Dehydration

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 28, 2021

Without sufficient fluids, the volume of blood decreases, which can cause a decrease in blood pressure and the amount of blood and oxygen that reach the brain. These decreases can cause many anxiety-like symptoms, including:

Mild to moderate dehydration

  • Concentration problems
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Cracked lips
  • Dark urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Depression
  • Dizziness; light headedness
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Dry tongue
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Fatigue
  • Few or no tears
  • Headache
  • Increase in anxiety
  • Increase in tension
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Irritability
  • Involuntary panic attacks
  • Listless
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reduced alertness
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal

Moderate and above dehydration

  • Blood pressure drops when the person tries to stand after lying down (low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness that does not allow the person to stand or walk normally
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy, confusion, or coma
  • Nausea
  • Poor skin elasticity (skin slowly sinks back to its normal position when pinched)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizure
  • Severely decreased urine output or no urine output. The urine, if any, produced is concentrated and a deep yellow or amber color.
  • Shock
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
  • Stomach cramps

Ensuring your body is well hydrated can prevent dehydration and its symptoms.

The body is well hydrated when urine is almost clear. Generally, dark urine indicates the body is dehydrated.

Moreover, you can't gauge your body's hydration level by how thirsty you are. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

It's best to take in fluids as a matter of routine than based on how thirsty you feel. Drinking fluids throughout the day regardless of whether you feel thirsty can prevent dehydration.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Dehydration.

References

Shaheen, Naila, et al. "Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics." BMC Public Heath, 5 Dec. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6282244/

“Dehydration.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Sept. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086.