Energy Drinks: Risks and Dangers of Excessive Caffeine Consumption

Back in 2007, multi-award winning musician Robbie Williams was admitted to a rehabilitation center for treatment of caffeine addiction. Apparently, he was doing something like 36 double espressos and 20 Red Bull cans per day (Gordon, 2007).

Ever since Red Bull hit the market in 1997, the energy drink business has exploded into a multibillion-dollar industry. An aggressive marketing campaign has seen energy drinks become one of the most popular performance-boosting supplements in the market.

Despite their perceived benefits, energy drinks have been associated with a number of health issues. Energy drinks often contain high levels of caffeine, for instance, 80 mg in Monster energy drink. 500 mg of caffeine is considered an overdose, so, if you were to take about 6 cans of Monster, you would be putting your health at great risk.

Caffeine overdose has been associated with heart palpitations, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and even death. Energy drinks have also been known to cause type 2 diabetes, poor dental health, obesity, cardiovascular and neurological defects in juveniles, miscarriages, stillbirths, and low birth weights. These issues often develop quicker in people who consume higher amounts of most energy drinks.

Combining Alcohol and Energy Drinks

A new trend has seen energy drinks being mixed with alcohol, which heightens health risks many times over. Energy drinks that have been mixed with alcohol, sometimes abbreviated to AMED, is popular among teenagers and college students. A study conducted by researchers in 2007 found that about half of college students had tried at least one form of the combo (Malinauskas et al., 2007).

Apart from manually mixed AMEDs, there are a number of premixed varieties that pose great risks to the health and safety of consumers. For instance, Four Loko, an alcoholic drink, was forced by the FDA to remove caffeine from its formula after several hospitalizations and deaths were linked to its use. In 2010, the FDA eventually ordered all manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages to remove caffeine and related stimulants from their drinks (FDA, 2010).

The risks associated such potent combinations can be dangerous and life-threatening. When taken together, caffeine masks the antidepressant qualities of alcohol in the system, which makes the individual feel much less drunk when compared to the amount of alcohol in the body.

As such, the user becomes thrice as likley to drink excessively, twice more likely to be sexually molested (and the other way around), and twice as likely to be involved in a DUI (O’Brien et al., 2008)

Quitting AMEDs

Energy drinks, like other many other drinks containing caffeine, can cause dependence when abused. The problem is further complicated by alcohol abuse, which can as well cause addiction and dependence. Don’t fret, however, if you are looking to quit and lead a clean life. With the right mindset and resources, you can break the habit and lead a normal, drug-free life.

The best way to quit is to go through a slow taper as opposed to going cold turkey. This will enable you to completely wean your body off of caffeine and alcohol without the nasty withdrawals.

Withdrawal aids can also come in handy during a drug or alcohol detox. Caffeine Support is one such aid that is commonly used for a caffeine detox. It contains a rich mix of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that may help caffeine withdrawals. Such aids, combined with healthy diets, plenty of rest, exercises, and more.

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