How I deal with brain fog resulting from Cushing’s disease

These strategies help me manage frustrating cognitive issues

Noura Costany avatar

by Noura Costany |

Share this article:

Share article via email
An illustration depicting a person with curly hair writing at a desk, with papers whirling in the air, as the banner image of

Cushing’s disease survivors may experience myriad symptoms, including forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. These cognitive issues are often known as the infamous brain fog.

For me, this symptom feels exactly as it sounds: a fog. I’m out of it, complacent, like I’m having an out-of-body experience. My memory is terrible; I forget things. Eventually I spiral as I try to think clearly and feel like I’m back in my body. These cognitive problems are incredibly frustrating and make me feel trapped in my illness.

Brain fog can be exacerbated by stress, and because Cushing’s disease involves high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, it’s no wonder that many of us experience this symptom often. While I can’t get rid of my brain fog entirely, I’ve found several ways to deal with it.

Recommended Reading
A woman seated on an examining table takes an oral medication as a doctor hands her a glass of water.

Rare adrenal tumor producing CRH and ACTH seen to cause Cushing’s


I’ve found the most helpful solution to be activities that require focus. I can’t force myself to remember things or otherwise spark my own memory. Instead, I need to divert my focus. Crosswords have been an amazing outlet for me because they require a lot of thought. The New York Times also offers free games like Wordle and Connections that are quick and help me refocus.

Knitting is another activity that requires my full attention and helps me deal with brain fog. It’s wonderful because I get something out of it at the end! I recommend looking into hand knitting and starting with something simple, like a scarf. Seeing the results of my work makes me feel good, so it’s a win-win.


When my brain fog is bad, I usually need sleep. Because I have insomnia (which has been worse than usual lately), I have to make time to rest throughout the week. I’ll set alarms and take 30- or 60-minute naps on days when I’m operating on less than eight hours of sleep. If napping isn’t possible, I’ll lie on the floor with my knees up. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it at least helps my body rest, even if my mind can’t.

If I don’t have time for any of the above, a short break can help as well. Even if it’s something as simple as making tea or a snack, taking a bit of time to do something mindless helps me refocus.

Repeat and reset

We can’t always beat brain fog; sometimes we just have to deal with it. So I write absolutely everything down, especially my to-do lists. That helps me keep track of everything I need to do each day and prevents things from falling through the cracks. I also have a huge calendar on my wall that provides visual and daily reminders of work, upcoming appointments, and more.

At the end of the day, brain fog sucks, and it’s difficult to deal with. I’m working to discover more solutions, but in the meantime, I’m trying to manage it, learn about it, and get really good at completing crosswords because of it.

Follow my journey on TikTok and YouTube.

Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


Shagufta Dar avatar

Shagufta Dar

I’m Cushings disease survivor..was diagnosed in 2004 ..Had Pitituary surgery 3times December 2004-January 2005 as was not successful twice..Cushings reaccured in 2008 was on medication until they did gamma knife radiotherapy 2012.. Recently got gout in both knees and have lost over 20kg since then .Have kidney issues and a renal cyst and suffering from anxiety issues and depression which I think is related with my Cushings disease..I think we are with Cushings for life and doctors are not helping me or doing anything.. I have weird and bad thoughts and don’t want to be alone..Doctors can not find reason I’m loosing weight ..I’m not in a good place mentally and physically I can’t do anything like i used to..Husband does all chores and shopping..Need some help desperately and advice.Regards Shagufta Dar

Lucie avatar


Hi Shagufta, yep me the same luv. Nothn really I can say to help U personally - u can email me & we setup talk if u wd like talk when u feelg too far ott. I've only one kidney & it's misbehavg after all these yrs grr Try & set one job, shop, visit per day or one in morng, afternoon. U b so pleased "yaa I did it" am with u in spirit 💁

Jeanette avatar


I've nit been diagnosed as yet but I've been advised that it is something I should be looking I am spina bifida ya see so my consultants and surgeons are.looking into the hydrocephalus because if the lump I have on back of my neck and i have also experienced a csf leak cab someone with the fat growth in woman in the lower stomach area i have never experienced this until.i had the lump on the back of my.neck
Is this normal ???


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.