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What are the Effects of Mixing Energy Drinks with Alcohol?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Voight
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can impair a drinker’s judgment far more than drinking alcohol alone, causing harmful effects like engaging in risky behaviors and drinking more than if alcohol were consumed alone. Many drinkers believe that mixing energy drinks and alcohol will help counteract the effects of intoxication and lessen the effects of hangovers. Instead, mixing these two beverages can have more harmful effects on the body than consuming either type of beverage alone.

Energy drinks may contain between 50 and 500 milligrams of caffeine per can along with other stimulants, like guarana, taurine, and other herbs that may not be labeled. Alcohol is a depressant. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can have many unintended effects on the body because they each are stimulating parts of the nervous system while depressing other parts, leading to many unintended and dangerous results.

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Some drinkers believe that consuming caffeine with alcohol can lessen the effects of intoxication. In fact, the stimulating effect of the caffeine in energy drinks may make drinkers feel more alert and mask the depressant effects of alcohol. Drinkers may not realize that they are as impaired as they are. As they are more alert, drinkers who mix energy drinks with alcohol may drink more alcohol for longer periods, causing them to be more intoxicated than if they were drinking alcohol alone. They are also more likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol. They may drink until their blood alcohol level reaches dangerous levels because their perceived impairment is not reflecting their actual impairment, risking alcohol poisoning and death.

The presumption that mixing energy drinks with alcohol lessens the effects of hangover is false. Hangovers are headaches and nausea caused by the dehydrating effects of drinking too much alcohol. As drinking alcohol causes dehydration, adding a diuretic like caffeine into the mix makes hangovers more intense.

Several studies have indicated a possible link between energy drink consumption and higher rates of alcohol dependence. The reason for this is unclear and does not necessarily mean that one behavior causes the other. Results like these may indicate that certain personality types are more predisposed to abusing substances in general while not proving a causal link. To some degree, drinkers have been mixing alcohol and caffeine for many years, as in caffeinated soda and liquor combinations. The danger may be the effects of the extremely high amounts of caffeine causing extreme judgment problems that could have dangerous, if not fatal, consequences.

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