Polydipsia is the medical term for excessive thirst and drinking. It comes from the Greek word pludipsios, which means "very thirsty." Most people drink a glass of water or other beverage when they feel thirsty, and this relieves the sensation. People affected by polydipsia feel thirsty no matter how much they drink.
It may seem strange that drinking too much water is a problem. Medical advice usually stresses the importance of drinking water. Water is essential for life but, in excess, it can cause serious health problems and even death in rare instances.
Polydipsia may be a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes mellitus or indicate poorly managed diabetes, as high blood sugar can cause excessive thirst. Hemorrhage, or loss of blood, and electrolyte imbalances can also cause this symptom. Psychiatric disorders and many antipsychotic medications also have polydipsia as a side effect, as does excessive salt intake, steroids, and vitamin K. Polydipsia is also a symptom of anticholinergic poisoning. Anticholinergics include allergy medications, sleep aids, cold medicine, and some antidepressants, recreational drugs, and heart medications.
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