Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Energy Drinks

In a survey sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), energy drinks were first introduced in 1997. There were more than 500 new energy drinks launched worldwide in 2006, causing the energy drink market to become a $5.7 billion industry.

Most individuals consume energy drinks without any awareness of the impact the ingredients can have on their body. Because many energy drinks contain vitamins and herbs, there is a false perception that drinking energy drinks is safe.

Contents of Energy Drinks

The purpose of an energy drink is to give the consumer a boost of energy. To achieve this, most energy drinks are a combination of the following stimulants:

  • Caffeine (80 to 141 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces)
  • Herbal extracts such as guarana, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba
  • B vitamins
  • Amino acids such as taurine
  • Amino acid derivatives such as carnitine
  • Sugar derivatives, including glucuronolactone and ribose

Reasons People Drink Energy Drinks

In the study sponsored by NIH, there were many reasons people consumed energy drinks, including the following:

  • To combat insufficient sleep
  • To increase energy (in general)
  • To have extra energy while studying
  • To support driving long periods of time
  • To counterbalance the effects of drinking while partying
  • To treat hangovers

Effects of Energy Drinks

While consumers of energy drinks acknowledge that these drinks provide the boost of energy they seek, there are some effects that they may not be aware of, such as:

  • The potential to become addicted to the ingredients in the drink
  • Little information about who should avoid using energy drinks because of medical conditions
  • Some of the ingredients used in these drinks, which can affect your heartbeat and blood pressure
  • No guidance about how much of the energy drink to consume based on your age or weight
  • High levels of caffeine, known to dehydrate the body

Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Energy Drinks

One of the primary reasons energy drinks and alcohol do not mix is because an energy drink is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. Therefore, it is common for an individual who has been drinking not to feel the full effects of the alcohol if they have also consumed an energy drink. Being unaware of your physical state while intoxicated can lead to poor decisions that can put you at risk.
In addition, drinking alcohol while consuming a stimulant such as an energy drink can cause the following:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Paranoid or psychotic reactions
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Headaches
  • Weakened kidneys
  • Intense hangovers

Learn More about the Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Awareness, information and education are tools that you need to ensure that a person does not become addicted to a particular substance. If you need assistance in getting started in finding the information you need to educate yourself or someone you love, call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addiction treatment. We are here to help.