To be able to party all night, a new trend in alcoholic beverages has emerged and is growing in popularity, especially among the youth. To try and avoid the inevitable sleepiness that comes with heavy drinking, many people have started mixing energy drinks with alcohol. Although it may have its perceived benefits, as a substance abuse treatment center in Massachusetts, we know that the costs do outweigh the benefits.
A 2017 survey found that as much as 31% of people aged 19 to 28 in the United States had mixed alcohol and energy drinks in the last year.1 The combination has resulted in new flavors and drinks that have quickly become party favorites. Although these caffeinated cocktails have now become commonplace at the bars, what many do not know is that the effects of mixing energy drinks with alcohol are not so harmless.
Mixing alcohol and energy drinks may seem like a harmless way to help overcome the downfalls of too much alcohol, but it comes with its own set of dangers. Before you order another Vodka Red Bull, you should know what dangers you are putting yourself in with this caffeinated concoction.
When you mix energy drinks and alcohol, the caffeine from the energy drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol that leave someone feeling tired. While this may be desirable, it is also the biggest danger of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. People will feel more alert than they would on alcohol alone and as a result, they will often drink more.2 Because people can avoid the lethargic effects of alcohol, they may not realize how intoxicated they are and will continue to drink. One study found that among drinkers age 15 to 23, those who mixed alcohol with energy drinks were four times more likely to binge drink at higher levels than their peers who did not use this mix.3 This type of binge drinking behavior can lead to serious dangers such as injuries from intoxication, alcohol poisoning, and eventually alcoholism. Once alcohol dependence occurs, most people need a professional alcohol addiction program to stop drinking or they will continue to put themselves at risk for these and other problems.
Another one of the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks is the person’s behavior as a result. Alcohol already lowers people’s inhibition and impairs judgment, but among the effects of mixing alcohol and energy drinks is the increased probability of engaging in risky behavior. Because drinkers will feel more alert and less intoxicated, they may be more likely to take risks like driving impaired or engaging in unprotected sex. Both behaviors can lead to lasting harm and may even be fatal.
At Banyan Massachusetts, we understand the temptation of trying something new as well as the force of peer pressure. Despite it being a growing trend, the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks are not worth the risk. Alcohol abuse alone is harmful enough and can quickly spiral out of control. If you or someone you care about has a drinking problem, do not wait to get help. Our partial hospitalization program in Massachusetts could be what helps turn your life or the life of your loved one back around.