Energy drinks don’t just help the drinker stay up later, say researchers; they also increase the urge to drink when combined with alcohol. A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that when drinkers combined energy drinks with alcohol, they ended up drinking more than they set out to.
Rebecca McKetin was lead author of the study. She told Reuters: “Obviously, these findings are not going to deter young people from drinking if they want to get drunk, but they need to be mindful that they may be unwittingly putting themselves at a greater risk of accidents and injuries because they end up drinking more than they had intended.”
Increased Risk of Harm
These findings follow on the heels of a 2013 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health that found that alcohol and energy drinks combined were far more dangerous for those drinking than drinking alcohol alone. Based on this and other evidence, US manufacturers were no longer permitted to market and distribute alcoholic beverages that included high amounts of caffeine.
But this regulation hasn’t stopped people from creating their own mixed cocktails, usually combining vodka or Jagermeister with an energy drink mixer. The result is often that the person feels less intoxicated than they are and continues to drink heavily, well beyond the point of safety. They can quickly reach dangerous blood alcohol content levels and/or end up in the emergency room due to a medical emergency or accident.
A Spectrum Disorder
“Alcohol use disorder” is the clinical term used to describe anyone who has a drinking problem. This includes binge drinkers, chronic heavy drinkers, alcoholics, and those who routinely mix alcohol with other substances that amplify the effects of the alcohol.
It’s not always easy to recognize when your own drinking has crossed a dangerous line. You may feel that you drink as much as the next person – or not nearly as much as most people you know. Or you may think that you occasionally overindulge but that you’ve got it together for the most part – or that you’re just having a good time.
Whatever your characterization of your use of alcohol, if it’s routinely putting your health at risk or if you make choices while under the influence that endanger yourself and others, it’s time to look at the opportunities available to you to create positive change in your life. At Alta Mira, we offer a number of different therapeutic options to help you get back on track if your drinking has gotten out of control. Contact us today for more information.