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Drinking behavior

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Drinking is an act of ingestion, the fluid intake through the mouth. Water, for example, is required for many of life's physiological processes, and excess or decreased water intake is associated with health problems.

Physiology

A daily water intake of 3-6 liters is required for the normal physiological functioning of the human body, depending on ambient weather conditions and diet (especially salt intake). The absolute minimum over the long term is about 1.6 liters (600 ml for urine, 200 ml for fecal losses, and 800 ml for losses via the skin and lungs). This includes water contained in food (i.e., it is not essential to drink 1-2 liters of water a day for survival, though it is often recommended for good health).

The sensation caused by dehydration of the body is called "thirst". The sensation of thirst is a dry feeling in the back of the throat and an intense desire to drink fluids. Thirst is regulated by the hypothalamus in response to subtle changes in the body's electrolyte levels, and also as a result of changes in the volume of blood circulating.

Role in disease

Polydipsia is the medical term for consumption of large quantities of water and may be a sign of various diseases (Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Insipidus, and some psychiatric conditions).

Much of the world's disease is caused by the lack of clean drinking water. Lack of water in the diet will eventually cause death by hypernatremia and dehydration, particularly when sweating consumes much of the body water.

It is also possible to overhydrate, which sometimes happens with athletes who consume too much water, thereby diluting the concentration of salts in the body.

Alcohol

"Drinking" may also refer specifically to the ingestion of alcohol, depending on the context in which the term is used. alcohol drinking patterns vary between individuals and cultures. Driving under the influence is a danger if we have been drinking too much.

See also

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