brain symptons can we start a dialogue or discussion group to help get some answers and some understanding my name is Bill and my email is [email protected] Thank you all so much and perhaps we can see what we have in common that may be the cause of this. Bill Carey Salisbury,MA
    Lifes responded:
    I'm a "fuzzy-brainer" also. LOL I know it isn't funny, but, gotta joke a little.

    I didn't look at your profile and you don;t say your age and sex.

    More people at pre-middle age (late 30s) through middle-age experience fuzzy-brain or worse. Word-finding, word-stuttering, thought derailment (like when interrupted, you lose train of thought) can all become issues. Pre-menopause and menopause for women, and andopause for men are both times of mental changes. It can be very disconcerting and troublesome, esp if it starts at younger ages.

    I agree with Red that you've had some quack suggestions. Diet, no smoking, limited drinking, vitamins etc can each help us feel better, but it won't necessarily change fuzzy-brain. And, you're right "I wasn't having fuzzy brain and speech problems because I was afraid of people. To the contrary, I am afraid of people because I have this problem with my speech and ability to think clearly." It is not a social anxiety, but anxiety can develop from having problems thinking and speaking.

    Mayo Clinic had an article about Chemo Brain-- same problems after chemotherapy. It gives some excellent self-help. I agree with Red, it'd be good to get a full physical to make sure you have no other problems. Make sure Dr checks BP, your carotid arteries (with stethoscope), and heart sounds. Circulatory problems can cause fuzzy, as can some diseases, and some meds.

    The biggest #1 self-help for fuzziness and word-find problems or speech problems is to --- say it. Tell people. Yep, do the #1 worst thing you can think-- let people know you have times when you have problems. You can make a joke about it, as people do about having "Senior Moments". You can make up excuses... but just tell people. Also tell others that you may need a couple extra minutes to reply. DON'T feel pressured to answer. If Mr. Boss calls you again, the best reply "Can I get back to you on that in 5 minutes?" "Let me look that up and call you back." Write your reply before getting on the phone. Prepare beforehand what you need to say.

    Tell family to NOT finish your sentences & give you time to get words out. If people interrupt a lot, tell them so because it derails what you were going to say.

    This is NOT a graceful issue-- it makes you feel "stupid" -- at least that's how I feel, stupid and like I'm losing my mental faculties. For me, it started in my 30s. I couldn't say milk... as in "get me a glass of milk". I finally said "get me the.... the white stuff, wet, it's in the fridge... drink it in a glass" and my kid said "Milk???" Yeah, milk! I yelled (ouch, I regret yelling at her) It is OKAY to let go of a word that is stuck, stutters, or won't come out. Use a different word with the same meaning. "I need to get the da-ccccu-ments" can just as easily be "I need to get the papers". Make it a game in your head to think of 3 words that mean the same thing. Practice in your head, just like role-playing a job interview before you go. "Hello Mr. Johns, I am here to apply for the job (or .... discuss being hired... or... to become your employee). Heck, it doesn't matter which words we use. It's just our brains get stuck and for those seconds "a" word is the ONLY word, at least in our brain. When you stutter on a word, SWITCH words -- let the other one go away, there are plenty of other words to use! Really, try it next time. Stop, drop the stuttered word, pick a different word and finish your sentence.

    Self-depreciating humor is fine to use. "Well, I guess my tongue doesn't like that word today."

    Don't dwell on "it just happened AGAIN." Move on. Re-train your brain to stop getting stuck. No one is waiting to give you a million dollars to say THAT one word, so go with another word or even a different sentence. "Let me try that again," I often say.

    Frustration and tiredness makes mine worse. Also, pressure-- any kind, esp. pressure I put on myself. Hope this helps some.

    Lifes responded:
    Oops, spelling error.... Andropause for men
    Lifes responded:
    I've just read through the other people's responses / questions. My reply remains the same.

    Get a physical. If Drs find no physical issues, then consider the self-help I've described.

    No, it is not depression, although thought-slowing can happen in depression. No it's not social anxiety but can create anxiety and embarrassment.

    Think of your brain as a big filing cabinet. In one set of drawers it has words... thousands of words. It's like the brain pulls up a card for one word and won't let that word go... even though the brain could drop that card and pick another card. When the word gets stuck (can't think of it...can't say it... stuttering it... ), the brain keeps ahold of that word instead of being creative. We can help "oil" the parts of the filing cabinet ("oil" it with diet, good sleep, less stress, vitamins, etc), but sometimes we have to just snatch a new card for ourselves. Kicking the filing cabinet when frustrated won't help--- it just makes the brain push us harder to say THAT one word. Embarrassment is like dumping glue into the filing cabinet so all the word-cards get stuck and we can't find a substitute word at all. And, explaining "fuzzy brain" to doctors is like we've crawled into the filing cabinet drawer and slammed the drawer shut--docs usually don't understand because "a symptom" has to fit "a disease" and if docs can't find an organic (physical) cause for a symptom, then it must be "stress", or "depression" or that you are "emotionally unstable". Few to no docs would ever admit that they, too, experience fuzzy-brain symptoms in middle-age or older years, but you can bet some of them do experience it too.

    There is a lot on Google for the topic, but people describe it differently. There's also a great "brain+memory" research website that talks about fuzzy brain and how the brain catalogues and retrieves words, memories, speech, etc.


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