energy drinks and alcohol
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alcohol use disorder

Mixing alcohol with highly-caffeinated energy drinks is a common practice among young adults, especially those who are attending college. The reasons for the practice are varied; some claim that the admixture helps them stay up longer, thus allowing them to drink more. Whereas others simply prefer the taste of Red Bull infused with vodka or Jägermeister. Whatever the reasons, it is widely agreed upon by health experts that drinking alcohol (depressant) and caffeine (stimulant) concurrently is extremely dangerous.

Every weekend, binge drinking occurs at college campuses across the country. A practice typically defined as having 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women, over the course of a 2 hour period. Those who binge drink commonly drink energy drinks with their booze.

Those who engage in binge drinking put themselves at risk of alcohol poisoning and irresponsible decision making. This is a byproduct of seeking to be inebriated as fast as possible. As was mentioned earlier, those who simultaneously consume caffeine and alcohol find they have an added boost of energy counterbalancing the depressive nature of alcohol. People who mix the two drugs together tend to think they are somehow less intoxicated, thus making them more equipped to drive. The reality could not be any more different. Contrary to popular belief, while caffeine may make an intoxicated person more awake, it does not make one any more sober.

It turns out that the energy drinks may do more than allow people to drink longer, the practice may make people want to drink more. New research suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks may increase one’s desire to drink more, caffeine may actually increase the rewarding properties of alcohol, Medical Daily reports. The findings were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

There was another study which linked mixing alcohol and energy drinks to the development of an alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to the article. Researchers from Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center found that adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17 who engaged in the risky practice were four times at greater risk of developing an AUD.