Dying To Ask

5 Ways To Fight Pandemic Brain With Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin

January 13, 2022

Feel like you're losing your mind?

So do I.

It's time to do something about a new phenomenon called pandemic brain.

"Pandemic brain" isn't an official disorder. But it's a real thing, according to Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin, a Kaiser Permanente psychologist.

Her office is filled with patients complaining of feeling foggy ever since the pandemic started and their work and home lives were turned upside down.

An article in Glamour Magazine went viral with the headline "Pandemic Brain is Real- And it Explains Why You Can't Focus."

The article predicted relief was right around the corner as vaccines were about to end the pandemic. That article was published in March of 2021 and you know what happened, or didn't happen, next.

Bottom line, pandemic brain is worse.

Van Horn-Gatlin said, "You know I can't tell you the number of patients I've talked to you recently that will say I will forget what I'm talking about in mid-sentence and I don't even know what I'm doing. We're seeing those behaviors and issues related to the pandemic."

Harvard medical researchers are studying the impact the pandemic is having on our brains as we reach its two-year mark.

It's not good.

They're noticing a neural inflammation caused by stress that's likely leading to what we're calling pandemic brain.

The bad news?

The pandemic isn't ending soon.

The good news?

Van Horn-Gatlin said there are five things we can do right now that could lead to a sense of relief (however small) in as soon as a week.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • The science behind why you can't focus
  • 5 things you can try to regain mental clarity
  • And KCRA 3 anchor Edie Lambert joins me to talk about our shared experience of pandemic brain and what we're doing about it

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