In general terms, it is recommended to drink between 1 and 2 liters of water per day for the proper functioning of the organism, although this is subject to multiple factors such as: metabolism, the amount of sport performed, the time of the year, the vital stage, the amount of vegetables and fruit ingested …
What happens when you drink more water than necessary? Read on to know what potomania is.
What is potomania?
It is the desire to consume large amounts of liquids, such as water (polydipsia) or alcoholic beverages (dipsomania). This psychological disorder is quite ignored for presenting symptomatic symptoms similar to other eating disorders.
Water addicts drink up to 5 and 8 liters of water a day and they usually drink without thirst. Apparently, compulsive water consumers do not necessarily repeat the behavior based on health, but on the status they acquire as a "healthy person." It is a habit present in societies that suffer from abundance.
There is also beer potomania. It is an uncommon cause of potomania that is characterized by the consumption of large quantities of beer; Usually, more than 15 beers in a relatively short period.
In addition to being a new addiction that affects an important segment of the population, the problem with this behavior is that may affect health.
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The hypothalamus is a brain region that, among other functions, is responsible for maintaining the amount of water necessary for the body. Therefore, it is also responsible for warning of the lack of fluid and emit the thirst signal.
An alteration in the functioning mechanism of the hypothalamus could cause episodes of potomania (neurological potomania). Experts agree that this is quite strange, so they associate the disorder with a psychiatric imbalance.
The factors that can trigger the onset of this disorder are:
- Emotional disorders, such as anxiety disorders, personality disorder, delusional symptoms and hysterical symptoms.
- Alterations in the functioning of the hypothalamus, since, as we have said, the hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for the perception of thirst.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Organic disorders or hormonal pathologies, such as diabetes insipidus, one of whose symptoms is precisely polydipsia or excess thirst.
The human body tries to keep the volume of water constant and the concentration of electrolytes necessary for the functioning of all organs.
Excess water causes the body that essential minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium, dilute faster than usual. This causes cramps, fatigue and slowness in the execution of simple cognitive tasks.
If the water intake continues to increase, it is likely to observe massive loss of potassium which will trigger, mainly, in cardiac difficulties.
On the other hand, the kidneys are also organs affected by excessive fluid intake. Taken to the limit, they can cause hyponatremia, characterized by the decrease in sodium levels in the blood, which can cause seizures.
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In the first moment, Diuretics can be administered to the patient. These serve to increase the excretion of fluid by the kidneys, which contributes to increasing the level of sodium and alleviating the symptoms.
However, to eradicate the problem, the treatment must be different depending on the cause that caused it. It usually starts with restrict fluid intake to no more than a liter and a half daily.
In the event that it occurs due to mental illness, the treatment must be psychotherapy, accompanied, in some cases, by psychotropic medication.
If the disorder appears as a consequence of the use of drugs, these should be replaced by other medications that do not cause this side effect.
Therefore, if you feel a strong desire to drink, and especially if you are not motivated by thirst, heat or physical activity, you should check with your doctor to find the source of the problem and prevent it from going further.