Published July 23, 2023 by


Depression and Dehydration. 

When we talk about depression, the first thought is the recommendation of professional psychologists and psychiatrists. However, what leads a person to the depression stage are several factors, including food, physical exercise and of course mental health. To maintain the balance that is so talked about these days, you need to look carefully at yourself as a whole. Therefore, depression and hydration are related.

What is the relationship between Depression and Dehydration

Every system in the human body relies on water to function, and the brain is no exception. In fact, about 75% of brain tissue is water. Because your brain's activity essentially determines your mental health, research has connected dehydration to despair and anxiety

Long story short, dehydration causes the brain to slow down and not work properly. It's important to think of water as a nutrient that your brain needs.

Dehydration and depression are linked in several ways. And in fact, one of the symptoms of chronic dehydration can be depression . 

As depression is a multifaceted condition with multiple causes, involving multiple parts of the body, it would be an exaggeration to say that all depression is affected by dehydration. 

However, in many cases, dehydration can be a contributing factor worth considering. I say this because depression is often linked to insufficient levels of serotonin. That is, an important neurotransmitter that largely determines mood. 

The amino acid tryptophan is converted into serotonin in your brain. And for that to happen, an adequate amount of water is needed for tryptophan to be transported across the blood-brain barrier. 

Dehydration therefore limits the amount of tryptophan available to the brain and therefore serotonin levels. 

In addition to the negative effect of dehydration on tryptophan, it can also negatively affect other amino acids in the body, contributing to feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, anxiety, irritability. 

Also, depression and hydration are related in other ways! 

Dehydration increases stress on your body 

Stress can lead to dehydration, while dehydration can lead to stress. Your adrenal glands produce more cortisol, the stress hormone, when you are under stress. They can become worn out when under constant tension. 

The hormone aldosterone, which aids in controlling your body's fluid and electrolyte balances, is furthermore produced by your adrenal glands. Dehydration and low electrolytes are brought on by a reduction in aldosterone production as adrenal exhaustion worsens.

Therefore, drinking plenty of water can help minimize the negative physiological and psychological effects of stress.

So how much water should you drink? 

While drinking water doesn't miraculously cure all types of depression, it can be a missing link for many people who are chronically dehydrated. Common wisdom is that an adult should drink about two liters of water a day. 

However, the ideal daily requirement for water depends on many factors, including weight, gender, stress level, illnesses and other health conditions, weather, and how much and how intensely you exercise. Some of the cases in which water intake should be increased include:

• Prolonged or intense exercise

• Hot or humid weather

• Illnesses with fever, vomiting or diarrhea

• Chronic health conditions

• Pregnant or breastfeeding women

• Dietists

By observing the colour of your urine, you can determine your level of hydration. Urine would be a very light yellow in individuals who are adequately hydrated. Dark yellow or brown colored urine indicates dehydration. 

Adequate hydration is particularly important for high-risk groups such as the elderly, people with diabetes and children. It is important to note that drinking other liquids such as juices, coffee, tea, soda or alcohol is not a substitute for water. 

Water is water and is irreplaceable in the body. In fact, all these liquids can actually contribute to the condition of dehydration in the body. You get some water from food, especially fruits and vegetables. But even with a plentiful diet, food typically makes up only 20% of total fluid intake.

Dehydration and anxiety

Like depression, dehydration rarely causes anxiety by itself. But not drinking adequate water puts you at risk for increased anxiety symptoms now, and possibly developing higher levels of anxiety in the future. 

In brief, dehydration leads to stress, which in turn leads to depression and anxiety in your body. Therefore, you want to ensure adequate hydration on a daily basis, especially if you are naturally prone to anxiety. 

Water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely as a result of treating the effects of dehydration on the body and brain. Because of this, drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Even if you're not experiencing anxiety, drinking enough water can create feelings of relaxation. 

And remembering that if you feel symptoms of depression, seek help! My suggestion to improve your emotional health is to start by understanding anxiety.