When we talk about drinking adequate water for good health, we tend to associate it with sound physical health. A body free of toxins, well-regulated blood pressure, and a smooth functioning heart are some of the most common health-related benefits we hear of with regards to staying well-hydrated.
However, hydration is equally important for mental health. This is because a major portion of our brain is made up of water. Further, water, and the several minerals present in water, play an important role in how our brain processes information and the signals it sends and receives.
Hence, hydration is critical to our overall well-being and mental health whether we are at work, performing a strenuous task, or simply going about enjoying our day. In fact, if you are wondering whether you have experienced dehydration and its impact on your mental health, here are some of the common mental health problems that can be attributed to lack of adequate hydration.
Anxiety and depression
If you have been feeling anxious or depressed on a consistent basis without any plausible cause, you must monitor your hydration levels. Take out time to track which part of the day you tend to experience the same, and if there is any change in your state of mind when you opt for more frequent hydration for days on end.
While there are several reasons why you could be facing anxiety and depression, you must not rule out the possibility of hydration playing a role in this regard. The best way to find out is to maintain a daily tracker – mark the frequency and volume of water consumed as well as score the severity of your anxiety and depression on scale of 1 to 5. At the end of a week or month, you can look for a direct correlation.
According to experts, mild dehydration is often cause for temporary anxiety and depression. However, in case of chronic conditions, it is advised to see a medical professional at the earliest.
Mood swings and irritability
Lack of hydration doesn’t always lead to severe mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. It also impacts an overall sense of calm and well-being that we typically strive to achieve in our hectic, urban lives. Ironically, it is often such busyness that causes us to skip drinking adequate amounts of water, leading to mild dehydration. This in turn, causes our mental health to lose its state of calm, and causes mood swings and irritability.
Perhaps it is why our traditional wisdom reiterates the importance of offering a glass of water when an individual goes through a heated debate or loses their mental calm during an argument. Just as water has a soothing effect on our physical state and body, it works to relax the mind, restoring it to its natural, healthy state.
While studies in this regard are nascent, there are some cues that offer insights into the link between hydration and mental health with regards to chronic conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. While hydration or lack of it is not the only factor that impacts the onset of such condition, it can be an influencing factor.
To be more specific, studies show that brain parts in people who tend to experience dehydration oven extended periods of time get thinner and losing volume. Such degeneration of the brain and specific parts tend to result in chronic conditions.
Hence, in summary, there is a clear link between hydration and sound mental health. Irrespective of whether you experience any symptoms, it is important to always stay well-hydrated. This is because in case of mild dehydration, you may not experience symptoms related to mental or physical health problems. Yet, deep down, your health, including mental health might be getting impacted. However, it may take months and years before you experience the problems associated with lack of adequate hydration and mental health.
Since prevention is cure, it is important that you don’t wait for any symptoms to show before upping your hydration quotient. Irrespective of how busy your days are, take out time for drinking water at regular intervals whether you are at work, home or travelling.
Lastly, it is important to consume, safe, pure, and healthy drinking with essentials salts and minerals. This is because such minerals like zinc, calcium, and manganese are required in certain quantities by the body on a regular basis for smooth functioning of organs, including the brain, and overall well-being. If you are unsure about the mineral content in your drinking water, you could opt for packaged drinking water from brands comes with added minerals in the right quantities for good health.
Disclaimer: No Asian Age journalist was involved in creating this content. The group also takes no responsibility for this content.