Hydration research by the National Institute of Health says: “Water, or its lack, can influence cognition. Mild dehydration impacts important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness, and short-term memory.”
That’s all a fancy way of saying, “Drink water and your brain will work better!”
Since discovering the connection between dehydration and ADHD symptoms I’ve been paying attention. I find a direct link between dehydration and my ability to think and focus. It’s huge. Often if my mind starts to wander or I get foggy brain I notice I’m thirsty.
It makes sense. Our brains are like big squishy sponges. What happens when you let a sponge dry out? It doesn’t work very well.
Dehydration and ADHD Medications
Yes, drinking enough water is a natural way to manage ADHD symptoms. Hydration is even more serious for people who take ADHD medications. That’s because ADHD medications are dehydrating. Especially stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin.
One of the common ADHD medication side-effects is dry mouth. Dry mouth is a sign of dehydration. Interesting. The thing that is supposed to help your ADHD can make it worse. Go figure!
How Much Water Do You Need To Drink?
According to ADHD expert Dr. Daniel Amen you need to drink half your weight in ounces a day. That’s a more accurate gauge than the typical ideal of eight glasses.
If you exercise strenuously you need even more water.
If you eat lots of fruits and veggies – foods with water in them – you can drink less. You’re getting hydrated from foods.
Please pay attention to the impact of dehydration on your ADHD symptoms. This is an easy change to make and makes a huge difference in most of the people I work with as an ADHD coach.
In fact, drinking enough water is one of the first things I tackle with my private ADHD coaching clients. When their brain works better they work better.
Take charge of living with ADHD. Notice when your brain isn’t working and drink water. Dehydration and ADHD symptoms have a strong connection.