Can Dehydration Cause Anxiety? Boost Your Mood With Water

Updated: Jul 6

Are you wondering, “Can dehydration cause anxiety?” Learn about the correlation and how to boost your mood with water.

Woman holding a glass of water to hydrate herself.

Can Dehydration Cause Anxiety? How to Boost Your Mood With Water

The body is made up of 60% water in adults (75% in children), so it stands to reason that not consuming sufficient water can negatively impact mental health and physical health. Research shows there is a potential correlation between having low water intake and a higher risk of anxiety and depression. |*| Below, you’ll find symptoms that can signify dehydration as well as ways to incorporate more water into your daily routine.


*Make sure you drink enough water by using this beautiful, simple water tracker!


Dehydration and Anxiety


Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of water consumption on the human body. Their results showed that drinking higher quantities of water had a positive impact on anxiety disorders and depression.


For example, a 2018 study asked adults about their mood and how they felt after drinking plain water. Those who drank two cups of water or less daily had a significantly higher risk of depression than those who drank over five cups per day. |*|


Even just mild dehydration can cause a noticeable difference in mood. According to this study, healthy young women who had a 1% decrease in water showed symptoms of problems with concentration, headaches, and fatigue. |*|


Image of Brita's Longlast water purifier.

*The Brita Longlast is considered to be one of the best overall water filter pitchers by Good Housekeeping Magazine.


Mental Symptoms of Dehydration


Dehydration rarely occurs without presenting symptoms, even with mild dehydration. The list below can help you identify if you’re potentially dehydrated. You can use the list below to increase water intake during the day and ultimately help your body and mind function properly.


According to the Mayo Clinic |*|, the following mental symptoms can occur due to dehydration:

· Headaches

· Fatigue/tiredness

· Confusion

· Delirium

· Dizziness

· Feeling light-headed

· Mental health issues (like anxiety and depression)

· Feeling ill-tempered/having a short fuse


As a note, these symptoms are not always caused by dehydration and should be monitored as they may have a different underlying cause. As always, it’s important to work with your doctor to ensure you have the correct diagnosis. However, it does not hurt to drink a glass or two of water to see if it helps decrease the above symptoms.


Woman sitting in a chair and drinking water from a Hydroflask water bottle.

*You can grab a Hydro Flask from Proozy, an online outlet store for fitness and outdoor gear. Their prices are amazing!


The Mind-Body Connection


While dehydration can directly impact mood, it’s also necessary to consider how it takes a toll on the mind-body connection. Mind-body connection relates to how the body and mind react to each other. |*| For example, when you’re in a state of stress, your heart rate increases.


When you don't consume enough water, it can negatively impact your cognitive abilities in the areas of memory, critical thinking, and attention. Studies have shown that these effects are seen in both mild and chronic dehydration. |*|


There is a connection between cognitive abilities and mental health, with better cognitive abilities typically signifying better mental health and fewer anxiety symptoms. There is also a potential increase in the correlation between mental health, physical health, and cognitive abilities as you get older. |*|


To put it simply, when dehydration occurs your mental health can decline relatively quickly.


Related: 25 Journal Prompts for Self-Love: How Journaling and Affirmations Can Boost Your Confidence


Your Brain and Water


Since brain tissue is made of 75% water |*|, it’s necessary to consume the proper amount of water to keep your brain functioning correctly. While the brain does not absorb water directly, drinking water does increase blood flow which helps transport oxygen to the brain. |*|


A properly functioning brain equates to better mental health. Studies show a correlation between dehydration and increased cortisol, the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to additional health issues.


Related: 8 Simple Ways To Prioritize Self-Care at Work

Image of the Connect Smart Water Filter demonstrating how the water filter connects to your smart phone.

*The Connect Smart Water Filter is considered to be one of the best countertop water filters on the market. Purification at your fingertips!


How to Boost Your Mood With Water


The quickest solution to being dehydrated is increasing your water intake. You can also consume various fruits and vegetables with a high water content to help increase hydration. According to WebMD, about 20% of daily water intake is through hydrating foods. |*|


Examples of hydrating foods include watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches. While consuming produce alone is not sufficient to prevent dehydration, it is a great way to supplement your daily water intake.


Simply drinking water can help calm individuals, as water has natural calming properties. This is likely due to a decrease in symptoms associated with dehydration. |*|


How Much Water Do We Need?


According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the United States, the recommended water intake is:

  • 125 oz. for men

  • 91 oz. for women

Food provides roughly 20% of your daily water requirements. This indicates that women require approximately 73 ounces of water, while men require approximately 100 ounces.


Best Water Filters for Clean, Crisp Drinking Water [*]:


Best Overall Water Filter Pitcher: Brita Longlast Everyday Water Filter Pitcher
Best Easy-Pour Water Filter Pitcher: Soma 10-cup Water Filter Pitcher
Best Countertop Water Filter: Connect Smart Countertop Water Purifier
Best Basic Water Filter Pitcher: Glass Slim Pitcher
Best Glass Water Filter Pitcher: 7-Cup Glass Water Filter Pitcher

Below, you’ll find additional ways to remind yourself to drink more water.


Understanding How Dehydration Affects You


Sometimes, simply understanding the negative impact that insufficient water intake has on your mental and physical health is enough to motivate you to increase your water intake. Focusing on the positive effects of a hydrated body can help instill better water drinking habits into your routine.


Related: Top Benefits of Drinking Water for Skin, Metabolism, and Digestion


Using a Tracking Water Bottle


Consider purchasing a water bottle that includes the amount of water you're drinking on the side to help you track your water intake. Using a water bottle like this helps you be more mindful of your water consumption. You can also purchase a smart water bottle that connects to your phone and provides hydration insight if you have a higher budget.


Best Smart Water Bottles to Improve Your Hydration [*]:


Best Overall Smart Water Bottle: STEEL Smart Water Bottle
Best Manual Smart Water Bottle: Dot Hydration-Tracking Water Bottle
Best Smart Water Bottle for Temperature Tracking: Thermos Hydration Bottle with Connected Smart Lid
Best Reminder Smart Water Bottle: 3-in-1 Insulated Smart Water Bottle

Flavoring Your Water


Perhaps you’re not consuming as much water as you should because you don’t enjoy the flavor. By adding a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange into your water, you’ll have a more flavorful option. You can even add fresh herbs for a more refreshing flavor, like mint sprigs.


*Add Vital Protein Collagen Peptides to your water to help support and hydrate healthy skin, nails, and hair!


Final Thoughts on "Can Dehydration Cause Anxiety?"


Ultimately, the connection between drinking enough water daily and anxiety or other mental health issues has been shown in multiple studies. Using the above tips to increase your water intake should help you feel better mentally and physically.


If it's not within your budget to purchase a tracking water bottle, you can also use a Water Intake Tracker Diary to track your water manually. Tracking your water via this method will help ensure you are drinking the correct amount of fluids, leading to a healthier lifestyle.


Did you know that Dr. Dawn's Wellness Tools was featured as one of Feedspot's Top 100 Women's Health Blogs?


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