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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Alcohol With Energy Drinks - Why It Should Never Be Mixed?

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Dr. Satish Kumar Gadi (Lt Col)General Physician • 49 Years Exp.MBBS, MBA - Health Care Administration
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Have you ever noticed bar and clubs promoting energy drinks? You may have also bought energy drinks and alcohol, and tried mixing them. But what you don't probably know is consuming energy drinks with alcohol can be much riskier than drinking only alcohol. Since, very few people drink alcohol neat, a small shot of alcohol is usually mixed with juices, colas or more recently energy drinks to make a cocktail.

While it is well-known fact that the sugar in these mixers is responsible for increasing the effect of alcohol on the body and weight gain associated with drinking, when energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, it can have an even more lethal effect on our bodies.

Studies show that this mix causes the brain to react in a similar way to how it behaves when in contact with cocaine. It can also cause permanent brain damage. This is because it stimulates the release of a protein cell known as FosB. This protein has the ability to permanently change the chemical connections inside the brain.

Some of the short-term effects of combining alcohol with energy drinks are:

  1. Digestive troubles
  2. Nausea
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Depression
  5. Hallucinations
  6. Erratic sleep patterns
  7. Violent behavior

Many of these effects can be a result of alcohol consumption as well and hence, it may not be attributed to the energy drinks being used as mixers. Regular consumption of such cocktails can increase your body’s tolerance of this combination and make a person drink more. This can lead to long-term effects such as:

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Respiratory problems
  3. Tooth decay and abcesses
  4. Psychosis
  5. Liver damage
  6. Kidney troubles
  7. Heart palpitations

Consuming alcohol tends to make a person feel sleepy and tired. However, when this alcohol is mixed with energy drinks, the caffeine in the energy drinks keep the person feeling energized and masks the effect of alcohol. This leads to a condition known as being ‘wide-awake drunk’. In such a situation, the person begins to underestimate how much alcohol he or she is consuming. This creates a false sense of security and hampers with their judgement, balance and coordination. It also increases the risk of behaving erratically and getting into dangerous situations.

In addition to caffeine, energy drinks also have a high sugar content. A small can of energy drink can contain up to 30 grams of sugar. This is equivalent to about half the ideal amount of sugar one should consume in a day. The effect of consuming so much sugar is a fluctuation in blood sugar levels. If this fluctuation persists for a long time, it could lead to conditions such as diabetes and insulin resistance. Thus, along with understanding the ill effects of alcohol, it is also necessary to keep the effects of mixers in mind while concocting cocktails for your next weekend bash. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.


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