If you have been on social media and searched within the self-care circles, you have most likely seen the posts about drinking water. These often include people reminding others to drink water and stating that they may be feeling depressed or anxious because they are dehydrated. However, is there any truth to these claims? Does everyone know that drinking water is good for you and your overall health, but is there a link to improving mental health? By taking a look at what the scientific evidence says, you can find a better understanding between water and mental health. Either way, though, you should definitely be drinking water!
BENEFITS OF WATER FOR THE PHYSICAL BODY
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined the importance of water as an initiative to get more individuals to consume the beverage. It states that water is necessary to drink daily for your health as it can help to prevent dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid. It appears when you are losing more fluids than you are taking in, meaning your body does not have enough to function correctly. Dehydration can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including dry mouth, urinating less frequently, dry skin, dizziness, fatigue, increased feelings of thirst, and dark-colored urine. Life-threatening symptoms can also occur, such as fainting, confusion, rapid heartbeat, shock, and lack of urination.
Drinking water can help you avoid these symptoms and also have benefits for your body as well. The more water you drink, the more likely you are to have these beneficial effects. Benefits of drinking water include:
- Stable blood pressure
- Better digestion
- Constipation prevention
- Body temperature regulation
- Joint cushioning
- Stable heartbeat
- Flushing of bacteria from the bladder
- Organ and tissue protections
- Carrying of nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Electrolyte balance
DEHYDRATION AND MENTAL HEALTH
Dehydration can have significant negative impacts on your body. Because the human body needs water to function correctly, it is crucial to stay hydrated. However, dehydration can be known to affect not just physical health but mental health as well. It can affect mental health because of how it impacts the brain. Your brain is made up of 73% water, so you can imagine what happens when it becomes dehydrated. Systems begin to slow down, and they can no longer function properly.
When this happens, it can cause symptoms of depression as your brain no longer has the proper energy to function correctly. Depression can also cause a lack of energy, which means you may begin to struggle with symptoms related to it. Your body will also experience increased stress, which can contribute not only to depression but also anxiety. If your symptoms are not managed in a healthy manner, you can potentially have a panic attack as a result of the anxiety symptoms. While dehydration alone cannot cause these symptoms, its accumulation over time is directly linked to not drinking enough water.
DOES WATER ACTUALLY IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH?
Widespread self-care and social media posts would have you believe that drinking water directly relates to your mental health. While there is a connection, it is much more complicated than this. In fact, it is dehydration that can affect your mental health in the most significant ways, so it is essential to drink water to avoid reaching this point. Your brain will thank you for providing it with enough water to properly perform its functions, which will, in turn, help stabilize your mental health. Studies have shown that there is a beneficial relationship between drinking water and mental health disorders, but this doesn’t mean that drinking water will magically cure your mental health. You should drink the right amount of water per day to keep your body happy and functioning properly to give yourself the best chance at staying healthy.
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I DRINK PER DAY?
Everyone requires a different amount of water to drink per day to keep them healthy depending on their general health, exercise levels, and health background. However, the four to six-cup rule is an excellent general rule to go off of. Drinking this amount of water will keep you hydrated and help you avoid ingesting too much water, leading to other health problems. It is important to note that if you are currently taking medications that help you retain water, such as some antidepressants, it is best to check with your doctor to see how much you should drink a day. Doing this will help you avoid dehydration and keep you in tip-top shape.
Many people believe that there is a direct correlation between drinking water and improving your mental health. While there is some truth to this, it can be beneficial to know the real science behind the claim. Water is not a magical substance that will cure your depression or anxiety, but rather it helps your body avoid dehydration, enabling it to continue functioning correctly. Avoiding dehydration will help stabilize your mental health over time. This means that while drinking water doesn’t necessarily improve mental health, it does keep it from getting worse. At Aramentalhealth.org, we promote a healthy diet and lifestyle in each of our patient’s treatment programs to ensure they can maintain it outside of rehab. Taking care of your body is crucial for your mental health, and our programs can help you find activities you like to keep you active. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.