Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study

World J Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 20;8(3):88-96. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.88.


Aim: To investigate the relation between plain water drinking and risk of depression and anxiety among a large sample of Iranian adults.

Methods: A total of 3327 Iranian general adults were included in this cross-sectional study. Validated Iranian version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to assess anxiety and depression. Water consumption was assessed by asking about the number of glasses of water that consumed daily. Water consumption was categorized into < 2, 2-5, and ≥ 5 glasses of water/d.

Results: In the crude model, the lowest level of water drinking (< 2 glasses/d) compared with reference group (≥ 5 glasses/d) doubled the risk of depression and anxiety (P < 0.0001). After adjusting potential confounders, this inverse link remained significant for depression (OR: 1.79; 95%CI: 1.32, 2.42; P < 0.0001), but not for anxiety (OR: 1.49; 95%CI: 0.98, 2.25; P = 0.109). In stratified analyses by sex, after controlling for potential confounders, water drinking < 2 glasses/d was associated with 73% and 54% increment in the risk of depression in men and women, respectively (P < 0.05), whilst no significant association was observed for anxiety either in men or in women.

Conclusion: We found inverse associations between plain water consumption and depression. Also, these findings showed a tended risky association, but not statistically significant, between lower levels of water consumption and anxiety. These findings warrant evaluation in prospective and clinical trials studies to establish the plausible role of water in mental health status.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Iranian; Psychological disorders; Water.