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How Anxiety Causes Excessive Thirst

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
How Anxiety Causes Excessive Thirst

Thirst may not seem like something related to your anxiety, but it's something that many anxiety sufferers deal with regularly. There is often this feeling of needing to drink a glass of water or two during and after anxiety attacks, and some people feel as though they need to drink more water each and every day.

Anxiety and thirst have a very complicated relationship. We'll explore this relationship below. 

Drinking Water for Anxiety

It is possible to drink too much water. It's known as water intoxication and it's an incredibly rare phenomenon, usually observed amongst infants and athletes. The estimated amount of water required for water intoxication is about 4 gallons, and generally (although not always) this only occurs when you drink that water too quickly – not when it's spread out over an entire day.

So if you're feeling thirsty, it's probably a good idea to drink some water. There's no reason not to try to quench that thirst unless you've already had too much. 

Excessive Thirst and Anxiety: The Cause

The first question that people ask is: how can anxiety cause excessive thirst? The reality is that there isn't a single cause. There are a whole host of different reasons that anxiety may contribute to a feeling of needing more water. Some of these include:

Drinking Water is Still a Good Idea

Dehydration can both cause anxiety symptoms themselves, and make anxiety symptoms worse when left untreated. As long as you don't overhydrate, there isn't necessarily any harm in drinking water to reduce your symptoms. Some people find the act of drinking cool water to be calming, and many people drink water during anxiety attacks as a way to calm them down even when they don't have any excessive thirst.

Keep a Cool Head

However, you will also need to make sure that you don't try to talk yourself into believing that something is wrong because you need more water. Thinking about how much water you drink can actually make you more thirsty. When your mind is focused on how thirsty you think you'll feel, you're likely to need to drink more water as a result.

Don't forget that all of these issues are caused by anxiety, and so the only true way to treat it is to accept that anxiety causes you to feel this way and commit to curing your underlying anxiety.

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