Drinks that dehydrate you
When you are going through depression you have to be careful about what you drink. Depression is linked to dehydration.
Regular tea and coffee are diuretics, which cause you to lose essential fluids. During times of depression you need to remain hydrated. Although the taste of a good cup of tea or coffee is nice, it is important for your recovery that you wean yourself off them, as best you can. You will need to do this gradually. I tend to guide my clients through this process. If it is done too quickly you will get symptoms of headaches, irritability, lethargy, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Be warned, coffee is a stimulant which causes the heart to race. This should really be avoided at all costs if you are trying to place yourself in a relaxed mood.
Does decaffeinated coffee have the same effect as caffeinated? Decaffeinated coffee is made from coffee beans and is washed in solvents to remove 97% of the caffeine content prior to roasting. Decaffeinated coffee is therefore not caffeine-free. It contains about 3mg -7mg per cup, in comparison to regular coffee which contains 70mg - 140 mg of caffeine per cup, depending on the coffee type. I often recommend herbal teas as an alternative to regular tea and coffee. There are so many varieties these days, it would not be difficult to find one that is to your taste.
Alcohol consumption is not recommended for people suffering with depression, because it affects the chemistry in the brain. This exacerbates the illness and heightens feelings of anxiety. Under normal circumstances alcohol can make you feel relaxed, which can make socialising and talking to people a little easier. The downside is that it can make you feel agitated, and if you are not careful about how much you consume you may find you feel increasingly nervous and wake up with shaky hands. It also affects your ability to make decisions and before you know it, it starts to affect your personal and professional life. The long-term effects of alcohol consumption are memory loss, hearing voices (when there is nobody there) and physical damage to your vital organs, in particular the brain and the liver. If it is the taste you crave, try some of the non-alcoholic alternatives. Some have a very small percentage of alcohol in them, and these are a great way to wean yourself off the real thing. When depressed, alcohol free or being teetotal is best.
So how much water should you be drinking?
An adequate amount of water is needed to transport chemicals (like amino acids) around the body and to your brain. It is said that when dehydrated the energy in the brain is decreased.
Water affects every cell and system in our bodies. Many chronic pains can be caused or made worse by dehydration. Without sufficient water, we lose a great deal of flexibility, as our joints become stiff and tight. Likewise, when you are chronically dehydrated, the body reduces histamines in an attempt to retain whatever water it has, which can lead to increased inflammation (a major cause of pain and discomfort).
Dehydration can also lead to a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms, including dizziness, blurred vision, hearing loss, weakness, fatigue and slowed metabolism. The good news? There is an easy fix! Aim to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day. To make sure you are getting enough water, try getting a large water bottle that has ounces marked on the side, then you can simplify record your intake each day. For example, if you have a 32 oz water bottle, it is easy to remember that you need to drink two bottles full, per day, to meet your minimum.
Bonus tip, room temperature or warm water is more easily absorbed by your body and helps keep your core temperature up, increasing the beneficial effects. For a little extra flavour, add a slice of lemon.