Are You Sure You Want To Drink That?

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Nurses bringing patient down hospital hall

At first glance, energy drinks seem like a great idea—they give you increased energy without sleep—but be careful. A fast-growing number of people are ending up in the emergency room because of them, according to a new report.

The Facts

In 2011, there were 20,783 ER visits because of energy drinks. That’s enough people to fill half of the average Major League Baseball stadium.

  • 42% of those visits involved the mix of energy drinks with alcohol or other drugs.
  • The other 58% of visits resulted from negative reactions to energy drinks alone. Reactions to the large amount of caffeine included insomnia, headache, fast heartbeat, and seizures.
  • Most of these ER visitors were young adults age 18–25; however about 1,500 were teens (age 12–17).

What You Need To Know About Energy Drinks

The high level of caffeine is what makes energy drinks potentially dangerous. Caffeine isn’t harmful in small amounts, but with energy drinks, a person could easily consume a lot of caffeine in a short amount of time.

  • Energy drinks can have as much as 5 times the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
  • Research shows that among college students, drinking energy drinks has been associated with risky behavior, including things like fighting and abusing drugs.
  • When energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, the caffeine can hide the symptoms of drunkenness, such as feeling sleepy, which can cause someone to drink more than they intend.

Do any of your friends drink energy drinks? How do they act afterwards?

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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