n. A potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside of safe limits by a very rapid intake of water.
Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning or hyperhydration, is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain functions that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside safe limits by overhydration.
Under normal circumstances, accidentally consuming too much water is exceptionally rare. Nearly all deaths related to water intoxication in normal individuals have resulted either from water-drinking contests, in which individuals attempt to consume large amounts of water, or from long bouts of exercise during which excessive amounts of fluid were consumed. In addition, water cure, a method of torture in which the victim is forced to consume excessive amounts of water, can cause water intoxication.
Water, just like any other substance, can be considered a poison when over-consumed in a specific period of time. Water intoxication mostly occurs when water is being consumed in a high quantity without adequate electrolyte intake.
Excess of body water may also be a result of a medical condition or improper treatment; see " hyponatremia" for some examples. Water is considered as one of the least toxic chemical compounds, with an LD of over 90 ml/kg in rats.