The practice of mixing energy drinks with alcohol has become a popular trend, especially at…
The Dangers of Alcohol and Energy Drinks
It is no secret that heavy and repeated consumption of alcohol can lead to addiction. In general, the more a person drinks the more tenacious and resistant to treatment their addiction will be, meaning they’ll experience stronger alcoholism withdrawal symptoms if and when they decide to quit.
These days, many young people have gotten into the habit of mixing alcohol with energy drinks, and by doing so, they’re putting themselves on the fast track to chemical dependency. Studies have found that those who consume energy drinks together with alcohol tend to drink far more than their peers, which leaves them more vulnerable to alcohol use disorders.
Why Energy Drinks and Alcohol Don’t Mix
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and once a person has consumed a certain amount, their body will begin to shut down. This explains the association of drunkenness with excessive drowsiness, overwhelming fatigue and drastically slower reaction times, all of which can put them in danger of an accident or collapse if they don’t find a place to “sleep it off.”
But energy drinks cut this process off in its tracks. These turbo-charged caffeine and sugar concoctions stimulate production of the very same neurochemicals that are suppressed by alcohol, creating an awake and alert state that cancels out the usual alcohol-related sleepiness. Even after heavy alcohol consumption, the energy-drink enthusiast is filled with pep, remaining wide awake and active despite being well past the point of intoxication.
The body’s actual tolerance for alcohol has not changed, however, which leaves those who mix significant quantities of alcohol with energy drinks at high risk for alcohol poisoning. Alcohol overconsumption is hazardous and addictive in any circumstance, but when combined with energy drinks, the danger accelerates like a racing car on the home stretch at the Indianapolis 500.
Energy Drink and Caffeine Addiction
Energy drinks themselves aren’t addictive. But they do contain prodigious amounts of caffeine, and those who are used to consuming caffeine regularly are prone to withdrawal symptoms entirely consistent with addiction, including chronic fatigue, mood disturbances, poor memory and concentration, headaches and cravings.
If such symptoms are experienced simultaneously with alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, they can complicate the detox process and make its earliest stages even more difficult to handle. Medical professionals administering detox services will have to account for the effects of caffeine withdrawal in addition to alcohol withdrawal, the combination of which may stretch the recovering alcoholic’s willpower and determination to change to the breaking point.
Raising Awareness About the Hazards of Energy Drinks
Alcoholism is a stealth condition that catches its victims by surprise, and few people can recognize their alcohol dependency until after it has done enormous damage to their lives and relationships.
Energy drinks may seem relatively harmless, but they can increase the likelihood of a drinking problem developing when they are recklessly mixed with alcohol. The consequences of using energy drinks and alcohol in combination can be severe and perhaps even lethal, and that is a possibility that every energy drink consumer should take seriously.
The Alcoholism Guide: Energy Drinks and Alcohol
Drinkaware: Alcohol and Energy Drinks
University Health News Daily: The Disturbing Dangers of Energy Drinks and Energy Drink Addiction