Depression, stress, and anxiety are some of the major issues faced by people in India, irrespective of their age group. Though these are very different conditions, many people may face a combination of all three conditions. According to a report by WHO, more than 5 crore people in India suffer from depression, which is alarmingly high. While acute depression needs medical help, making some changes in lifestyle can help in avoiding the situation. Many people are unaware of the fact that there is a direct relationship between depression and dehydration. In fact, dehydration is one of the symptoms of depression. In this blog, we discuss in detail the relation between depression and dehydration. Read on.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Some of the common symptoms of depression are:
- Lack of energy
- Untimely tiredness
- Craving for sugar
- Feeling down
Also Read: 5 Common Health Problems that you may face because of Dehydration
Dehydration and Depression- Where is the Link?
A common question that people have is how can dehydration lead to depression, stress, anxiety, or a combination of all three? Here is some important fact that you need to know. 85% of your brain tissues are made up of water. As a result, when don’t drink enough pure water with the essential minerals, you will fall sick. Dehydration also reduces serotonin production, which is one of the main reasons for depression. When calculating the amount of water that you drink, avoid including tea, coffee, sodas, or juices that you drink. Surprisingly, these drinks lead to acute dehydration. Even 2% dehydration leads to degraded mood, lower concentration, or headaches.
Effect of Dehydration on Serotonin Level
One of the main reasons for depression is decreased serotonin levels, which is an important neurotransmitter. Serotonin also plays an important role in determining your mood. Tryptophan is an amino acid converted to serotonin. Your body needs to have sufficient water to transmit tryptophan across your brain. When you are dehydrated, the amount of tryptophan in your brain is limited, which ultimately affects the serotonin level. Apart from tryptophan, dehydration also has a negative impact on the level of amino acids in your body. Depletion of essential amino acid levels makes you feel dejected, anxious, irritable, and inadequate.
Effect of Dehydration on Stress Levels
Stress, which can be triggered by dehydration, is another biggest factor that leads to depression. If you are dehydrated, your cortisol levels drastically increase. When you are stressed, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol. Under too much stress, the adrenal glands become exhausted. Adrenal glands also produce aldosterone, which plays an important role in regulating the fluids in your body and electrolyte levels. When your adrenal glands become exhausted due to stress, aldosterone production decreases leading to dehydration. Drinking enough water can minimize the chances of stress.
Effect of Dehydration on your Brain Energy
Dehydration can also reduce the production of energy in your brain. When you are dehydrated, the energy generation in the brain decreases. Many functions of your body depend on the energy produced by your brain. The absence of energy causes the functions that depend on the energy produced by the brain to become inefficient.
Dehydration and Panic Attacks
Anxiety caused by dehydration also results in panic attacks. Dehydration is one of the main triggers of a panic attack. When you are dehydrated, if you suffer from panic attacks, you easily start panicking. In addition, you may also experience the following symptoms of a panic attack:
- Increased heart rate
- Feeling lightheaded
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
Staying hydrated may not stop panic attacks; however, these may become less frequent or diminish with time.
Signs of Dehydration
If you notice any of the symptoms, you are dehydrated:
- Increased hunger: The same part of your brain signals hunger and thirst. If you feel hungry even after eating enough, it’s a sign of dehydration.
- Dryness: Itchy, dry skin, dry mouth, and chapped lips are all signs of dehydration
- Headache: Lack of water leads to a shortage of oxygen supply to the brain, thereby leading to headaches.
- Fatigue and Muscle Cramps: Muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping are also signs of dehydration
How Much Water is Sufficient?
The ideal amount of water that you need to drink depends on your weight, age, gender, stress level, exercise regime, and other health conditions. You need to increase your water intake in the following circumstances:
- Prolonged exercise
- Extreme temperature
- Illness such as fever, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Chronic health conditions
You can monitor your hydration level by monitoring the color of your urine. However, ensure that you avoid contaminated water which can do more harm than good. The presence of lead in water may damage your nervous system and prolonged exposure can lead to depression. Installing an RO water purifier is one of the best ways to ensure that you get safe and lead-free drinking water. In addition to the RO purifiers, you can also check the other range of purifiers available with KENT. To find out more about the different range of KENT water purifiers, click here.