Alcohol and energy drinks
Don’t get your kicks from this mix!

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Why is it so dangerous to drink too much of an energy drink/ alcohol mix?

Young people tend to take more risks and behave more dangerously than adults. Under the influence of alcohol, they can feel all-powerful and invulnerable, which makes them even more likely to engage in riskier behaviour. And that sense of power and invulnerability can be further exaggerated when alcohol is combined with energy drinks.

A variety of studies have found that, given young people’s predilection for risk-taking, they are more likely to:

  • be involved in road accidents;
  • engage in unprotected, unplanned and or unwanted sex;
  • behave violently or suffer from the violence of others;
  • attempt suicide.

The mix is treacherous because the intoxication is so insidious

The treacherous part of the alcohol-energy drink mix is that people don’t feel as drunk as they really are. They are, in fact, unquestionably drunk and their faculties are impaired, but they don’t realize it.

  • Treacherous because it causes false perceptions
    Compared to someone drinking alcohol only, a person drinking an alcohol-energy drink mix is less likely to notice:
    • headaches
    • weakness
    • dry mouth
    • impaired motor coordination.
  • Treacherous because the mix gives you bad information
    A person drinking energy drinks with alcohol will have the same blood alcohol content as a person drinking the same amount of alcohol by itself. When the two are observed side by side, both people demonstrate the same trouble with motor coordination and visual reaction speed.
  • Treacherous because the combination inhibits self-regulation
    Because the mix drinkers don’t feel the effects of the alcohol, the self-regulating mechanisms associated with being drunk fail to function.
  • Treacherous because the combination doubles some of the risks
    One study of American college students found that, compared to students who drank alcohol by itself, those who drank it in combination with an energy drink were twice as likely to:
    • hurt themselves or be injured;
    • require medical attention;
    • get into a vehicle with a drunk driver;
    • assault someone sexually;
    • be sexually abused.

Is it true that the combination can lead drinking too much alcohol?

Another unpleasant effect: killer “morning after” symptoms

One final warning
While energy drinks may mask the symptoms of inebriation and quench your thirst, when you combine them with alcohol you can expect to feel even worse the next day than someone who drank straight alcohol.

Also, the more alcohol you drink, the thirstier you feel. Why is that?

Because caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, meaning they prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing water and increase its elimination. That causes a chain reaction. The real risk is in continuing to drink alcohol instead of water. That just dehydrates you further and makes you thirstier. It’s hard to get off the merry-go-round!

“Morning after” symptoms – headache, general malaise, extreme fatigue – are all related to dehydration. And everything gets worse when it’s hot.

When you’re at a party or dancing and the temperature is up there, drinking alcohol with energy drinks increases dehydration.

Which gives you a morning after you could really do without.

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