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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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I am having trouble thinking and learning. Many times during

Customer Question

I am having trouble thinking and learning. Many times during the day, especially the afternoon it feels like my mind just runs out of gas. Often this is a distinct as a twinge of almost painful exhaustion along with just seeing blackness for an instant. Then I can barely remember what I was just doing. I do accounting and it is boring and stressful, but I used to just keep on plowing through until I finished what I had to do. Now, I just sort of avoid doing too much, so I don't have to feel those twinges and blank black moments. I am just wondering what is going on. I am 54 and realize age is a factor. Maybe I am not getting some nutrient that I need. Mom was bipolar and that concerns me a bit. I exercise regularly and eat well. I just really don't know quite what to think.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am sorry to hear your situation. Let me ask you a question before I offer an answer. Do you feel anxious or depressed?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
maybe a little depressed
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hi, I can imagine how worried and anxious you must have been about your condition at times. It sounds like you may have difficulty thinking. You may have signs of mild depression. Your stressful job may have contributed to your current condition. Let me explain about depression.

Depression is a state of disease that affects body and mind. Depression can disrupt the nerve impulses that carry a constant stream of orders from the brain to the muscles. When the depressed brain slows down, so do the signals to all parts of body. Depression affects memory, problem-solving ability, language, perception and is accompanied by nervous tension, anxiety, and profound fatigue. Medical reasons for Depression may include thyroid hormone abnormality, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Chronic pain, Stroke (Brain injury), other medical problems such as kidneys, heart, lung, epilepsy, migraine headaches, brain injury. Malnutrition/brain damage can dull mood further. Excessive alcohol use may aggravate depression. Some medication can cause or contribute to depression. Your doctor should know all the medication that you are taking. First of all, you may try some or all of the following to relax your mind and improve your thinking - 1. Exercise moderately, but regularly, 2. Eat healthy but delicious meals, 3. Regularize your sleep cycle, 4. Don't drink to excess or abuse drugs, 5. Spend some time every day in play, 6. Develop recreational outlets that encourage creativity, 7. Distance yourself from destructive situations or people, 8. Practice mindfulness meditation, or walk, or an intimate talk, every day, 9. Allow yourself to feel pride in your accomplishments, 10, Listen to compliments and expression of affection, 11. Build and use a support system, 12. Pay more attention to small pleasures and sensations, 13. Challenge yourself, 14. Avoid unstructured time, 15. Practice good personal hygiene, 16. Avoid depressed self-absorption, 17. Cultivate your sense of humor. Also, yoga, meditation, Acupuncture, Guided imagery, and massage therapy may help. If this problem persists for more than two weeks, I advise you to see a counselor to express and process your feelings and thoughts weekly. You may meed to see a psychiatrist or your primary care physician for medication if your condition is severe. A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are considered to be effective to treat Depression. You may benefit from seeing a therapist who specializes in Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT) to work on depression. If you are open to counseling, You can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty as depression. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that you want to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You can ask any question and negotiate psychotherapy fee. I hope you get well. Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You hit on something, sleep. My wife says I have been snoring more. I may not be getting enough quality sleep. Guess I should check that out with my doctor first and go from there on your other suggestions. Would poor quality sleep be enough to account for my brain feeling like it is trying to shut off? Physically, I can do about what ever I want to -- I am not really tired. I do feel sleepy after lunch, but that passes in a little while. What I don't like is that feeling that I just cannot think when I need to. My brain just doesn't feel like it is there for me - like having a weak ankle and trying to walk - just can't rely on the old noodle to hold up when I need to work on a problem.
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hi, Sleep is very important for your mind and body. Yes, you may see your primary care physician for a physical check-up first. Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you may benefit from having Behavior therapy in a sleep disorder clinic in your area:

Behavioral treatments teach you sleep behaviors and ways to make your sleeping environment more conducive to sleep. Behavior therapies include: 1. Education about good sleeping habits. Sleep hygiene teaches habits that promote good sleep. 2. Relaxation techniques like Progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback and breathing exercises are ways to reduce anxiety at bedtime. These strategies help you control your breathing, heart rate, muscle tension and mood. 3.Stimulus control - limiting the time you spend awake in bed and associating your bed and bedroom only with sleep and sex. Let me know if you have a question.

Edited by Dr. Olsen on 12/1/2010 at 7:20 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Primary care doc sent me to Gastric doc for upper GI and found I had an irritated esophagus. Put me on Nexium and gave me instructions to eat smaller portions and stay upright for 3-4 hours after eating and elevate upper body in bed so acid doesn't come up in my throat. Also watch what I eat and avoid too much caffeine, chocolate and spicy or citrus foods that cause excess acid. I am sleeping better and feeling a little better and seems to be helping.

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